Melesia Robinson is a Navy veteran, now self-taught couture designer based in New York City. She helps modern professional women who struggle to find unique fashion that reflects their personality with style and grace; to acquire custom fashionable garments that elevate their style and showcase their best assets. With 6 years of experience, and unyielding passion for fashion, and a sincere appreciation for the variance of women's bodies. Melesia is uniquely positioned to curate and deliver custom garments they won't want to take off.
Melesia’s unbeknownst fashion journey began in 2007 when she sketched her first gown to send her cousin off to her high school prom. This was a major turning point, which she failed to realize at the time. Her younger cousins always gave her creative control when it was time for their events. Since then, she has taken on various positions that weren't passion-driven, which ultimately led her back to the design world.
In 2008, she joined the military it didn't align with her soul. She was unhappy; she made the best of her four-year tour. Due to budgetary constraints, the military began downsizing and Melesia was one of the many selected to resign. This was a sure sign that not even a government job is secure. After leaving the military Melesia had no idea what life had in store for her. She didn't have a backup plan; she intended to serve for eight years, save as much money as she could to financially prepare herself to cease her enlistment. Unfortunately for her, this wasn’t a part of her calling.
In 2011, a week after transitioning from the military, she purchased a sewing machine and started a clothing boutique catering to women. She attempted to make a pencil skirt and failed horribly. She was discouraged and decided to put away her sewing machine in her storage unit. Melesia decided to focus on the wholesale to retail market. In 2012 she relocated to New Jersey, where her efforts led her to continue to market her brand via Instagram and make sales through her eCommerce website. With no knowledge of the business, Melesia labored through many long nights conducting research and filling orders.
In 2013, she became a new mom and was faced with a dilemma. The long nights were wearing thin on her. She could no longer sustain the business, sales started declining and so did her engagements on social media. She had to choose between her boutique and caring for her son. This was hard for Melesia because at the time she saw this as a failure.
IIn 2015, after her husband deployed, she got tired of sitting at home and wanted more than just being a mom. She had an urge to revamp her boutique, leading her to make connections with local fashion photographers and models. While feeding the flame inside of her she would set up photoshoots and collaborate with many photographers, models, makeup artists, and hairdressers as often as she could, still, this didn’t go where she hoped it would. She knew how talented she was and knew that she could do anything she put her mind to. After facing many redirections, she was led to get her sewing machine from her storage unit, this time she wasn’t going to stop until she constructed a wearable garment. She attempted to make a maxi skirt, not only did she make the skirt effortlessly she didn’t face the difficulties she did the first time she tried. She wore the skirt the following day, she received many compliments and a few requests for orders in which she declined. Melesia began creating pieces to shoot with local fashion photographers and models. This allowed her to enhance her skills and test out what she learned while building the confidence to be the designer she aspires to be.
In 2016, a tragedy occurred in Melesia’s life, she suffered a miscarriage. A close friend and fellow shipmate gifted her a spa treatment to help uplift her spirits. During her spa session, she had an interestingly deep conversation with the masseuse. They talked about her love for creating garments and her aspirations as a couture designer. The masseuse connected Melesia with a local producer that was preparing for an upcoming fashion show. When Melesia contacted the producer, she explained that she had all her designers booked for the show, but she didn’t mind adding Melesia’s brand to the list; it was faith.
The anticipation of her first runway show had her nervous and worried about what people would think of her work. Being a self-taught designer and a person who struggled with being a perfectionist, she felt she had so much to learn. She assumed her work at the time was far from what anyone would want to wear. She doubted her abilities, but this didn’t sway her from participating in the fashion show. She saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow. To her delight, the show was a success! She enjoyed the rush of being backstage while successfully directing her team. The scores of positive feedbacks from other designers, models, and the audience, left her overjoyed it fueled the fire inside of her to learn more about the fashion industry.
Melesia had hopes of attending a fashion design school, she thought this would help expand her skillset and further build confidence. After researching fashion design schools in her area, she had no luck, she felt stuck and disappointed. There was one school that stuck out to her, but not what she initially had in mind. After seeing all that she had accomplished in a short span without technical help, she thought maybe it was best to learn the business side of fashion. Her research led her to enroll in The Art Institute of Virginia Beach to pursue their Fashion Marketing and Management program.
Melesia was nervous but committed to embarking on this new journey. To her surprise, all her classes required assignments and projects that consisted of public speaking. This was another hurdle for Melesia. She suffered from social anxieties and would occasionally have panic attacks that prevented her from participating in public speaking events, despite a growing demand for her to do so. Through creative coaching, encouragement, and sincere support from the students and staff, she was able to overcome this by turning her weakness into a strength.
Melesia would also place herself in rooms where she was would be forced to grow, and fight through the daunting task of public speaking. She would attend unplanned networking events, seminars, and meetups. With high hopes of overcoming her fear of social settings and public speaking, she would also attend events that weren’t fashion-related, where she could view other dynamic speakers captivating audiences and add some of their techniques to her identity. Overcoming these fears was only a matter of time because Melesia’s determination is unmatched.
Melesia has then been published in Malvie, Pump, Element, and other international magazines. She has participated in numerous fashion shows to include the Stars and Stripes Show, Winter Wonderland III, and Coastal Virginia Fashion Week to name a few. She was also nominated for fashion designer of the year by ACHI Magazine.
The New York designer celebrates the everyday woman who aims to be independent, successful, and knows what she wants. Her signature saying is "Love yourself enough to know that you are of excellence" - Melesia Robinson