Model and designer, Chelsie Ravenell has made large strides from his appearance as a model in the 2008 Charleston Fashion Week to being one of the the top ten Southeastern Emerging Designers in the event in 2010. His line Kenneth Beatrice is named after two of the most influential people on his life, his grandmother and uncle, who live on in the legacy of Chelsie’s art. With a story to tell and his motivation to be one of the best designers in the world, it seems that this is only the beginning of Chelsie’s career.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background? When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I’m from Charleston, SC. My name comes from Boston, MA, where my grandfather was stationed. I’ve lived in Arizona, New York, California, and now South Carolina. I went to Cape Fear College in Wilmington on a basketball scholarship. It was there where I found my destiny as a designer. I started to learn how to sew on my free time in my apartment.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is my life. I dress how I feel. I think it’s the greatest self expression without saying a thing.
How would you define your city’s fashion?
Charleston is such a growing city! I love my city. The style here is classy but laid back. I’m trying to bring edge to the table.
What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
(laughing) I love this question. It was a blazer that I reinvented with felt and paint. I wore it once. That same night I sold it off my back. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked and happy of course but I love that jacket. I never made another one like it again.
How would you define your personal style?
My style. Hmmm that’s hard to answer because I have so many different loves. I love western, punk, preppy… I just love clothes! My style is still growing as life goes on. I’ll say this my style is versatile. I really don’t believe in deﬁning it in one category.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Western movies, colors, and people. Right now, my new inspiration is the highway -the lines and roads. It symbolizes life to me. Reconstruction and love.
How does color influence you/affect your design?
Color is the most important thing to me. I love bright colors. Orange pants are amazing to me.
What are your favorite colors to work with and why? What are your favorite patterns [prints] to work with and why?
Turquoise is my favorite because it was my grandmothers favorite color. Gingham is such a classic pattern to mix with edgy pieces!
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Follow your heart and be yourself. Don’t listen to other people. And study the game of fashion it’s not easy.