Fashioneer'd Friday: Kelyn Greene
In the world of fashion, we find a melting pot of not only people, but occupations that propel the evolution of the industry. From designers, to creative directors and chemists - we can't forget about the engineers. Kelyn Greene, a engineer and designer has masterminded a way for her two passions to coexist with her mashup brand “Fashioneer’d”, a brand that caters to your want for fashionable comfortability.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity)
Tell me a little about yourself?
I’m 24, born in raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I went to The Baltimore Polytechnic Institute for high school and North Carolina A&T for college. I received a degree in Architectural Engineering and moved back to home to work full time in the field of Mechanical Engineering.
How your major/degree align with your current career?
I studied Architectural Engineering, a field that covers all aspects of building design from architectural design to electrical (lighting) design. HVAC (heating and cooling) was one of the many fields AE’s learned in undergrad and could work in. I am currently a mechanical engineer that designs heating and cooling systems for new and existing buildings.
I know you are currently working as a Mechanical Engineer at SRBR Engineers, what does your day to day consist of? What opportunities has this position provided you with? What do you feel you bring to SRBR?
Essentially my day to day consists of sitting at a computer and designing heating and cooling systems for buildings. We have to do load calculations based off of a number of factors such as building occupancy, exposure to the sun, designated usage etc. If you ever look up in a restaurant and building you will see “diffusers” and possibly ductwork which is how air is distributed throughout a building. Or go into a bathroom and hit the light switch you will hear an exhaust fan cut on. These are the types of systems I am designing, systems that make day to day operations comfortable to all occupants.
I would say a huge opportunity this position has given me is the opportunity to gain experience, learn about one of the many trades i went to school for, develop more as an engineer, and of course network. The experience goes a long way! Not a lot of new college grads have this and/or are given the chance right out of college.
I definitely bring diversity to the workplace as I am the only African American female and female engineer in the entire office. My coworkers are intrigued by why I change my hair and what I have on day to day because I assume they have not been exposed to the black culture. I also bring my hard work ethic to the office. Completing projects by deadlines and more. I am apart of the team and each member adds their own part.
What was your first meaningful introduction to fashion and the industry?
In high school I began interning for Toni James, owner and operator of Katwalk Boutique. Working for her is where my understanding for personal style deepened, as she encouraged my sister and I to think outside of the box. We were taught the ins and outs of running a store and helped coordinate an array of fashion shows and more. Working with her I went from shopping at forever 21 like everyone else and wearing the same stuff to someone who follows trends, but makes them her own. It’s like I have one foot in the box and the other foot out.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style can be described by so many different terms. One day I’m a tomboy and heavy into streetwear. The next day I might wear a super girly dress and heels. My style is so versatile. I wear something designer from head to toe one day and then you might catch me in some Citi Trends jeans I stumbled across. Ever since launching my brand “Fashioneer’d by Kelyn G.” I would definitely say my style is cozy chic. Comfortable, yet out of the box.
When did you find that you were interested in styling others for events, shoots, etc.? Who was your first client and what was the occasion? Do you prefer to style clients for certain events?
It was mid 2016 where I found myself working full time as an engineer.I always knew I wanted to work in fashion and have a heavier hand in the industry, but I hadn’t figured out how. I was doing creative directing for my sisters maternity shoot and it all came to me - image consulting would be my thing. So many people were asking me to style them and I was constantly helping with shoots, so I decided to turn it into a business and this would be my way into the fashion world.
You posted a teaser for your brand in late 2016 and you officially launched Fashioneer’d in late 2017, what was the creative process like within that time frame ? What is the concept behind your brand name? How would you describe your brand in one word?
In 2016 my brand was solely wardrobe styling. I launched at the end of 2016 just before new years and I was “Thee Fashioneer”. I was solely known for styling clients for special occasions. Mid 2017 I had designed a custom sweatsuit with my logo on it, just for my own personal branding purposes and the amount of feedback I received was phenomenal! Everyone loved it. People wanted one! So as a celebration for a successful year as “Thee Fashioneer” I decided to launch pieces, but this one time thing turned into a successful clothing brand.
The creative process was solely based off of my supporters. Them pushing me and supporting me turned into fuel that powered me to keep going, keep designing, keep coming up with ideas and concepts. My name depicts me a fashionista and engineer all in one. It combines the terms which describes me perfectly - innovative.
You recently released your SS18 collection, how has the transition been from cozy streetwear pieces to crocheting? You posted a crocheted swimsuit, will you be creating swimwear soon?
I wouldn’t quite consider it a transition. My goal was to remain cozy, but release something more feminine that stays true to my cozy persona. Unfortunately I will not be designing swimwear this season.
How does your brand cater to all body types?
My brand definitely caters to all body types. I go up to a 2x on my website, but thinner girls such as myself can rock it or the more curvy girls. Short and tall, I have something for everyone. Each piece is really universal to all sizes so I don’t have many problems with fit.
You were recently featured as a designer for the first time in the Watermelon Brunch and Fashion Show, how was that experience for you? What pieces did you choose to feature and why?
This experience was unlike any other! I was inspired in ways you couldn’t imagine. I was on a cloud for the longest during and after this fashion show. All of the people I met and networked with, all of the positive feedback I received, every the moment was such a great experience. It was so grand. It made me realize I have something good and I want to figure out how to chase this dream fulltime and be able to quit my job to build “Fashioneer’d by Kelyn G.” even more. I showcased all of my Summer/Spring ‘18 pieces and a few custom pieces I added just for fashion show theatrics. This was a great way for me to sell and launch my crochet pieces as well as show everyone how they can be styled!
While Fashioneer’d is still new and steadily picking up momentum, what’s next for the brand? FW18? Upcoming shows or pop ups?
That I am unsure. I definitely will be developing F/W ‘18 concepts in the meantime, as it’s always fun and therapeutic for me to create. I take on shows and pop ups as they are presented to me via invitation. A few were presented to me, but timing is everything and I have to be selective on what types of events I commit to. Right now I want to spend time working on a business plan and working on a ultimate direction or long term goals I want to take my brand into and from there it’ll be tunnel vision as I work to meet that goal.
If you could style any person who would it be and why?
Honestly any person who has great style and is known for being super stylish as they could expose me to other clients and more. Rihanna and Kim K are both amazing but i never imagined myself working with celebrities or on that caliber yet. I have so much growing to fo as a stylist.
Your favorite style of shoes?
My alI time favorite style of shoe are boots! I loveeee tall boots, uggs, anything that comes up my leg, even booties (depending on the outfit). I have longg legs and boots compliment them very well. I can wear boots with shorts dresses, pants, and more. So many styles and versions. You can wear them flat or with heels.
Right now i don’t have one. Currently still learning about different stylists and their work.
How do you unwind from work and your brand?
I go home and do what i call “collect my thoughts” i’ll lay across my bed in silence for a few minutes or hours just to get my mind right. Or i’ll take a vacation. Let everyone i won’t be taking clients until i get back etc.
Greatest performer, Beyonce or Michael Jackson?
Beyonce. Unpopular opinion ...michael jackson was great and all but I’m not a huge fan of his music like the rest of america. I can relate to beyonce a little more. They are definitely both up there but the innovation in beyonce’s performances to me is untouchable!
For more of Thee Fashioneer herself and her brand Fashioneer’d: