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Rising Stars: Meet Dawn Parkins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Parkins.

Hi Dawn, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Born in Brooklyn in the 80s, I was a product of the War on Drugs. In the system, I would learn about the world around me through books. Adopted by a single mother, we learned how to make do. To save money I wore a uniform to my public school, but the summers were my time to shine. Daisy dukes, polka dot sets, faded Jordache jeans, and light-up sneakers — you couldn’t tell me anything.

However, as I grew my wardrobe changed from uniforms to hand-me-downs. After all my years of playing dress-up with Barbie, it was now time to put my creativity to use. I learned how to re-invent, re-vamp, and re-purpose other people’s garments into my own. As I grew through high school I realized that fashion means a lot more than putting items together, it can mean the difference between housing and homelessness.

Throughout my life, I witnessed how people were judged by what they wore, to no fault of their own, and how this seemingly basic thing meant so much to the future of a family. Growing up I not only learned to love fashion but justice as well. My mother was born in the 40s during the Civil Rights Movement and my grandmother was born in 1910 as the first generation born free in this country. I knew Malcolm X, Madame CJ Walker, & Marie Antoinette.

Wanting to help my fellow man prosper I decided to go into Criminal Justice and graduated from North Carolina State University. After 10 years working in a family, criminal, immigration, estates, entertainment, worker’s comp, civil litigation, law firms, courthouses; you name it I did it; I finally left the system.

Focusing on my calling of fashion, I still had the same goal with a slightly different path. This passion ultimately brought me to the Brand Experience Lead at Neiman Marcus. Joining their new Inclusion & Belonging Committee, I was able to introduce The Green Book & Juneteenth to the company.

Creating a book where associates locally and company-wide could share their favorite places to visit while introducing them to its very recent history. In addition, I was published in our company paper for my willingness to educate my fellow employees on not only the history of African Americans but of TX — the home place of Neiman Marcus.

My drive has literally led me all over the country, including Denver, CO. Where I drove cross-country meeting my fellow man state-to-state. I feel the best way to get to know the people around you is to meet them on their grounds, at their homes. While visiting a client in Denver during Pride, I was able to experience the Amphitheatre, the Hot Springs, Downtown & my favorite thing I do everywhere I visit, the Art District.

I always make sure I make a special trip to see a city’s graffiti art as you can find inspiration ANYWHERE and graffiti art is a raw talent that deserves its roses now. I have worked as a personal stylist and fashion blogger (IG: StyleonaPinch) for 10 years now, starting officially with musical artists for their shows and appearances. I have been a back-of-house assistant for Fashion Week, as well as many other fashion shows around the country.

I have also modeled, as I do runway as well. I teach my associates at Neiman Marcus social media training and online presence. Creating unforgettable client experiences through wardrobe consulting, photography, wholesale/merchandising, editorial work, social media blogging, as well as, branding, has won me several awards, recognitions, and publishing for my styles.

Giving a voice to the underrepresented and bridging the gap between the known and unacknowledged is my goal, and is in my core nature. Helping others capture the fundamental, quintessential, essence of the American Dream was always my mission. Piece by piece, pardon by pardon, from Portland to Pasadena and every stop in-between — we’re all in this together!!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No road is smooth when done right. The number one challenge is always getting others to understand your worth. People don’t understand the art form behind wardrobing. Just as they don’t understand the art behind the furniture they purchase or the car they drive.

A big part of my business is getting clients and associates to understand how everything is intertwined. That fragrance evokes a feeling and creates a visual in your mind, thus creating an idea of what that fragrance would look like as a garment or wardrobe. Everything creates a story you just have to understand the plot.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My business is called StyleonaPinch where you can find fashion for your budget and on your time. Last minute meeting, I have you covered. Trying to stay within a budget, I have you covered. Invited to an event and don’t know what to wear, I have you covered. I specialize in making your life less complicated. I am a stylist who dances to the muse in your soul!! But, it doesn’t stop there, StyleonaPinch is community-based.

Its goal is to be able to provide clothing to those in need. Many of us have, or know someone who has, started a job but is already behind on bills by the time they get their first check (because let’s be honest they were behind at the interview), they can’t afford to work close to they need working lights. At StyleonaPinch we aim to provide a month’s worth of working clothes, with wardrobing and styling tips to show the client how to make the most out of their closets.

As I mentioned previously, what you look like to others can be the difference between being passed over or promoted. Unfortunately many minorities, or the lower class, do not have the proper clothes for the lives they want, only for the lives they live. That is where we come in, to provide those in need with interview clothes, as well as items to get them stable.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I am a tomboy at heart, I just dress girly. I like to play and watch football. I don’t mind getting down and dirty with the boys — this is why I don’t even bother getting my nails done lol.

Pricing:

  • $250/quarter: Wardrobe Consulting (includes any clothing & accessories)
  • $100: Initial Consultation (Includes measurements)
  • $750/quarter: Wardrobing Consulting (LUXURY – includes clothing & accessories)
  • $350-$500: Event/Photoshoot Styling (depend on notice, includes clothes & accessories)
  • $1000 – $1500: Event/Photoshoot Styling (LUXURY – includes clothing & accessories)

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bryan Lindsay (@shotbylindsay)

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