Ms Fe-Fe has been in numerous Fashion weeks across the states as well as red carpet and fundraising fashion shows and charitable events, donating her time, fashions as well as money.
Celebrity Artist Designer Teresa Fe-Fe Barrow is the driving force behind Teresa Fe-Fe Designs (formerly Exquisite Taste of Art), according to Black Fashion Week USA. Ms FeFe Uniquely created designs consisted of hand-painted jackets, purses, hats, shoes and wall art. Her Unique Creativity has landed her in numerous magazines, videos, plays and runway shows, with her designs being seen Internationally. Ms FeFe
Designers or has Designed for Tony Terry, Glenn Jones, Mike Epps, Lakeside and Con Funk Shun with the lead singer and bass player being her Celebrity Brand Ambassadors. She has positioned herself with being highly sought after by many performing artist for Unique stage Designs. To date, one of her main accomplishments is opening her own Art and Fashion Design Studio for Men and Women in Crete, IL.
First and foremost, I would like to say that I personally admire you and your colleagues in the apparel and fashion industry. You’ve really had an impact on it. And the way the industry also helps black people in the society. You’ve been in business for about 7 years now, and I would like to know what inspired you to start it 7 years ago?
Thank you for your words, first of all, thank you. The main thing that inspired me was my family, my children, and grandchildren. I feel located in a circle where we have to take care of one another, it is mandatory. It is even more mandatory now, because we’ve always been under attack. But of course, instead of going forward and moving forward, some of these people are trying to bring us back. So it is mandatory to stand strong for one another. I would say what definitely inspired me to get started was I had an ill mom, and I was kind of like back and forth to check how she was doing, between jobs, kids and just everyday life. And one day, while I was working in a phone company, serving another customer and I just thought to myself. Why am I working so hard for these people, when I could work hard for myself? So, that’s how it all started.
That is beautiful. How would you describe your work? Is it art, creativity or only business?
It is definitely both. I would say that the art part of it is because of the painting and I tell everyone all the time, I say if you really sit back to think about it, everything we do is an art. If you are cooking, singing, even if you are speaking or socializing, everything, there is really an art to it. And the creativity is part of it too. It’s really funny because I’ll start off sometimes with a sketch, but by the time I express myself, it is something completely different, and I’m like – Okay!
So you can’t really fight what is inside of you, you have to just let it come out and express it. And fortunately, I express mine through art. And definitely, it is business, because it is 100% of my life.
Who are your target customers? Do you create casual clothes or clothes for special occasions?
Oh, I have a huge range of customers, people who work from 9 to 5, a ton of first ladies and entertainers. They like that one of a kind colour of originality. Like I tell people all the time, it’s not me just splashing some paint here and there, it’s an expression that comes from my soul, like from inside of me. So, my customers want that one of a kind. Just like I tell people all the time, other people bring the fashion and I bring the funk!
That’s amazing. Well, I read that your new line of couture clothing is going to be released soon, can we expect to see something from that line on the Black Fashion Week USA?
Oh, yes. I’m really excited with what I’m bringing out. Actually, I’m going to start a collection. I’m already looking at my works and I’m going to choose 3 different designs that’s going to be a part of the collection.
Looking forward to it. What do you expect from the Black Fashion Week USA? And how do you think it helps designers to develop their business?
Well, I think it’s going to be like last year, or even better. What I expect to see from the show…that’s a really good question. I love the exposure, the “wow factor” of the crowd and the whole fun of it. I expect to see a lot of people there, having fun, networking and showing togetherness. And also people who understand that our culture can come together and do something wonderful and creative. I think it will be a remarkable and creative event. I love that people from the industry come together and celebrate one another. That means more to me than absolutely anything, you know people from one business coming together. We won’t be fighting, we won’t be arguing, we won’t be judging or other stuff. We just get together and make it all work. And hopefully, we can take it beyond the fashion. After coming together to do something great, let’s take what we did there to move forward and grow.
I bet you’ve heard or you know about the trend “Black for Black” or “Buy Black” which unites/calls people to support and develop black-owned businesses. Do you feel like a part of this trend?
Oh, absolutely. I do support black business and want to help people who just got started to reach the higher level. Also, I do have a lot of black supporters, people who give me positive energy, who help me, and of course I’m going to help them in return. Yesterday, when I went to the studio as one of the designers on Fox news, one of the necklaces that complimented my piece was made by a friend. She always told me “get my stuff out there, I want people to see it,” and this was a few years ago. I promised her that if I ever got a TV moment like that, “I got you.” And it happened yesterday. She was so excited. I would do anything for my “hand friends” and my circle. My “hand friends” are those who’ve got my back through thick and thin. You have to take care of that circle and support one another. You help brothers and sisters, even if it takes one day, two years, five years, or forever, never give up. Keep reaching. There is reason for everything I do. Some people tease it and some don’t. It’s all about support.
You’ve got a lot of supporters and fans, including a lot of celebrities, the likes of Rick Ross, Tarik Glenn, Mel Waiters, Mel Jackson and a host of others. What is the secret of your success? Would you mind to share it?
Oh, you know what? I’ll tell you something. it’s something that I’ve been doing, which is 5 years old now. what have I been doing? I’ve been helping, helping, giving and helping. And one thing my mom told me before she passed, she said “Baby, you’ve been helping people for a long time, and it is your turn now”. And she was right. No matter what my success is like now, I am always open to people, I want to help them, I don’t mind elevating people and now they “cover my back”. I do all this because of my heart, because of my soul. I think this is the secret to my success.
What is your advice for designers, who are just beginning their business, who are just starting up?
Oh wow. My advice is simple. People usually say “never say never”, but I’m saying you should NEVER give up. No matter how hard it is, when you don’t see the light of what you are trying to do, never give up. Never give up on yourself because everyone doesn’t see your vision and everyone can’t be a part of your vision. Just never give up on yourself and never give up on your dream.
I can’t imagine how difficult it is to create a clothing line. When people start something, they have got to keep striving and never give up, and sometimes they encounter some setbacks. How did you overcome your setbacks?
My very first major setback was losing my mom. She was the one who always helped me, she was my number one fan, always checked me before a show. And she was also my number one critic, and I love her for that. After I lost her, I didn’t want to create any more, didn’t want to do anything, I just felt bad. But to make my mother proud, that she didn’t raise a loser or a failure, I got myself together and kept working. Just as I said, “never give up”. Setbacks happen, you’ve just go to smile through your tears and pain. Focus on your journey, reach out for yourself and get yourself together. It’s in you, you can overcome anything.
So your advice is to put a smile on your face and never give up?
Yes, but it’s not a phony smile, not a smile to get you through the day, not a pretence smile, it is the smile that comes from your heart. You know in your heart, that no matter what you are going through, you are strong and you are an overcomer. Everyone goes through something bad, no one has a perfect life. You have to be an overcomer, it’s mandatory.
Thank you very much, I really appreciate that you took your time out for this interview and I would like to say it again that I admire your work.
Thank you, I appreciate that and keep doing what you are doing, don’t think that your voice is not going to be heard. You know eventually one day our babies are going to wake up and understand what you’ve done. You know life is like a circle. Our people had bad times, very difficult times. But now the Caucasian circle is closing, and it is our turn again. So what I feel, myself personally, is that they know it and they are scared of losing their supremacy that they’ve created for themselves. And when they know that those tables are turning and it is our time to rise again, they will try to wipe us out. They incarcerate us, keep us from producing, but we will rise again!