Undra Celeste New York is a new ready-to-wear brand for the modern woman. The label was created using the designer’s first and middle names of which she seamlessly answers to both. She began designing women’s clothing because she has “always been intrigued and amused by well-dressed women”.
“I’ve always been intrigued and amused by well dressed women.” ~ Undra Duncan
Her family is Guyanese and back in the 80s and 90s, people from the Caribbean liked to get dressed up. Referencing clothing in context to her beloved country she explained,
“[Getting dressed up was] how you won a fight or a man!” ~ Undra Duncan
Undra continues to draw inspiration from her Caribbean background through her use of color and prints. They’re a huge part of her creative process. She’s, also, heavily influenced by travel, Pinterest, vintage shops and, of course, the New York fashion scene.
Source: Courtesy of Undra Celeste
One design element that Undra continues to use throughout her collections is the trumpet sleeve. She not only uses this feature for the drama but because “one of the most flattering parts of a woman is her neck. So by moving the fullness of the sleeve to the forearm and leaving the neck and shoulder more seamless, it makes almost everyone, regardless of size, seem much more sleek and put together.” This style creates a sophisticated look for the modern day woman, accenting the most feminine parts of a womans’ body. The voluminous sleeves and attention to detail on Undra’s work gives a modern day Victorian feel.
“Fashion and the way clothes move on women have always been of interest to me. ” ~ Undra Celeste
Undra is a born creative. She designs, writes, paints and loves the overall process of creating. She grew up knowing she wanted to be a fashion designer and still has her sketches from when she was only 4 years old. Though she studied business management at Howard University, she knew she was interested in design. Her first set of formal fashion design sketching and sewing and placing her skills on paper was birthed over a decade ago in Los Angeles, CA. To Undra, creativity means freedom.
Source: Courtesy of Undra Celeste
“One of the most flattering parts of a woman is her neck.” ~ Undra Celeste
Undra Celeste might be a newer fashion designer, but she is not new to the industry. She has worked in fashion for the past 12 years in product development and brand management. Undra’s fashion mentor is none other than Tory Burch. She has been her mentor since 2010 and the learning experience helped improve and elevate Undra’s business. When asked about how to get ahead in the fashion industry, Undra immediately suggested interning. Interning allows you not only to learn and gain experience but also to network and increase your connections, all which is important for advancing in the fashion industry.
Undra Duncan at Hello Beautiful Studios.
“The fashion industry is difficult. It is difficult for everyone, especially for women of color. However, nothing will trump persistence. Persistence and hard work. Talent without hard work is nothing.” ~ Undra Celeste
I first discovered this designer’s work on social media and was thrilled to have found her. The clothing, especially the Spring 2016 collection, speaks to the print-loving spirit within. The pieces are suitable for the office and transition well into after work festivities. I’ve recently featured the Ballet Dancer Print Dress on The Werk! Place because who didn’t want to be a ballerina as a child? Honestly, her pieces are timelessly classic while simultaneously being on trend.
Her ideal client is one that embodies a full life inclusive of travel, work, charity, love and laughter. This is the type of women she strives to be and dress. She is the woman on the go; however, not too busy to miss the details and fullness of life. To Undra, confidence and clothing is a straight line.
“[Undra Celeste NY] believes if she looks good and feels good, her confidence is boosted, making her more equipped to concur her dreams.” ~ Undra Celeste
This label is for all the day dreamers and dream chasers who want to look professional and stylish while working the concrete runway and making those thoughts and ideas a reality.
So, who’s a designer’s favorite designer? Undra likes rocking Chloe, Elizabeth and James, Zac Posen and contemporary brands such as Alice + Olivia and Tracy Reese.
It seems as if 2016 and beyond will be an amazing time for UCNY! The brand will expand internationally selling the Spring 2016 collection at a boutique in Paris. They will, also, be launching the Spring 2016 collection for sale online in April. The Fall 2016 collection debuted this week and can be viewed on undracelesteny.com now.
Here are a few places where you can purchase pieces from Undra Celeste NY: