ESSENCE closed out New York Fashion Week with a bang, bringing the second ESSENCE Fashion House NY to the city’s Union West event space in Chelsea.

Presented by Target, the day-long celebration of all things Black fashion and style proved the perfect way to end a busy NYFW. Along with the runway shows and fireside chats with designers, the exclusive experience also welcomed attendees to several panel discussions featuring some of the most influential voices in fashion today.

Moderated by Harlem Fashion Row Founder & CEO Brandice Daniel, the second panel of the day heard designers Sergio Hudson, Undra Celeste, and Deidre Jefferies each speak candidly about breaking into the fashion industry. The entrepreneurs were also joined by Head of Branch and Local Experiences at Chase Bank, Suzanne Cohen.

Together, the panelists discussed everything from their experiences with being too prideful, to challenges with financing and investing, to what it really takes to get into the fashion industry and stay there.

“Start with what you have,” the ESPION Atelier Deidre Jeffries said. “Make it perfect and that will open doors for you,” Jefferies said.

Photo by Lawrence Miner

For designer Undra Celeste, it was all about learning to have thick “Don’t take things personal,” she said.”You must be able to take ‘no’s’ and still get up.”

At the end of the panel, Cohen revealed the exciting news that Undra, Sergio and Deidra will be competing in the near future to design clothing for Chase employees to wear to work.


For more of everything you missed at ESSENCE Fashion House NYC, head back to ESSENCE.com.

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