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Meet Kira Shelton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kira Shelton.

Hi Kira, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Originally from a small town outside of Detroit, MI I knew I always wanted to have a career in the Fashion and Art industry. To get a head start, I began working as a part-time seamstress at 14 to gain an understanding of basic clothing construction. Sewing class was literally my favorite course in high school not to mention all my friends had made me their honorary seamstress to make their custom clothing pieces and work on their prom dresses!

When my parents realized my passion for fashion wasn’t a phase, I started looking into Fashion Schools to pursue my dream. Unfortunately, New York was too expensive for the schools I wanted to attend and I was concerned that I could possibly change my major later on, so to be safe I decided to attain a Fine Arts BA Degree in case I wanted to attain my Masters and possibly teach Art. My perception at the time was I just knew I wanted to be in the industry even if I didn’t necessarily get into fashion design initially. I really began my fashion journey working as an intern to being an assistant designer for a small high-end private label (and sample making facility) in DTLA when I was 19. It was there I was really able to learn about constructing clothing collections from concept to final product. I’m truly grateful for my experience working for a smaller brand as I was able to wear many hats (from assisting on seasonal collections to running a full-fledged sample room). To this day, I feel I was able to acquire a refined design aesthetic thereby attaining a fine taste for luxe fabrications and styling. From there, I went on to work for well-known global brands such as BCBGMAXAzria, Guess, Bebe where I was able to diversify my design skillset in clothing, handbags, footwear, and accessories.

Between 2008-2011, it was a tough time economically so I sustained my income taking freelance jobs to make ends meet, but in the end it proved to be super beneficial to my career as I was able to have my hands in working in so many different categories that the typical designer may or may not be exposed to. During my recent nine years career stint at Shoedazzle, Inc (In accordance with the Techstyle Fashion Group), I started as the first footwear/handbag designer to working up the corporate ladder to become the Senior Footwear Design Director with full design team. As a Black woman, I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity to be able to get to a managerial level in the Fashion Industry where diversity and inclusion has always been very sparse and still challenging even today. In 2019, I launched a small clothing brand with my business partner called Facile Le Fait. It’s a sweet feminine label that blends a chic feminine aesthetic with a Californian twist. Though this brand is more of hobby, I love being able to set aside time to create new capsule collections and collaborate with amazing upcoming influencers and models. With the hardship of the pandemic, I’ve been balancing my time doing freelance design/consulting and growing Facile Le Fait.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Of course with life, there’s always major roadblocks trying to divert us from our goals, but it’s important to stay positive, productive, and persistence is always key! With having a freelance business, it’s hard not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from and with the uncertainty of the current job market impacted by the Pandemic, it may take a while before the economy improves with new opportunities. I’ve learned to use this time to expand my skill set in other areas of design by taking online courses in industrial/graphic design so I can truly be a well-rounded designer. Being a small business owner, I can say I truly learned a great deal from past mistakes I’ve made whether it be financial, marketing, or creative, but it comes as part of the course.

In the end, I’m grateful I’ve been able to learn from those mistakes and apply my learnings to a more refined process each time. When it comes to running a small business, it’s been difficult to sustain the overhead costs since it’s fully funded by me and my partner. Luckily, we’ve made smart choices when it comes to budgeting our finances and understand where the restrictions are. Unfortunately, those restrictions do impact our ability to grow at times. The pandemic has more so impacted our ability to develop any new product, so we’ve been taking our time to promote our current inventory and apply a sustainable approach to not overdeveloping.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I would consider myself a Creative Entrepreneur that specializes in designing a wide range of products from footwear, clothing, handbags, and accessories. I love being able to have my hands in different things and evolve my creativity as much as I can! When it comes to my work and what I specialize in, my heart is in footwear (especially fashion-forward sneakers!!!) followed by clothing. There’s nothing like being able to come up with a cool concept from scratch and see the final product to come to fruition, it’s truly rewarding! I’m very proud of all my previous work experiences, from being able to collaborate with reputable companies and work with some independent artists. I’m very grateful to have an understanding of various categories and being able to apply my experience to different projects! I do believe my diverse design experience sets me apart from others since I’ve had to pivot my career in different directions to maintain a position in the fashion industry.

I’ve always considered myself a highly adaptive individual that can hit the ground running on any challenging project thrown my way! With the launch of our small business Facile Le Fait, I’m very proud of the amazing look book shoot and pop-up launch we had last year along with how supportive our friends have been! We worked with a team of talented strong women to shoot our campaign and it was wonderful to see how a team of creative women can work together to make something so magical! Truly another rewarding aspect is to see your friends rocking one of your pieces and want to buy more! I recently became a member of the Black Design Collective Group that helps facilitate design resources to upcoming black creatives and established small black businesses. In addition to Facile, I also launched my freelance creative business this year called The Green Lite, in which I provide numerous design services a la carte or full package projects for small businesses, independent artists, or established brands.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
One of my favorite childhood memories is doing fun shopping trips with my Mother at our local thrift and antique stores. Even as a child, I love hunting for unique pieces and dressing up in my Mom’s clothes and shoes! One of my favorite hobbies to this day is to find old photos of my Mom and Dad and get inspired by their fashions, they both had so much style and swag!

Pricing:

  • Mykonos Ruffle Off-Shoulder Dress | $68.00
  • Leros Knit Wrap Dress | $78.00
  • Lea Short Sleeve Wrap Dress | $78.00
  • Syros Ruffle Blouse | $38.00

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The 3 Clothing Shot images shot by CrystalLee Farris @crystallee_farris

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