By Amanda Harth
I met Adilah through Brittney Perry, owner of Perry Co. Shoes, at a pop up shop in the West Loop neighborhood right before the holidays. We talked for two hours about pop culture, Chicago fashion, food, and a few other wild things off of social media. I enjoyed her stories of being a designer in Chicago and was excited to know what she was up to next.
How long have you been designing? Are you formally trained?
I first started designing when I was nine years old. I later went on to North Carolina A&T State University where I got my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design.
What is your favorite thing about being a creative?
My favorite thing about being a creative is that you get a chance to explore the inner workings of your mind. You get a chance to learn a lot about yourself in the process.
How do you describe your brands aesthetic?
My brand aesthetic is what I call bold minimalism. I design simply silhouettes that pack a punch in style.
Do you feel pressured to create a collection every season because of old standards set by the fashion industry?
There is pressure to create a collection every season as a new designer because you are constantly trying to build trust to new buyers of your brand. Skipping a season could make you appear unstable to buyer for stores. However, I do believe that every designer in the end has to do what’s best for them in their company. Seasonal collections doesn’t work for everyone.
Who is your customer?
I design a women’s contemporary brand geared towards stylish, modest women. My customers are usually women between the age of 30-60 who have the desire to have more coverage in their clothing without changing their style preferences.
How many people do you have on your team now?
I am a one-woman show right now. However, I do contract individuals to help push my business forward in different areas.
What resources do you use to market your products?
I use social media to market my products. I also have been featured in publications and do pop-up/selling events to build brand awareness.
Do you have a favorite garment or collection you’ve created thus far?
I think the coats that I have produced have been my favorite garments that I have produced thus far. Coats are my favorite article of clothing.
Do you have any mentors that coach you regularly?
Every month I meet up with several of my mentors who coach me in the areas of design, production, and business.
What is the most challenging thing about running your company?
The most challenging thing about running my business is that right now I manage everything by myself. Though I may not do all of the workload of my business, I still wear many hats to make sure everything functions in my business.
What have been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
The most valuable lesson that I’ve learned in being an entrepreneur is to trust your instincts. Though I have mentors and is surrounded by excellent, learned individuals, that doesn’t mean that I have to always rely on their opinions. Sometimes what works for them in their experiences doesn’t mean it has to work for me. However, be balanced in learning and accepting advice from others.
What plans do you have for 2019?
In 2019, I plan to put out more digital content. The digital content that I put out is usually limited to photos and maybe InstaStory. However, this year, I am in the process of creating videos that will allow my audience to get up close and personal with my business.
What is the ultimate goal for your company?
My ultimate goal is to establish my own fashion house and have a vertical integrated company. It means that I want to have a company where we streamline every part of the company from beginning to end.