Around The Way Girl: Letesha Brady aka Tesha

“I think it is important as women we must stick together and not tear each other down in order to take over the world!”  Letesha Brady aka Tesha may be small in size, but this little lady dreams big. Tesha is taking risks and making her dream come true as both a fashion stylist and designer and taking her gang of girls with her along for the ride.  The 25-year-old queen (turning 26 this month) wants the world to see her clothing line, Eugene Taylor. After years of hard work and dedication she launched her first collection in May and with much success is already in the midst of designing her second collection. We caught up with this Around the Way Girl to find out what inspires her and what she has coming next!

Tell us about Eugene Taylor:

Eugene Taylor is a high fashion streetwear line I design. I’m using fabrics that are comfortable on the body and my designs are very practical. A lot of my designs have pockets and they all lay over your body really well. I tried to make some of my designs oversize so you can still eat a sandwich if you want to. It is super inspired by the 1960’s and 1970’s. I have a love for high fashion and sportswear which is what I incorporated in a lot of my pieces. I’m not very crazy about bright colors or patterns so everything is very muted, so it can be worn every day and kept in your closet for years.

Where did you get the name Eugene Taylor?

Eugene is my grandmother’s middle name. Taylor is my mother and grandmother’s maiden name.  Growing up my mom was always drawing and into the arts so that’s where I learned to draw. My grandmother taught me how to sew at an early age and I haven’t stopped.

The name is my tribute to the both of them because I wouldn’t have this passion if it weren’t for them.

Tesha wearing a Eugene Taylor Dress

Can you tell us a little about your fashion background? How did you start? Where did you take classes?

I started super young with my grandma, she taught me how to sew. However, I’ve always loved cutting and redesigning my clothes. It started with my Barbies. I would cut my clothes and redesign outfits for my Barbies.

My grandma used to make mine and my older sister’s outfits, so helping her I learned a lot.  I realized what I was able to do at a young age and I loved it. I would always get compliments in high school about my outfits. My mom realized she should get me into sewing classes, but honestly a lot of it is self taught. I learned more on my own from books and my grandma.

I did re-enroll in school and I am in fashion design school. I’m in my third year and I have a clothing line. Not a lot of people can say that.

How does living in and being from Chicago influence your designs?

I think the brand really speaks to Chicago. It’s comfortable and practical, something women in Chicago love being.

Outfits designed by Tesha for a music video

You are currently a running a one woman show. You are designing, running the online store, handling deliveries, photo-shoots, as well as marketing! How do you balance it all?

It is really hard. I pick out all the fabric, sew everything myself, deliver everything, and try to keep the line present. It is very exhausting, but it is mine. It is my baby. I literally do everything myself. My boyfriend does help me seam rip which is helpful. Knowing that everything is done by me feels amazing and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. I work really hard, but nothing can beat having my own line.

Ok, first collection is out! What’s next?

Well, I plan on going to LA in the fall for a couple of months and working with some artists out there. I’ll be both styling and designing for them, so I am really excited for that and to get my name known on a different platform.

I’ve been working a lot with the artist Telana and she’s going to be in Chicago for the summer. I want her to be the face of my brand and the model for my next collection. I would have worked with her earlier, but she couldn’t fly from LA and I was anxious to get my collection out.

Plus, getting out of Chicago during the cold months isn’t a bad idea. I love Chicago during the summer, it’s beautiful, but these last couple of winters have been brutal.

Tesha rocking the Nina Dress
Tesha rocking the Nina Dress

What do you hope to accomplish with Eugene Taylor?

Further down the line I want to retire in New Orleans and have my own boutique. For now I am okay with selling my clothing line to potential boutiques in Chicago and LA. I’m going to have a web store on ASOS.

I want to stay small, but I want the world to see my brand.

What are some of your fashion inspirations?

Opening Ceremony, JW Anderson, and Ralph Lauren. I say Ralph Lauren because even though my line is different than his, he offers sportswear in his collections. He has a high-end line as well as a super affordable line. It’s inspirational to see that it is possible to do both! You can buy a dress for a gala from him or find something for $30 from another one of his brands. I always want to stick to being affordable. I know how Chicago is. If my prices are crazy people aren’t going to buy it.

For your lookbook you collaborated with a lot of other Chicago women to make it come together. Was that conscience?

I don’t know! The model selection was pretty easy. I had to look for girls I wanted to use and Kirsten, Daisy and Liz fit the aesthetics. Before I even finished the line I knew I wanted Kirsten to model for it. Daisy, she’s just gorgeous. Stunning. I had to use her for something.  Liz, well I was looking for someone with straight hair and who would look great with a middle part. I saw a picture of her on Instagram with bright pink hair parted down the middle and I knew I found my third model. They were the perfect trio.

I used Nina and Yoli for makeup and hair. I scheduled the entire shoot around their schedules. They are my go to girls for makeup and hair.

Amara was the set designer and I told her what I wanted and she brought my vision to life.

Bryen was the photographer and he is way too easy to work with. He captured my line perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect team for my lookbook. I want to use them again. I am forever grateful and appreciate them so much.

Looking back at your twenty-year-old self, what advice would you give yourself?

Oh man….[laughs]..jeeze. I would tell myself, “It’s coming.”  I was working hard then too and I have always worked multiple jobs to support myself. I would remind myself that all of this hard work really does pay off and to not give up.

How about advice for young girls trying to pursue a career as a fashion designer?

I would just say, “do it!” It takes a lot of patience. Patience is a virtue. Sewing is hard, keep learning and don’t give up. It took me three years to produce a full line I was satisfied with. You just have to stick with it. 

You’re very much about the Queen Movement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without a smile when hanging with a group of women. You constantly introduce ladies to one another and figure out ways to collaborate on projects. Why is this connection so important to you?

I find it really important to connect women together. I know so many beautiful women and I want to connect them with other beautiful women. I love having Chicago women build together. Any opportunity that I see where I could connect people on a collaboration project I really try to take advantage of. I think it is important as women we must stick together and not tear each other down in order to take over the world! (AMEN!)

teshalookbook

Alright, lastly, what is your favorite thing about Chicago?

The summer! [laughs] There are so many festivals and the city is so beautiful. It’s like a beautiful love fest…well, I hope it’s a beautiful love fest, you never really know.

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Visit Eugene Taylor to shop Tesha’s collection and use promo code QUEENS to receive 20% off your order. Be sure to follow the brand on Instagram as well @EugeneTaylorBrand or get know Tesha and the queens in her life on her personal Instagram account @teshab89

XO,

Ariel

{Know an Around The Way Girl we need to to get in touch with? Let us know in the comment section below!}

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