by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- The June edition of Essence “Escape edition” features Grenada
- Felisha Noel’s next collection dedicated to her grandmother
- Collaborations to open up avenues for Grenadians artists and fashion designers in the works
Grenada is to receive unprecedented marketing exposure by being featured in the June edition of Essence Magazine, thanks to fashion designer Felisha Noel, founder of the luxury womenswear clothing brand Fe Noel.
The Brooklyn based fashion designer born to Grenadian parents, carved her space in the luxury fashion industry, a sector which in the past has largely excluded women of African descent. Nearly 2 years of behind the scenes work by Noel, her team and officials from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), has led to Grenada being featured in the black-owned magazine.
Guided by her mantra “Eat well, travel often and dress to inspire!” Noel said she grew up in a strict entrepreneurial household, the eldest of her brother and 2 sisters. She was heavily inspired to pursue a career in the fashion industry influenced by her mother who worked in a clothing factory in Manhattan after immigrating from Grenada.
Noel launched her label Fe Noel, 8 years ago.
“For me, if I was going to take this journey it had to be authentic, and I felt like what was so special about me — and that’s how Grenada came into play — and that’s why I use Grenada as my platform because it kind of made me stick out from the rest. I am from this small island that some people may know, but a lot of people don’t, and it makes them curious… so Grenada is helping me stand out as well and that is how you make it in the fashion industry,” she said.
Fe Noel’s latest line was inspired by Renaissance art and features the work of Afro-Cuban American painter Harmonia Rosales, whose work depicts black females re-imagined using the same iconic depiction of European Renaissance art.
Noel has also designed LeBron James’ latest footwear silhouette, the HFR x LeBron 16, which paid homage to the unprecedented power and determination of African-American women. Other iconic black celebrities like Michelle Obama and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter are known supporters of the Fe Noel brand. Noel was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network in October 2018.
Despite the fame garnered over the years, the journey for the designer was not paved in gold. “There were so many struggles. Just in the arts, you lack financial resources but you kind of use what you have to do what you can, and my mother has raised me like that. So I do have struggles, but I have also been able to become more creative and so many people are seeing the vision,” said Noel.
With Grenada featured in Essence Magazine, Noel is ecstatic that this will certainly boost Grenada’s exposure to a wider audience… “having Essence Magazine come out here and shoot with Grenadian people and capturing the essence of Grenada and being able to experience Grenada. So I was able to do that with the GTA. They believed in the vision and that is a huge accomplishment because I didn’t know that I was going to be able to actually pull this off.”
Noel hopes to further collaborate to open up avenues for Grenadians artists and fashion designers and vows to do so in the not too distant future. She said her next collection will feature aspects of Grenadian culture, especially the ones inspired by her grandmother who owned a restaurant in Grenville. “This next collection is actually about Grenada. My grandmother owned a restaurant called “Well Fed.” You are going to see paintings of her. You are going to see Grenadian artists, models, and hairdressers so I am really fusing culture and glamour in this next collection.”
Noel plans to make her brand available in Grenada.
GTA’s Marketing Manager, Francine Stewart welcomed this collaboration with Noel and Essence. “We understand what that means for Grenada to have a feature coverage in an international magazine like Essence, so we have been working on this for 2 years now and it’s finally here. The magazines are on the stands; the June edition is called “Escape edition.”
“Earlier this year they came down with Fe Noel and her team and featured Yvette Noel-Schure, Beyonce’s publicist and our very own Amanda Seales, who is an entertainer/comedian in the US and we got 8 pages in the magazine,” Stewart said.
She added, “GTA is persistent and adamant that we bring different areas of who and what we are, our people, our culture, our foods, our music, and our fashion. Now back to the people, we want to make sure to use platforms that will portray and put Grenada on the map, so the GTA facilitated the project and brought Fe Noel and Essence magazine to Grenada.”
Essence Magazine is owned by Richelieu Dennis, a Liberian born American entrepreneur. It was first published in May 1970 and marked its 49th anniversary in May 2019. The magazine boasts of having 5.2 million monthly visitors to its website. Noel was featured in its July 2017 issue.
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