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Meet Nadia Mcqueen of Boutique85 in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadia Mcqueen.

Nadia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Asking me to explain or talk about how I got to where I am today is simple… god gave me a gift to create and inspire so I developed and used it to the best of my abilities. I was born in Bennettsville, SC. A very small town where the odds are already against you, but my grandfather Mr. Willie Frank McQueen instilled great moral and values in our family. We was taught to take care of each other, work for what you want, and if they tell you no go figure out how to turn the no into a yes. We had very little but we had each other. Growing up, I watched my mom work hard as my grandfather taught her. I watch her make something out of nothing and it inspired me to do the same. I use to get teased in school about my appearance. I use to ask my mom to buy me cool clothes and I wanted the latest shoes, but she couldn’t afford it.

Later in life during my middle school years, we moved to Charlotte, NC. I was determined to leave my horrid past behind me. I knew my mom couldn’t afford the things I liked so instead of asking her to buy them I started cutting up my clothes and creating the very looks all of the cool kids were wearing, but adding my own touch. It was a hit I was fitting in I was making friends and everyone wanted to know where I found my pieces. Instead of saying I made them I lied because I wasn’t aware of the gift I had. It was later in high school when I met my best friend and business partner Robin Hines. We both lived in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Charlotte NC known to the natives Grier town. Robin was born and raised in grier town I was new to the area but she welcomed me with open arms. When she discovered I could sew she pushed be to share my gift with the world. She was my voice and biggest promoter. She and her cousin Jasmine were the first to wear my clothes and once they started wearing things I designed other people started to inquire. That’s how I begin to build my business. Robin had a gift as well she could do hair without having to be taught or coached. As we grew older, we traveled down different paths I dropped out of high school because no class could keep my attention besides clothing design.

I got my GED at 16 and went to work. As I looked around at my family’s condition, I told myself there has to be more to life than this working for pennies just to die later. I later realized it wasn’t just my family in tough situations it was my community from Bennettsville to Charlotte. I had to do something I had to make a change. I later met back up with Robin who just opened her first salon. She named it salon 85. I was inspired and amazed at her hard work and dedication. She gave me the realest pep talk she told me the time is now I need to go for what I know don’t make excuses make it happen. Throughout the years, I designed and did fashion shows all over the east coast but I didn’t get far I wasn’t being compensated because I didn’t understand the business and I was too emotional for the business. It didn’t bother me much because I loved and breathed fashion. I’m the happiest when I’m creating. It was 2012 when I took my first trip to California. I went to visit Fidm a school for fashion. I saw it on project runway all the time I was beyond stoked. I talked to admissions then I realized I can’t afford to attend. I told myself you will be back you will find a way to turn that no into a yes.my short trip to California opened my mind to bigger possibilities.

People coming from where I come from never make it out and here I was sitting in the hills watching the sun go down. I decided in that moment I was going to lead by example. I was going to be the one to give hope. I got back to the Carolinas with a new light in my eyes I worked three jobs and open my own clothing partnering with Robin and called it boutique85. I used fashion as my platform to plant seeds and inspire. I did free events catering to the youth(all at my own expense) vision board parties runway/confident building classes and college tours to show the children you do have options. never let a bad circumstance determine the outcome of your life. It wasn’t until 2016 when I actually made it to LA I had saved enough money and started working with celebrities. I styled them for events and created clothes for them to wear.

Once I got to LA, I learned the battle was far from over. I was still fighting but just in a different city. I learned about the homeless community called skid row just a couple blocks from my second location. I’ve been there for months and had no idea there were people sleeping and the back of my store. It wasn’t until a friend of my family drove me down skid row to show me first had what was going on how the people were living in a place so close to me. It broke my heart so I decided again to use fashion as a platform to help. Every fashion show or event pertaining to fashion I use 60% of the proceeds to feed the families stuck down on skid row. Fashion is more than a look or clothes to me. Its how you feel its the platform for inspiration and a small seed of hope. I’m still thriving in my journey and planting seeds in the concrete jungles of LA hoping something beautiful will bloom.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not by far. There have been lots of struggles tapping into the fashion world and business is hard because networking circles are really tight and I’ve always been a rebel. The desire to help everyone has been my biggest flaw in this business. I’m now learning to not use my heart when delegating business matters and the crunch numbers before taking on any projects. I’m a giver and some times that hurts my business.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Boutique85 story. Tell us more about the business.
I have a small clothing boutique but I also style and design for different celebrities and public figures. What sets my company aside for everyone else is the morals and values I’ve set for boutique 85. Fashion isn’t just about looking good its about igniting the greatness with the souls of individuals. It isn’t about the cost of a garment or the name of a designer, its bout making others feel worthy and confident within themselves. We cater to the young minds we provide etiquette classes for young women. We provide college tours for the youth. We have a number of events we offer to the youth totally free to show and encourage them first hand. All of these classes are directed and lead by me.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see myself with a few more locations from New York to LA. and creating a major production to help provide more funding for the people of skid row. I see myself with the hottest body of work from runway looks red carpet and performance looks. Ten years from now, I will have an international named Brand.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 729 south spring street Los Angeles CA
  • Website: www.boutique85.com
  • Email: boutique85@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: Mcqueenz_

Image Credit:
lo scott; runway gina; micky munday; aj lamor; demice mays

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