This week, we introduced the four finalists in the running for The Cultivate Awards Year II Grande Prize. The Cultivate Awards will air on April 23rd, and the four finalists chosen by a panel of notable judges and guided by a celebrity mentor will showcase their work in hopes of winning the $10,000 prize and the opportunity to have a capsule collection with ELOQUII! Before the LIVE event, we wanted you to get to know each of our finalists better! Of course, you’ve already learned about finalist Angela Rene’, so today, we will be spotlighting Charniece White of Pinecone Row and B a r k w o o d!
The Cultivate Awards Finalist Spotlight: Charniece White
Born in Baltimore and raised in Howard County, Maryland, Charniece White (she/her) is an economist, curator, pattern maker, and full-package technical designer.
Inspired by the many Black women fashion icons who came before her, Charniece curates and dreams for little Black girls and children who don’t see representations of themselves in fashion on the runway and behind the runway.
Her brands are built on the mentality that it is not about the destination but the journey and experiences you cultivate along the way, how you share that journey and use that journey to leverage and help others after you.
A social justice, civil rights, and women’s rights activist, Charniece lives for being a champion for the underrepresented. A true polymath at heart, she loves thrifting for throwback gems, studying economic trends, and working with data in her spare time.
Get To Know The Cultivate Awards Finalists, In Their Own Words
What inspired you to become a designer?
“What inspired me to become a designer was the lack of clothing available in my size in my adolescence AND the lack of representation of black designers in the apparel industry.
I went to Spelman College and was involved in Fashion Clubs that crossed over with Clark Atlanta, and we threw a lot of ‘fashion shows,’ but I noticed no one was really making their own clothes – a lot of us were pulling from shops and stores and putting beautiful looks together, however, technically, that would be just be considered ‘styling.’ I wanted to go deeper and push for the culture and learn how to start a brand, and that’s what really started my journey.“
Where do you pull inspiration from?
“I really like juxtaposition and nostalgia. I love a good old/new, hard/soft, light/dark moment. I pull inspiration from my mother, aunts, grandmothers, and ancestors. I love to blend that aesthetic with the principles/elements of design that are most prevalent and of the moment, oftentimes in pop culture.”
Are there any designers that inspire you?
Phoebe Philo is by far my favorite designer. She really gets it, IYKYK.
Virgil Abloh, may God rest his soul, is extremely inspirational, and he really pioneered a path for where I want to go.
What do you feel the fashion industry is missing?
I feel the fashion industry is missing more Black people BEHIND the scenes and the humility to give credit where it is due.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic Grunge Bohemian Chic!
I would describe my personal style as moody – How I dress is usually a reflection of how I’m feeling or internalizing whatever is going on in my world. It crosses over in a few lanes, and I’m ok with that.
What do you feel makes your designs stand out from other designers?
My designs stand out from other designers because of the versatility and thoughtfulness behind the pieces. I understand that most women have things to do during the day, so they need to be comfortable, but also want to look fly and express themselves and their personalities through their clothing.
I think my pieces offer people a lot more options to make my pieces their own and wear them wherever and however they want. Day/Night, Work, Date Night, Club – you can truly wear my pieces anywhere, or I at least try to consider that my wearer would want to make good use of their piece.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your brand?
The biggest lesson I have learned since starting my brand is to keep an open lane of communication between my consumer and me. I want my customers to feel heard, and I also want to give them insight from my perspective of all that goes into the brand so we can hold each other accountable and help push the fashion industry forward for the greater good.
We are thrilled to have Charniece White as one of our four finalists
Don’t forget to RSVP to the live event!
Check back in tomorrow to learn about finalist Le’Andra Dove, founder and designer of Lorenza James by Elle Dove!