Sheree Whitfield learned her lesson the hard way on the first season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" when she tried to host a fashion showcase—with no clothing. Now the southern stylista is having the last laugh after presenting a star-studded fashion show for her She By Sheree collection.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats, Sheree, on the debut of your collection. How was your first fashion show, and what did you learn from the fashion bust we witnessed on the first season?
SHEREE WHITFIELD: From the last time, I learned it's trial and error. Creating a fashion line is like an assembly line. If one person doesn't perform correctly, everyone is off. I've gone through a lot of seamstresses, and if the clothes weren't right, I wouldn't show them. My name is on it and I take this serious. I've loved fashion since I was a kid and I'm all about the fit. This time I wasn't nervous and felt good about everything. We fit the models and I felt they all were flawless before hitting the runway. I don't regret anything and it took getting knocked down to get me to here. It makes [the victory] that much sweeter.
ESSENCE.COM: What was your inspiration?
WHITFIELD: My line is sexy, feminine, with a bit of an edge and inspired by the 50's. The clothes are made to be worn with a lot of confidence and it's all about accentuating a woman's shape. Curves are in and my clothes celebrate that. For the show, everyone said they felt like they were in Paris and not Atlanta. I used to go to Fashion Week, so I knew how it should be done.
ESSENCE.COM: Now would you dress your "Housewives" cast mates and have you given Lisa Wu Hartwell, who also has a fashion line, any tips?
WHITFIELD: I definitely would dress them. I appreciate all of them coming out to the show and that means a lot to me. Doing a fashion line is a lot of hard work. For Lisa, this isn't her passion, and she hired someone to do the line for her. This should be your passion. You need to know about the color forecast or the next season, and all the things that go into this business. You have to be dedicated and put in the time if you want it to really be successful.
ESSENCE.COM: And you are doing just that. So what's next for your line and where can women buy your clothes in the fall?
WHITFIELD: I am working on getting the clothes into stores next. Now that people can see my designs, I am meeting with buyers from stores and boutiques to feature the clothes nationwide, and they will even start coming to me. However, I don't want it to be in too many stores, so it's still exclusive. These are pieces you can wear to work and then to a cocktail party. I envision women, young and old, wearing this line everywhere.
Tune in to the second season of "The Real Houswives of Atlanta," in July.