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Rising Stars: Meet Samantha Telfair

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Telfair.

Hi Samantha, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Born and raised in New York City the decision to move to Los Angeles wasn’t an easy one. My entire family moved from NYC to Orlando, FL, I was reluctant at first but decided let me see what the south has to offer and I quickly realized I am not a Florida girl. I lasted less than two years in Florida before making my great escape to Los Angeles. I was started a new life on my own and when you work in fashion the top choices are NYC or LA. While I am a die hard New Yorker once you stop experiencing harsh winters, schlepping on trains and busses and start experiencing a more relaxed vibe its hard to turn back. So while Florida wasn’t the fit for a fashionista like myself LA seemed like a natural balance for big city opulence with a relaxed laid back attitude. 2018 I made my LA appearance. I have been a fashion stylist for over ten years; and I knew LA was full of designers, celebrities, high-end boutiques and everything else necessary to help revive my career. Soon after arriving, I realized that styling wasn’t the only goal.

My passion for design took over and I started my brand, theMERGER. NYC. The transition from stylist to designer wasn’t as seamless as I had imagined. My entire collection is cut-and-sew designs. It’s like building a house from scratch. I didn’t realize how daunting sourcing all the materials would be; every stitch, seam, button, zipper and trim, is a process of their own. Then you pray your pattern maker and seamstress understand every design thought you have drawn or articulated. The entire process for me took over a year to get 10 pc collections together. theMERGER. NYC first collection is “theMERGER. State of Mind” a play on the New York State of Mind. It’s luxury contemporary women’s wear that focuses on making pieces transitional and multi-function. Ciara has worn us in Self Magazine, we have been on the Cover of Muze Magazine, featured in Bryson Tiller’s new music video, adorned by singer Julia Riznik, socilate Angela Simmons, model Amanada Rodriguez and so many other amazing publications and celebrities.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
So many challenges along the way. Learning to source in a city that is unfamiliar to you is a struggle within itself. I was going through a divorce where my estranged husband emptied all the bank accounts, had my car repossessed, healthcare revoked and became in a ghost leaving me an almost destitute single mother of two. I would be lying if I said the drama didn’t leave me crying thinking of aborting the whole project ready to go back to mom’s house. Instead, I was surrounded by amazing friends who breathed life into me and reminded by of the boss that lived inside of me. I booked extra styling jobs, I sold luxury items that no longer served me, I sold my wedding ring and prayed and prayed. Any who’s built a fashion brand from scratch can attest to how expensive the cut-and-sew process is. I really considered stopping theMERGER. and working a corporate job until life felt less hectic. I stayed the course because it felt like destiny. Every time I was ready to walk away, I would get a tremendous breakthrough that I knew was God keeping me in the game. I would meet people who gave game-changing advice or loved my work, felt my story or just simply loved my vibe and introduced me to someone else whom they thought could get me further. And it always worked out.

Covid, of course also slowed things down. I seriously considered packing up moving to AZ or back FL to save money and count my losses. It was in the middle of this mindset, I got a random inquiry from a P.R. firm that changed everything. I can barely keep sampled on the rack stylist are pulling them so much. I have small boutiques inquiring on my line sheets for wholesale purchases. No exaggeration just last Thursday, I was questioning myself again about if I should grind out the uncertain times of luxury fashion. I was feeling really down and unmotivated. I had new collections samples go awry and come back useless. I was in my feeling about what a financial loss it was and creatively I was over it. I really mentally quit on myself. I went to bed praying and asking if I should continue to put time, energy and finances into this career. I promise at 8am I was getting texts and phone calls from a stylist that pulled from me the day before saying she is on set and Chris Brown wants to buy some of your samples right now. She stated he came up to her directly to ask about the sale. Not even 30m later my venmo was going off with payment received. Chris Brown may not be a big deal to some but a man with access to designer everything buying my samples on-set meant everything. Here I am Monday morning telling you my story.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
theMERGER. is a brand being designed to be but on community. I am starting with my own designs of women’s luxury but the overall goal is to showcase different designers of the designs community designing for their market. The brand is going to be based on collaborations to new and emerging designers. The idea came from my divorce. My husband tried to take absolutely everything away from me when we separated. I get absolutely no help from him financially or physically. He has become a ghost to myself and my children. I never expected to him to behave this way after spending our entire adult lives together (17 years). I knew I wanted to get into fashion but the struggle was real. I had to learn product development (till this day, I am learning something new). In this struggle to find out who I am and what I wanted to do to create income and still be available to my children who were and are still experiencing difficulty adjusting to the new life, we are forced to create. I thought I was going to have to run back home to my mother’s house in Florida to never be heard from again. It was my community of friends whom revealed my talents and inspired me that my dreams of design can be a reality. I consider myself my friends’ first collaboration. They saw my potential and invested their time into me. theMERGER. is built to do the same. We are here to collaborate with designers who don’t have the capital or the resources or just too scared to test the market. We will merge our learned lessons on the business and produce while they design.

Pricing:

  • Outerwear $1,200
  • Buttoms $300
  • Dresses $900
  • Blazers $600

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

April Belle Photos (all BTS photos) Amanda Rodriguez (yellow motto jacket) photo by Stephen Panosian Ciara for Self Magazine Patrick Patterson for Muze Mag photos by Steven Lee Julia Riznik for Bello Mag Jessica Pettaway for MunaMommy

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