Black Girl Magic Series:Stachahuis

Our Black Girl Magic series has shared stories about wonderful girls and women using their passion to make a difference in the world. This week we will hear from Stacey Filé, a fashion designer whose designs are meant to inspire girls and women so that they can take on any challenge in life. Stacey graduated from Tuskegee University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. I had the amazing opportunity to interview Stacey Filé about her journey as a fashion designer and the need for good representation in the media for black girls. Read on to learn more about Stacey’s inspiring story.

 

Name:Stacey Filé

Social Media:

Instagram: stachahuis

Facebook: Stacha Huis

Website: http://www.stachahuis.com

Stächa Huis Gown

Handmade Custom Choker by Megan Gilchrist

Photo by Kayla Parker

What inspired you to make your own fashion line?

My mother is my inspiration.  In our family's native country, Suriname, South America, she used to hand make fashion-forward dresses and other clothing inspired by her South American Indian heritage. She inspired me to enroll in sewing classes throughout high school.  At first, as I approached my high school graduation, I wanted to go to fashion school, but ultimately I decided to take a more traditional career path in engineering.  During my undergraduate years at Tuskegee University, I frequently participated in clubs and activities that would allow me to express my creative roots and collaborate with other artists.  One of my most memorable experience was being the event coordinator for the Tri-State Club, where I helped to coordinate the themes and visions for our annual fashion show while also hand-selecting models. My goal was to choose models who could bring the clothing and runway to life! After I graduated, I moved back home to New Jersey with my parents. While waiting to hear back from potential employers, my family decided to attend an event at church where everyone was asked to dress in African prints.  My mother was having a seamstress make her outfit and I just decided that I would use my skills to design and sew my own dress.  That is when I completely fell in love with designing apparel again.

I started my clothing company, Stächa Huis, as an outlet for my fashion-focused imagination.  I wanted to create garments that I saw myself and other women wearing. I started by making dresses for myself and my family and close friends.  Then I started designing for paying customers and participating in fashion shows.  Eventually, I started making a few men's pieces as well as exclusive pieces of jewelry.  Originating a fashion line has always been an extension of me. I always strive to produce clothing that is aesthetically pleasing, flattering to the female form and sought after by women and men with a taste for luxury.

                                              

Handmade Design by Stacey Filé 

Photo by Fabiënne Hankers

Model: Tay Suggs  

 

What does your brand stand for?

Stächa Huis’ slogan is “To Entice and Excite.” My clothing and jewelry is designed to enliven, excite, entice the senses, compliment the wearer’s confidence, and most importantly. make people feel something.  I want the people who wear my clothes to select pieces that make them feel poised and ready to take on any challenges that stand in their way. My brand is built on the principles of beauty, confidence, and self-love. I want the wearer to feel like their bodies are adorned with an exclusive piece of art. The woman I dress is bold and inimitable. Ultimately Stächa Huis customers understand that the clothing exists only to enhance the beauty that they already possess inside.

 

Handmade Design by Stacey Filé

Photo by Fabiënne Hankers

Model: Tay Suggs

 

What fashion shows have your designs been displayed in?

I started showing my clothing line at the biannual Morgan State University fashion shows in Baltimore, MD.  From there, I participated in Facet Fashion Week in Los Angeles, CA. What was cool about the Facet show was that the actual runway was in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard and it was produced by a host of young, Black, gifted people.  I’ve also participated in Indie Fashion Week in Washington, DC, also produced by the amazing Righteous Ones Entertainment.
One of my most gratifying accomplishments is being co-creator of Femme Fatale Fashion Show with my friend Melody Asherman. We created our own platform to showcase our designs.  For our first show in Paterson, NJ, we created the theme, researched and booked locations, photographers, videographers, models, makeup artists, caterers and more.  It was imperative that we used Black models because we wholly believe in the positive representation of Black Women in fashion and media. Also, we achieved our dream show with a limited budget and very little sponsorship.  It was important for us to not only create a platform for fashion but to also donate a percentage of the proceeds to Black Girls Rock Inc., a company that means so much to us and the Black community. We wanted to invest in the future of Black girls. For our second Femme Fatale Fashion Show and our first New York Fashion Week Show, we utilized Cov Consulting Company, a startup by my friend Joseph Covington Jr., to help coordinate our event and for day of event management.  Our first NYFW show was a huge success; we had a sold out show and were able to donate a percentage of those proceeds to the Alliance for Lupus Research. We donated to this cause because it affects an overwhelming number of Black women.

 

What advice would you give to teens wanting to start their own fashion line?

For teens wanting to start their own fashion line, I would say to START IT! There's so much you can learn on your own (sometimes at no cost) via free classes, books, magazines, and the internet.  I also recommend interning within the industry to gain experience and jumpstart your career, but to remember to remain humble throughout all of your experiences. There are a lot of designers who skipped fashion school and went the unconventional route by meeting with the right people at the right time and then there are those who did go to fashion school. I would say figure out what works for you, stay true to yourself, and most importantly trust your vision and yourself.

 

 

Handmade Design by Stacey Filé

Photo by Christopher Briscoe

 

You graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Science Engineering, what made you want to start a fashion line?

Yes, I graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Science Engineering, but I believe my passion has always resided in being an artist.  When I graduated High School, because I was to become a first generation college graduate, my love for math, and science lead me to chose to become a rocket scientist.
Becoming a fashion designer and having a fashion line has always been a dream of mine but I never pursued it seriously until after I graduated.  In hindsight, I've always been surrounded by fashion.  My earliest memories are of me in my hometown of Brooklyn; in a family friends clothing shop where she created garments, my parents always allowing me to choose elaborate dresses and shoes to wear, and my mother and aunts designing and sewing dresses and outfits for me. I've always been fashioning pieces of art whether it was poetry, creative writing, styling clothing from whatever I could find around for myself and my loved ones.  I wanted to start a fashion line for women like me, who appreciate exclusive pieces of clothing in their closets. Clothing that made them look and feel beautiful and confident. I believe that when you invest in the clothing you wear and have pieces that speak to your essence as a person even a bad day or bad week can turn around when you put on these pieces.  I also believe that, in clothing like mine, you will be more confident in the life you're leading, you'll feel sexy and most importantly you'll feel beautiful inside- the clothing will become a part of loving and accepting yourself.
What would you tell your younger self?
Whew! That’s such a loaded question.  I would definitely tell the younger me to handle myself with more care and to love myself as much as I loved others. I would also say to trust my first instinct and to never be afraid to tell the truth no matter the circumstances. I would probably say to listen to my parents more often…I found that they were telling the truth (LOL). Lastly, I would say to just go for my goals wholeheartedly, to ignore my fears, and trust my beliefs.

 

Handmade Design by Stacey Filé

Photo by Christopher Briscoe

 

What did you learn from the Black Women and Girls in America Media Town Hall?

I learned so much! The Black Women and Girls in America Media Town Hall was such a great event.  Something that resonated with me is the need to tell the story of the Black woman and the Black girl unapologetically.  I've always been a storyteller but I didn't think people would care to hear what I had been through or what I had to say.  The panel brought many memories and feelings of sadness, pride, anger, resilience and inadequacy, growing up as a Black girl in Brooklyn, NY and Bloomfield, NJ and at last coming into womanhood at Tuskegee.  Those feelings can sometimes get mixed in with everyday life to the point where you forget they exist. Instead of conquering these feelings head on and letting it drive your ambition, creativity, and service to others, I would sometimes hide them.  I learned that many of our stories are similar and they deserve to be told because we may be helping someone. At the Town Hall I also learned about the need for representation in the media for the stories that truly epitomize Black women and girls.  We should not wait for others to tell it for us.  The powerful women on the panel as well as the guest speakers who shared their stories and express strong desire for Black women and girls to love and accept themselves and be fearless was truly refreshing and enlightening. My wish is that the conversation will be held on a larger scale and more frequently as well.

 

I believe you represent Black Girl Magic! What does Black Girl Magic mean to you?

Thank you so much! I love using “Black Girl Magic!” I’m so glad that we now have a way to express all that Black women and girls embody. We as black women and girls go through the same trials that other women and girls do, but there is an added layer to our struggle because of our race; the cards are stacked against us from the time we are in our mother’s womb. The term Black Girl Magic means that we can take anything that happens to us and even if we break down, we get up, succeed, excel and push through. Nonetheless, I think it is important to understand that just because we are magical it does not mean that we should not be in tune with ourselves and love ourselves first. The magic that we possess is precious. We have to know that part of expressing our “magic” means we are not taking on stressful situations simply because others already see us as strong and resilient. Our internal magic should reveal that everything and everybody are not our responsibility. There is something powerful in Black woman and girls! The idea of Black Girl Magic motivates us to acknowledge that we NEVER give up, we are stylish, and we make greatness out of nothing.  Black girls push one another to be greater, and love one another sincerely, and most of all, motivate each other through experience sharing and just by LIVING our best lives.

 

Handmade Design by Stacey Filé

Photo by Patrice Mason

Model: Janee Brooks

Answers: Edited by Lindsay Ellsberry-Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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