You’ll rarely meet anyone as eclectic as Carmen Webber. Her in-depth passion for fashion, fine and performing arts, current affairs and education in completely unshakable. Fashion has been Carmen’s life as early as six years old with her fisher price sewing machine.
At age 14 she was offered an opportunity to launch a line of t-shirts for Belks department stores with illustrated monkey characters that she developed. Due to lack of funds to launch the collection she and her mother chose to focus on school and dance training instead.
By the age of 16, Carmen was modeling and doing trunk shows for Alexander Julian, DKNY, Anne Klein and Naomi Simms’ first cosmetic line launch. Her participation in the fashion-merchandising department of the Decca Club( a regional vocation club) also nurtured her fashion career at a young age.
In 1989 Carmen began her studies in Architecture at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). As strong as her love was for architecture, she loved fashion more. She graduated in 1993 with a B.F.A Cum Laude with honors as “Top Fashion Designer “ of her class within fashion design and a minor in Illustration. In Carmen’s senior year she rounded out her education with a scholarship for SCAD’s off-campus programs in Paris and Italy. After graduating Carmen landed in Paris enjoying brilliant experiences in the fashion world such as interning for Christophe Lemaire, one of the collaborating designers for Lacoste today. He studied under Christian Lacroix. She also worked at one of Paco Rabonne’s first ready-to-wear boutiques in Paris; learning from Paco’s hands-on approach and exposure to his private studios .
Inspired by these experiences with fashion pioneers, Carmen designed and showcased her first ready-to-wear collection at the La Couple Jazz Club in Paris in 1996. She then launched a handbag line that was very popular with stylish Parisians and British fashionistas. Her frequent trips to Holland, Germany, Italy and Sweden also nurtured her passion for fashion.
After four years in Paris, Carmen returned to the United States and Harlem became her home. Her paternal grandmother lived in Harlem for many years and her maternal grand mother shopped in New York for all of the latest fashions. Carmen was intrigued by all of the New York tales about Harlem from her grand mothers. So naturally Harlem became her New York stumping ground.
She launched the Sistahs of Harlem clothing line (also known as SOH) in the summer of 2001, starting in humble street fairs selling handbags and deconstructed t-shirts. The vibrant designs and unusual materials of SOH gained immediate notice from eclectic fashionista New Yorkers, fashion editors, stylist, photographers and the art world alike. Iman the fashion icon model even mentored SOH in the first year.
Never one to slow down, Carmen was involved in other significant projects while running Sistahs of Harlem. Most notably, she has done custom designing for Ntozake Shange (famous play wright of “Colored Girls Who have Considered suicide when the rainbow is enough” amongst many other profounds works of literature) Erykah Badu (singer actress), Alicia Keys( singer/ actress), Quest Love the drummer from “THE ROOTS” and N’Dea Davenport lead singer of the Brand New Heavies just to name a few.
She was also the line builder for Fortune Footwear, a private label footwear company working with Office, Schuh and Kirk Gieger out of Europe and Urban Outfitters and Steven (a division of Steve Madden) in the U.S.
Carmen has been a guest on the MARTAH STEWART SHOW which aired twice due to popularity. She was guest stylist on several episodes of the”Look For Less Show.” She has appeared as a guest fashion designer/consultant on VH1’s “Can’t Get A Date” episode and on the B. Smith Show.Carmen was a contestant on”Project Runway”season 4.
She has written, designed and illustrated books:
T-Shirt Makeovers: 20 Transformations for Fabulous Fashion, (Glitterati INC. NY)
Denim Mania: 25 Ways to Transform Your Jeans (Saint Martin’s Press New York)
Chic Sweats: 22 Ways to Transform and Restyle your Sweatshirts. (Saint Martin’s Press New York)
All books are available at Amazon.com & Barnes & Nobles nationwide
Carmen shares her fashion expertise on a consistent basis, she created and taught a curriculum for a fashion business course at SVA (School of Visual Arts)New York jointly with another designer and has lectured at (AI) Art Institute New York. She currently is the consultant for Bowie State University with their launch for a new fashion department.
Carmen’s mottos are “the sky is the limit” and “onward and upward always” Carmen truly believes in living out loud.