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Less than a week away from the fourth annual Charleston Fashion Week, I prepare to interview Chelsie Ravenell, one of this year’s eight emerging designers to show their collections Tuesday night, March 16th. The Fashion Panel will then select three finalists and present them with a design challenge to produce a garment to show on the runway the final night (Saturday, March 20). As if this is not enough pressure , the designers will be in the company of the likes of designer Carmen Marc Valvo, ELLE fashion director Anne Slowey, and a slew of Project Runway designers.
Chelsie, known for turning up the heat a notch on the CFW runway the past few years, is returning to the runway wearing his own clothes this time. As I start to dial his number, I realize in surprise that not only does Chelsie have a Wilmington number, but as he quickly points out, we’re only two digits off from having the same number, foretelling an early sign of the significance numbers have played in Chelsie’s
Starting with his “lucky 13” jersey that he wore when he played
“I miss college life sometimes – hanging out on Front Street. Being an
Chelsie, who grew up in Charleston, comes from a long line of
As Chelsie worked on creating a bowtie for his new collection, I asked him to share some insight on his line, Kenneth Beatrice:
When did you launch your line?
“A few years back, I realized I really wanted to do
How did you choose the name?
“Oh man, this story is amazing. Kenneth is my uncle.
Five years ago, my uncle was senselessly murdered by his
As we were cleaning out my great-grandmother’s house, I found this
Why are numbers so special to you?
“I found that pattern and repetition of certain numbers in
Is there a certain mindset you need to prepare yourself for each time you get on the runway?
“I remember the first time I modeled, I was nervous as
How would you describe your personal style?
“When I get dressed, I’m a beast. That’s what I’m good at so I like to show that. It seems in the fashion game, you gotta put yourself in a category. For me, I would never want to put myself in a category.
How is your current collection different from the clothing you’ve designed for Kenneth Beatrice in the past?
“I’ve been holding back waiting for that stage. Some
You are the only emerging designer specializing in menswear. Do you think this works to your advantage? Why or why not?
“I think it works to my advantage because there’s not a lot of men’s clothing available that’s cool and fresh. You’ve got the big-time names. Rare to have a guy like me coming up from the bottom.
Chelsie’s Inspiration Board / Photo by: Reese Moore
How has Southern living influenced your design aesthetic?
“The classic-ness and history of it. A mix of Southern with Western with urban. Classy but edgy. It really touches on every walk of life. I think a lot about icons. I watch Rocky the movie and
Who is your Style Icon?
“I’m definitely going with Ralph (Lauren) based on his upbringing and how far he came. He didn’t go to school either, but he’s one of the world’s most established designers. He had the balls to go
What has been your favorite part of preparing for CFW?
“Crazy love, crazy media. It won’t make me or break me. I’ll be doing this the
What do you do to unwind?
“Basketball. It’s my first love, actually. I play a lot of ball. It soothes my soul. I also spend time with my little boy, London,who’s four. He’ll walk out with me at the show.He’s not afraid. I’m trying to make him something to wear.”
What are three items from your wardrobe that reflect your signature style?
“Rugged jeans, vest, pocket square. That’s a hankerchief, ya know. No, no. Take out the pocket square. It’s the bowtie.”
Did you finish the bowtie?
“I’ve got it on now.”
Find Chelsie Wednesday and Thursday nights bartending at Torch