Top Blacks in Fashion

Tracy Reese: Passion, business acumen go hand-in-hand



As New York gears up to kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Feb. 13, there’s no doubt that there are very few people of color walking the runways of the tents or showcasing their creations. However, designer Tracy Reese has remained a delightful presence each year and a powerhouse on the fashion scene, having turned her designs into clothing lines, footwear, accessories, and home décor.

She launched her namesake line in Spring 1998, and then another line, plenty by Tracy Reese, later that year. In 2007, she became a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the trade association for more than 300 of America’s foremost fashion and accessory designers, and she has opened her own flagship store in New York City, a prime feat for most businesswomen in the fashion industry.

For Fashion Week, Reese will present a collection described as “eclectic,” inspired by the works of Vuillard, Van Gogh, and Modigliani. got a chance to catch a break with her in the hustle and bustle of preparation to talk about how business acumen and pursuing your passion are vital for success. What would you say are three keys to success that have been used in your life and for your business?

Tracy Reese: Never question what you know in your heart, and don’t be afraid to follow your passions. It is so important to have a career that you enjoy and are invested in. Also, my mother and grandmother instilled in me a sense of confidence and respect that I think has taken me a long way in my career.

What advice would you have for other business owners on how to take their business to the next level, particularly other designers of color?

Make sure that you are educated on both sides of the industry. At Parsons [School of Design], I was taught the skills needed to be a designer and to run a business. Without a balance of both, it is hard to be successful. I thought I knew everything, but I learned quickly that I really didn’t and knew I had to learn more about business.

How can business owners in the fashion industry find innovative ways to stay afloat in the current gloomy market?

Have passion and stay true to yourself and your design beliefs. Creating a line that reflects my own vision and continually yields looks that are timeless and wearable, yet fun and feminine has allowed me to be successful. Most importantly though is a rewarding job. Seeing that my designs make women feel beautiful about themselves motivates me to keep creating.

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  • I never purchased Tracey clothing, it cost too much.

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  • C

    Nice. I guess I was expecting to see more than one person based on the title of the article…

  • J Vegas

    Yeah, I expected more than one person as well. However, go Tracy Reese…looking forward to learning more about her and her line of clothing.

  • Erica

    I love Tracy Reese’s line of clothing but it is fairly highly priced. Would have loved to see other designers or personalities such as Andre Leon Talley.

  • Adrien D. Green

    Unless this piece is part of a series of articles on “Top Blacks in Fashion,” I’d call this more of a spotlight in fashion—they forgot to credit the rest of the cast. Perhaps someone is able to enlighten me on whether more articles in the same vein have recently been written by Black Enterprise, or are forthcoming.

    Peace & Prosperity,
    Adrien G.

  • J Ragsdale

    I cannot believe that you NEVER give due credit or respect to Everett Hall based in Tysons Corner II and in Chevy Chase, MD. Mr. Hall excels in offering personalized customer service and customized suits and shirts for men.

  • What

    Kind of short and not that informative?????

  • Nikita

    The article left a lot to be desired. I too thought that more than one person would be featured.

  • Skinny Ties

    Blogs like this are why I use the internet.



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  • let it be know iam the king of shoes like denzel washington said king kong an’t got nothing on me more like no designer has nothing on me ill make jimmy choo wished he never seen the sole of a shoe because i got the shoes and design to prove i’am the king of shoes ladies if you dont;t have apair of defining you shoes in your closet you don’t have a serious shoe closet so get your self in order and go to and stop faking i mean all creed of wemon make your shoe closet happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • does any one read this ???????