Andrea Fenise didn't begin her career in fashion as a designer. In 2005, she sought a way to pursue her lifelong love of fashion and began styling professionally, building a client base in the music and entertainment business. She also reached out to assist women of all backgrounds — not just developing their personal style, but also their self-image.
"In middle school, I was very shy," Fenise says. Pulling together an outfit was a way for her to express herself. This view of fashion-as-identity aligns pretty closely with the nonprofit Dress for Success where Fenise has volunteered her styling talent. For women from low income backgrounds, fashion conveys strength and optimism, and Fenise's philosophy is that when you feel confident in how you look, there's no telling what you can accomplish.
As she continued styling, Fenise also opened up a boutique, Style Junkie, as a means to make fashion more affordable and accessible to women. After teaching herself how to sew and using her instinct for style, Fenise found that any outfit is accessible with some imagination and a few hours at the sewing machine. "My grandmother was an impeccable seamstress," she says. "It's in my bones."
Since it began, Style Junkie has evolved into a new brand, By Andrea Fenise, which includes Fenise's custom fashion pieces, vintage fashion, and home accessories. This personal brand builds on her experience with styling and encompasses Fenise's ultimate goal: To design a balanced and stylish lifestyle.
We were able to get a look in her work room and preview her first collection, "Americanah," named after the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel centers around a confident, self-made single mom from Nigeria making her way in America and "learning what it takes to become a full human being." Fenise, a young, single mom herself, set out to create a collection that would appeal to other intelligent, resilient women who boast a smart, chic, and simple style with a bit of an edge.
Just a quick peek at her collection below reveals the strength of Fenise's vision. Bold colors, cultural patterns, and flattering cuts exude confidence.
Keep an eye out for Fenise's full collection, which will launch soon. For updates and news on her launch party, visit her website
. In the meantime, you can shop her etsy shop
or request a custom order.