By no means want Oonarissa Brown-Bernard good luck.
Positive, she’s a clothier, however the actress aspect of her sees the runway as one other stage. And he or she is aware of that good luck needs earlier than taking a stage are literally unhealthy luck.
So, inform her to interrupt a leg as a substitute, not that she’ll want it. The Baton Rouge native is already making a reputation for herself as the primary Black feminine tailor-made menswear designer at New York Trend Week, which opens Feb. 11.
This may not be Brown-Bernard’s first time at this semiannual gathering of the world’s designers. She’s proven bridal and ladies’s put on designs below her OonaNicole label in 5 earlier New York Trend Weeks.
However this would be the runway debut for her DOS menswear label. That is DOS, as within the Spanish phrase for 2 — D is for double O’s and S is for the quantity 7, making it additionally signify 007, a nod to her line of spy-inspired line of menswear.
High-tier fashions normally reserved for Gucci and different high-end manufacturers can be strolling the runway in her designs in New York. Brown-Bernard says to inform these guys to, “Break a leg,” as a result of they’re going to be introducing the style world to DOS within the Prince George Ballroom.
DOS combines houndstooth with velvet on this assortment. Why houndstooth? It is one among Brown-Bernard’s favourite patterns. As for velvet, why not?
“I begin out by getting my inspirational designs collectively,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “I get my inspiration from photos that I see, then I discover the kind of materials I’ll use. So our fundamental material to this present is velvet and the houndstooth.”
The mixture resulted within the smooth, tailor-made look paying homage to James Bond. And so, DOS was born.
“It’s extremely traditional,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “And I added sure items that you do not usually see. It is like I instructed my husband, you by no means actually see a person’s cape or a cape jacket. And I’ve by no means seen a winter white velvet go well with. I attempt to do issues that different individuals have not executed, issues like a houndstooth bow tie, issues that I can play with.”
Even Brown-Bernard was shocked by the result.
“These are issues I’ve by no means put collectively earlier than, and, wow, they give the impression of being good,” she mentioned. “And although I nonetheless do ladies’s put on, I will truly be making historical past, as a result of there are not any Black feminine menswear designers in the US. I have been doing analysis for years. There are barely any ladies is that this area and no Black ones.”
That’s, apart from Brown-Bernard.
“There is a Nigerian feminine menswear designer, and one from Ghana and one from London, however there are none in the US,” she continues. “So that is fairly large for me.”
Brown-Bernard started designing males’s clothes in 2015, beginning with males’s coats and fits for groomsmen. However style design wasn’t her first profession alternative whereas rising up in Baton Rouge.
She majored in theater at Southern College, then pursued appearing, touchdown theater, tv and movie roles on the time Hollywood South was flourishing in Louisiana.
Nonetheless, style design was all the time on the horizon.
Brown-Bernard began stitching at age 12, a ability she discovered from her seamstress godmother. She even traveled to California after graduating from Southern to earn a second diploma from the Trend Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.
Appearing continued to be her precedence after returning to Baton Rouge, however these alternatives dwindled when the state’s film tax credit dried up, and the business moved elsewhere.
That is when Brown-Bernard’s husband, Jarrick, steered that she develop her personal style line.
The thought appealed to her on a number of ranges. She may use her creativity in one other area whereas working from house, the place she was having to use respiration remedies to son Jace, whose untimely beginning left his lungs underdeveloped.
Jace is now a wholesome 10-year-old. His brother, Tariq, 14, is also wholesome.
“It is simpler for me to work now, as a result of they’re extra impartial,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “And my husband handles the enterprise aspect.”
The household moved from Baton Rouge to Houston, then Dallas earlier than lastly settling within the Spherical Rock suburb of Austin, the place Brown-Bernard designed her OonaNicole ladies’s style line. The transfer to Texas additionally gave Brown-Bernard extra enterprise alternatives whereas servicing clientele in Baton Rouge.
“My enterprise began by word-of-mouth, and it exploded,” she mentioned.
The Bernards have since moved to San Antonio, the place Brown-Bernard created the DOS assortment in her house. Now they’re trying to settle again into the Spherical Rock neighborhood.
Within the meantime, Brown-Bernard is specializing in Trend Week.
All of her New York Trend Week appearances have been organized by Trend Gallery NYFW, which organizes the runway reveals. She continues to work with the corporate and raises her personal funds for every present by means of GoFundMe campaigns.
The February present is already absolutely funded, so Brown-Bernard is specializing in tweaking and presenting her DOS assortment.
She knew velvet could possibly be a troublesome material with which to work, so she was cautious to decide on the proper match.
“Generally, it simply will depend on the load of the velvet as a result of it is available in completely different fibers,” she mentioned. “Sure velvets work nicely with menswear, so you must know your material and textiles, as a result of sure materials do not work nicely with sure designs. A few of the materials that you simply use for ladies you’ll be able to’t use for males.”
Why? As a result of ladies have extra curves, and males are angular.
“So, all of it will depend on the reduce,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “Our theme is black and winter white, so the road will principally be fits.”
And in the long run, Brown-Bernard has found that interesting to males’s sense of style might be as demanding as that of girls’s style.
“Guys are simply as trendy as the ladies these days,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “Guys usually do not put on socks. They like loafers, and so they like ankle pants. They usually like every thing very tailor-made, like customized fitted. So, now we have to enchantment to the blokes simply as a lot as we do the ladies.”
And the DOS assortment will ship.
“We’ll have classic items that you’d see in 007 motion pictures,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “We’ll have peak lapels, which have an old style classic really feel. And you are going to see pea coats and a cape, as a result of the finale is extra like one thing that Shaft would put on.”
That is as in Non-public Detective John Shaft, fundamental character of the Seventies crime-action “Shaft” film collection. Shaft additionally wore tailor-made types.
“Shaft is extra our 007 within the African-American tradition,” Brown-Bernard mentioned. “So, he was a part of my inspiration, too.”
Nonetheless, naming the road for James Bond made sense.
“My title has two Os in it, and DOS is Spanish for 2,” she mentioned. “I began fascinated by how I may make it distinctive. DOS, the primary letters for double-o-seven.”
So, break a leg, DOS. The world can be watching.
For a take a look at Brown-Bernard’s OonaNicole ladies’s designs, go to her Fb web page at fb.com/oonanicole007. Her DOS assortment has but to be posted.