Meet Miss Lenese Calleea: Black Owner of the LC Apparel Consulting Services

Getting to Know Miss Lenese Calleea

The fashion industry is a major part of our culture, so it was only right that I interviewed a strong Black woman who is dedicated to fashion and Black success. Hailing all the way from Chicago, Illinois (although she currently resides in New York City). Miss Lenese Calleea dedicated some of her precious time to give her insight on the business of fashion and design.

Briana Janay:

“Can you give everyone who may not know who you are a brief summary of who you are?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“I am Lenese Calleea, a production and product development consultant, teacher, and mentor. I’ve  basically built my business around helping designers and other Black women designers create their brand from start to finish. I teach sewing, pattern making, and draping. I also teach different aspects of the business, production logistics, tech pack development, and merchandise management. I also host a podcast called the Black N Fashion Podcast, and I discuss and give a lot of different tips to everyone interested in the fashion industry. We talk about a lot of different things on the podcast; I interview designers, fashion merchandisers, buyers, and stylists just so you can get well-rounded information when it comes to working in the industry.”

 

Briana Janay:

“I know you’ve mentioned your grandmother being a big influence on you starting a career in the fashion industry. In what ways did she influence you?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“Oh, she taught me how to sew when I was six. We use to always sew and crotchet together. She also was the one that helped me pay for my college education to get my design degree. She definitely took out a lot of loans and got me a lot of grants to help me through school. That’s why that’s my lady right there. We’re very much alike; we’re the same sign. We love the same things, and our bond is just very different. I’m literally like the spitting image of my grandmother.”

Getting To Know Miss Lenese Calleea

Briana Janay:

“Are there any Black designers that have inspired you as well?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“Um, I definitely like Tracy Reese, LaQuan Smith, and that’s it. As far as like, when I was going to designing school and growing up, it wasn’t that many Black designers to look up to. So, for me the only one that I really knew about back then was Ann Lowe. She’s one of the first Black fashion designers. There wasn’t that much inspiration as I was growing up. But, now I’m inspired by all Black designers. It’s so many of them now that are doing such amazing things. I love it!”

 

Briana Janay:

“What was the first design you created?”

Getting To Know Miss Lenese Calleea

Lenese Calleea:

“Well, actually I started off with pillows, girl. I had a pillow business in seventh and eighth grade. I use to make a killing like on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, making custom pillows. And then after the pillows I started getting into making skirts, because it was easy to sew the pieces together. So, the first thing I made was a skirt, and then I made a one shoulder top when I was like in eighth grade.

 

Briana Janay:

“So, you’ve been making money in the fashion industry since the seventh grade!”

 

Lenese Calleela:

“I was making money in the pillow business, but with those skirts and stuff I wasn’t trying; I was just giving them away.”

Getting To Know Miss Lenese Calleea

Briana Janay:

“So, my next question is how often do you create or feel designers should create a collection?”

Lenese Calleea:

“I think the designer should create collections when they feel inspired and want to tell a story. I personally haven’t made a collection since 2016, but I do have a bag line coming out in a couple of weeks. So, what I do is I’ve taken a break to help other designers, and took a step back from my brand. I had more of a custom business before I did consulting. I did like, prom dresses, weddings, baby showers, and stuff like that. And, I found myself just being like all over the place. That same year I did like a lingerie line then another year I did a bag line.”

“Once I took a step back, I rebranded myself. I just took my time to find out who I was as a designer. I find that because I’m a Midwest girl, originally from Chicago, I like outerwear. Now, I only make jackets, jumpsuits (I’m also a jumpsuit lover), and jammers; that’s what I call purses. I don’t call them purses and bags.”

Getting To Know Miss Lenese Calleea

Briana Janay:

“What made you not only remain a designer, but also start a consulting and production company”?

 

Lenese Calleea:

“I naturally like to help, and I was already teaching and helping a lot of people. One of my friends was like, ‘girl you need to be getting paid for that, all that time you spend helping other people, why don’t you teach classes and help other designers?’ She was like, ‘you are giving out way too much information for free’. I eventually was looking for a teaching job, but I never got hired. So, I was like maybe I should put a price tag on this, and that was the best thing I could’ve done.”

“I was even showing them all these different places in the Garment District, and she was like why don’t you put together a tour?”

 

Briana Janay:

“That’s good that your friend told you to get that money!”

Is the Fashion Industry Oversaturated and Black Enough?

Briana Janay:

“Do you feel like the fashion industry is oversaturated, and also do you feel like you see enough of us in the industry?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“Uh, I think that we don’t have to necessarily seek validation from the quote on quote fashion industry. We’ve pretty much created our own Black fashion industry, in my opinion. I don’t seek validation from anyone in the industry, just because of my experience and stuff. As far as us being more well-known and mainstream than some of these other designers- I just think it’s going to take a while to get there, only because a lot of these really known brands have been around sixty, seventy, hundred years. You know, I do think that we can get there, but I think it’s still new. So, like I said we can create our own fashion industry, and I don’t think it’s saturated.”

Is the Fashion Industry Oversaturated and Black Enough?

“Now, I do see a lot of the same stuff. I see a lot of copying, and people stealing other people’s designs. But, that is the world we live in, imitation is the best form of flattery, but I definitely think we need a little more innovation in the fashion industry, for sure.”

“I think that the reason why you’ve got the Louis Vuittons, Chanels, and Guccis, is because those names have been around for so long. Black designers are just starting to come about and really make a name for themselves I would say like in the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. So, we’re just behind…because we’re still building that history.”

Women Empowerment in the Fashion Industry

Briana Janay:

“These days I see a lot of women in business trying to promote women empowerment. Do you see that happening in your industry?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“I do, I do… to a certain extent. It depends on where you are. I feel like I promote it, and I’m very keen on making sure we stand in unity and together. But, then you have other people that are Black designers and they try to hide info from one another, instead of sharing with one another which is pretty wack. ”

Advice and More on the Fashion Industry

Briana Janay:

“What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career as a designer, but can’t attend school or may not have the support?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“Listen to the Black N Fashion Podcast! Listen to my podcast, because I have a lot of education and information there. Just listen and take notes. You’ll learn a lot. And not just mine, but just fashion podcast in general, fashion books like, The Plan The Product The Process, and a fashion industry manual. If you don’t have means to or don’t want to go to school, but you want to start something you still have to seek education, regardless.  So, rather that be via podcast, an article, researching things, or reading books. That’s going to be your best bet.”

Advice and More on the Fashion Industry

Briana Greene:

So, I wanted to know if you feel like there are top cities that someone should live in while pursuing a fashion career?

 

Lenese Calleea:

“Okay, if you’re looking to work in the fashion industry itself, New York or LA is going to be your best bet. If you want to do your own thing, make custom clothing, and fill a niche in the market then it doesn’t matter where you live; it just matters that you market your brand. But, if you want to get hands on fashion industry experience and be subject to a lot of resources like, different fabric or trim stores, New York, Jersey (because it’s close to New York), or Los Angeles would be the best place to be.”

“I also think Atlanta is great for custom clothing. There’s a lot of clientele and people down there that will buy, especially buying Black.”

How to Get in Touch With Miss Lenese Calleea

Briana Janay:

“Can you let everyone know how we can connect with you for consulting and production services and your other platforms?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“That’s easy, Lenesecalleea.com. My brand is on there. My non-profit is on there. The podcast and all of my services are on there. Everything you want to find out about me is there. We also use our Instagram page too, @lc_apparelconsulting.”

 

Briana Janay:

“Is there anything else that you’d like to add?”

 

Lenese Calleea:

“My biggest piece of advice is seek education. It does not have to be school, however it does have to be some form of education. When you’re emerging yourself as an entrepreneur you have to be a student in your business; learning does not stop, so learn your craft.”

 

Miss Lenese Calleea is here to help all lovers of the fashion industry. Using her platforms like, the Black N Fashion Podcast and the LC Apparel Consulting Services, she is here to help. Do not hesitate to connect with one of the best!

1 Comment
  1. Am 1 week ago

    I love this! 😍

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