Do you remember back in the days when our Grannies would sit in their rocking chairs with a big bag of colorful yarn? On any given Sunday your favorite doll would have five different new knit or crochet dresses. And for the winter she’d also make sure you wore the matching scarf, and hat duo. she made (Awww Granny). Well there’s a trend watch ladies, so take note because a more modern flair is being added to the once Golden Girl hobby! Now I know they are those who shy away from the trend due to it’s sometimes casual and frumpy look, but before you give the side-eye I’m happy to let you know there is one determined woman on a mission to reinvent the trend with more Soul than ever before! Shantelle “Ladybug” Brumfield is a D.C. raised designer and self-proclaimed entrepreneur with an eclectic fashion friendly collection of knit and crochet pieces ranging from dresses, cute clutches, earrings and even UGG like crochet warmies. The Howard Grad and new LA resident named her line National Society of Soul in order to “emphasize the importance of not only fashion, but written and social awareness.” Brumfield takes a minute and let’s Clutch in on her agenda!
Clutch: Unlike most designers who forget that having a clothing line also entails running a business too, you seem to understand every aspect. Take us to the beginning, what made Ms. Ladybug start her own line?
Shantelle: When I was about 3 years old, I began collecting loose change from my father’s pockets. Which lead to my completing my brother household chores at $5 to $10 per week. Then, I would go out with my older brother Mike on his newspaper route being pulled behind in this red wagon, while making a quarter per paper I handed to him. Finally, when I turned nine years old I started my first business of cleaning older folks homes. Now, when it comes to National Society of Soul it was a predestined decision. My life’s blueprint reads ENTREPRENEUR all over it.
Clutch: When did you first step foot in the fashion world?
Shantelle: During my freshmen year at Howard University I began crocheting hat and scarf sets for student all over campus. I was known as “miss crochet old lady”. I was a Biology/Chemistry dual major on the excelled track designed for Pre-Professional Health Career. Needless, to say I had absolutely no time, but I made time to build business. Then, Howard Homecoming 2003 my homegirl, Miss India “BEBE” Jackson, influenced me to put pieces into the fashion showcase, which featured Serena Williams line and Nelly’s Apple Bottom Jean line. So, here was my opportunity to prove myself to my fellow student body, friends and respected alum. And, to this day “First-Class” Fashion Showcase is still the talk of the campus.
Clutch: Tell us more about where the name of the line derives from??
Shantelle: After playing around with a number of names and concepts it was “National Society” that really stuck, but it was incomplete. I needed something that represented and exemplified my vision of “illustrating the importance of LIFE through the use of fashion, written, and social awareness”. December 2005, I was on a flight home for the holidays and boom it hit me, “National Society of Soul”. And, the rest is history.
Clutch: I’m sure you know of the stigma that goes along with knit/crochet pieces, but your rising clientele doesn’t seem to feel that way, tell us how’s business going otherwise?
Shantelle: I try not to worry about that because I think when you purchase a National Society of Soul piece you will feel the soul of its core essentials illustrated through crocheted, cross-stitch embroidery, and sewed finished embellishments in every design. I believe in delivering elements of vintage fashion infused with a sophisticated modern chic lifestyle. National Society of Soul’s fashion-forward design innovations have appealed to the liking business professional, recent graduate, trendsetters and socially driven individuals. I strongly believe the vibrant color/fabric integration used is what captures the interest of my customers and the one-of-a-kind nature is the deal closer for clientÃ¨le.
Clutch: What Clutch appreciates the most about up and coming designers is their big or small accomplishments along the way. What have you done so far?
Shantelle: Well, about four months ago I took a huge step out on faith to leave my job, as a Cancer Research Scientist to pursue design full-time and thing have been great. I have various features as a designer in Howard University Homecoming Fashion Show 2003, Howard University RESFEST 2003, New Faces Fashion Show May 2007, D.C. Fashion Week 2008, LA Fashion Week 2008, Howard University Black Arts Festival 2008, XXL Magazine Jan/Feb 2008 “REMY MA”, Jersey Woman Magazine, and more to come. NSS Product Placement with the follow artist: Remy Ma, Mya, Erykah Badu, and Lauren London. And, more recently I and five other designers are opening D.C.’s first designer showroom, offering fashion, art, and music in one location.
Clutch: What’s your hottest seller and where can we find out more on Ms. Ladybug?
Shantelle: The Granny CLUTCH, they’re selling like crazy! It’s amazing but you can hit me up on my network, www.nationalsocietyofsoul.ning.com or check out my blog for NSSS Ladybug updates, www.nationalsocietyofsoul.blogspot.com