Moneé Pastel: Yes, She's Still Bad
A self-taught designer hailing from Columbus Ohio, who would eventually relocate to the south after leaving an imprint on her hometown. Moneé Pastel, designer of cut and sew brand named after her moniker and widely known for B.A.E, a show stopping mix of fashion and choreography that turned heads at every show she participated in, is making big waves locally and nationally. With a new collection and big announcements, she's showing the world that her momentum will not be slowing down any time soon.
Tell me a little about yourself?(Hometown, Currently Reside, Growing up, Education, etc.)
My hometown is Columbus, Ohio and I currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia (3 years). I majored In Business Management in college, and I am a self educated fashion designer. Growing up I was the odd and middle child. I was extremely creative and artistic. In which, I expressed myself differently than my siblings. I also wasn’t afraid of trying new things until I begin to figure out what it is that I truly loved most of all, fashion.
How did you start designing? Were you inspired by a person or your environment?
I was asked to participate in a fashion show at Wright State university for an organization called BWSF (Black Women Striving Forward). I was initially inspired by art and the ability to express myself creatively through something I already loved, clothes.
I remember B.A.E Apparel being featured in many fashion shows in Columbus a few years ago. What does the B.A.E acronym stand for?
Wow! I can’t believe you asked this almost no one knows the answer to this, yet you’re the first to ask.
Years ago, I came up with the idea of casting my own models for my own convenience as a designer. In many shows I’ve participated in, models were recycled (which happens a lot in the industry). However, I had creative plans and choreography for my segments that required needing my models a bit longer than other designers. I also needed models that were multi-talented with a little bit of rhythm as well. So, I asked friends and family if they’d help me with my first show by being my models. I cast a few others that may have already had relationships with those I already asked. After my very first fashion show in Dayton, Ohio, I showed up with about 20 models and we stood out drastically because bringing a group of your own models to a show was a little unusual then. Not to mention we all traveled from Columbus, Ohio and none of us were from Dayton, so we rolled up deep. Shortly after being dressed, I remember the coordinator asking me what my group was call. I had no idea what to say, so I took a glance around the room and seen that my girls looked so amazing! They were so bad ass, I said in a whisper. She then asked me to repeat what I was saying and I said “badd assez” they’re the badd assez with a z. I spelled it this way because ironically I didn’t curse. She chuckled, then smiled and said “I love it.” I was surprised.
Later, the girls and I headed out of our dressing room to go rehearse on the stage hours before the show begin and to our surprise when we returned there was a huge black sign in white letters on our wall that read: Moneé Pastel & The Badd Assez. I later legalized the name Badd Assez Entertainment LLC. We grew popular all over the city. Even in surrounding cities. Everyone knew our name and who we were. We were most known for the clothing and choreography I created and organized us to display during our shows. Each show we participated in we had a different performance and people were intrigued. We grew a fan base and even gave back to the community annually. That was extremely important to me. We became role models for little girls and many more. I even started a group of child models called “Just Badd” who traveled and preformed with us. As a growing young teenager/woman, I soon realized that the name Badd Assez Entertainment became inappropriate for us and I didn’t want people judging us before they knew us or seen what we could do. So, after a couple casting calls later (seeking real runway models and talent) I made an executive decision by changing our name from Badd Assez Entertainment to our acronym BAE. Which is the name we’re most known for today.
Photos: Moneé Pastel
What does your creative process look like?
It depends on the project at hand.
What was the first custom piece you designed?
I designed my sister Chelsií and my own wardrobe when we were children. I’d steal my eldest brother Chazź’s jerseys, cut them up and create matching outfits for her and I.
What’s your favorite aspect of creating custom designs? Do you ever think about halting your customs designs and mass producing or moving towards fast fashion?
I enjoy the “almost finished process.” The part where I’m trying the garment on the mannequin, envisioning what it’ll look like when I’m completely finished, but loving the progress I’ve made so far. This may sound strange but I still shock myself after each design.
I definitely have mass production on my calendar currently. However, my custom designs keeps me creatively engaged with my passion. So, I don’t plan on stopping that anytime soon.
How do get over your creative blocks?
Take a day or two, sleep on it and try it again another day.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m very much like the woman I design for. I’m bold and versatile. I’d wear everything off of the Moneé Pastel racks.
You were recently named the uniform designer for the Cleveland Cavalier Girls, which is very exciting! How did you land this opportunity?
Thank you very much! The Cleveland Cavalier Girls management team reached out to me. They were looking for a designer to create a new uniform for the 2018 NBA Finals. They asked if I was interested in creating 21 uniforms for them in nearly 3 days. They were informed that I was able to complete such a request and I did. Afterwards, I received many compliments and was asked to be their new uniform designer for the 2018/19 season. In which, I gladly accepted.
What are you looking most forward to this upcoming season?
The release of my newest collection Giverny by Moneé Pastel. Which debuts in Canada September 29th, 2018.
What prompted your move to Atlanta and not a huge fashion hub like New York or Los Angeles? How does the creative culture in Atlanta differ from Columbus?
The lifestyle, greenery and lack of the creative vision I possess. After my research, I seen an immediate need for my clothing in Atlanta and set a goal for myself and my brand of making an impact and change in the fashion industry here.
Atlanta is a little behind on fashion than Columbus. However, it’s more diverse here. In which I absolutely love. I get to observe and create based on visual inspiration that I never received in Ohio. Atlanta is one of the biggest hubs in the nation for artistic individuals. I feel like I fit in while still standing out here, if that makes sense.
What’s your favorite dress silhouette and why?
My favorite silhouette is the mermaid dress. I love making a woman look and feel beautiful and sexy. What better way to do so than showing by off her figure with a little bit of elegance at the bottom.
If you could design a custom dress for anyone who would it be?
Lady Gaga and Rihanna because they’re fashion icons and would be confident and look good in anything I’ve designed.
Mule or Stiletto heel?
Stiletto by far.
Greatest performer? Michael Jackson or Beyonce?
Both. Both creative geniuses that I can relate to.
If you could be the artistic director for any brand which one would you choose?