By Teresa Gugliotta-Kremer
Chelsey Carter is the designer and owner of apparel brand Alex Carter. Chance The Rapper wore her designs on his latest tour and Jamila Woods did the same at the 2016 White House Christmas Party. In June she put out a new outerwear collection “Class Is In Session.” Her work can be found at shopalexcarter.com
You have dressed Chance The Rapper, headlining this year’s Lollapalooza and Jamila Woods, playing Pitchfork. What was it like getting to dress these leaders of the art scene in Chicago?
I am from St. Louis, and with every opportunity I receive to place my work on artists that represent the essence of Chicago, I am humbled and grateful. Jamila and Chance are both great people who have big hearts and are so very talented. It was an absolute honor.
I find a commonality between the three of you. Young black artists doing thoughtful and grounded work; Jamila in her roots as a poet, Chance in his spirituality and political involvement and both in their deep love for Chicago.
We are all creative, passionate and share the same common thread of integrity. Being compared to them is surreal. Most people, I’d say especially creatives, are unable to view themselves the way everyone else does. I view them both as heroes. I can’t say that I would place myself there also.
What’s it like being known as a Chicago artist when you’re from St. Louis?
I love my hometown! Love everything there is to love about where I am from. I appreciate Chicago for paving a path for me in my creative journey. It’s cool to be recognized as a Chicago designer. I’ve also worked very hard for that recognition. Chicago being a city that praises and encourages underground art, I feel it was only fair that my talent be seen amongst the other artists that are from this great city.
We got to shoot the “Self Portrait 1932 Rain Jacket” and the “Phil Waist Jacket.” Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind each?
The “Self Portrait 1932 Rain Jacket” was a piece from my previous collection, “Ode to Femininity,” and was directly inspired by the female experience and Frida Kahlo. Every piece is named after one of her paintings. The collection is an ode to everything that women are capable of doing and showing, and with ease. It highlights feminine characteristics and celebrates the idea of being sexy without being provocative.
The “Phil Waist Jacket” is from the current collection that consists of only outerwear and is named for members of my childhood favorite, “Rugrats.” This collection is titled “Class Is In Session” and youthfully illustrates the philosophy behind me feeling as if everything in this world is a learning opportunity. I consider myself a lifetime student. My creative environment has been and I am certain, will always be a classroom setting. I wanted to showcase the importance of being able to smile and have fun with your craft. Knowledge is power and I plan to obtain as much of it as humanly possible.
Model: Karli Simmons
Photographer: Sara Keefe
Makeup Artist: Vicki Valente
Wardrobe Stylist: Teresa Gugliotta-Kremer
Shot at the Garfield Park Conservatory