Meet plus size designer Sante Grace.
Tracy Christian arrives on the red carpet draped in a brand of trust that could only be elevated at the intersection of Broad and Market frequently as an agent. But before she shined in the south of France, Christian was a child from Newark who watched her mother get ready for work.
“My mom was working for the government and you know it was in the 70s and I remember putting on her little Halston wrap dress and her afro wig,” she said. Elegant curves. “Nobody does this like Brick City.”
In the shadow of Manhattan, his mother and friends are equipped to take the island by storm. They donned their most beautiful sons to try their luck with Studio 54’s savvy doorman, while a young Tracy stood in front of their glamor.
When she arrived in Hollywood, the elegance of their day stuck with her. She made sure to represent herself in the eyes of the public as well as her famous clients. “I’ve seen clients win and be nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes or whatever and they go to some pretty fabulous parties. And what unites us all, whether you’re a size two or a size twenty-two, is what am I wearing? If you are size two, this is an easier question to answer.
Christian’s response was to opt for a tailored outfit. “I had a seamstress and I always designed my own wardrobe,” she said. Growing up outside of the Hollywood “in the projects” bubble, she realized that this was not an option for everyone. she wanted to offer plus size women the same glamor she had access to, but the demands of her high-profile career continued to put the project on hold.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I should just do a clothing line!’ But you know, life steps in. And I tried, I don’t know how many times I’ve never gone beyond buying a domain, ”she admitted. A worldwide stop spared her the time to bring in the rich color palette and timeless silhouettes she saw her mother slip into before heading into town to her fellow plus-size consumers. She started the journey after perfecting her home-based job. “The pandemic struck and I was working from my dining room,” she said. “I really believe it was God. I was lying in my bed and something so loud was said, start your line. And I did it the next day.
After a life of experiencing “locker room problems,” Tracy Christian founded Sante Grace to provide curvy women with quality options. “When you go shopping, you almost have to be ready to defend yourself, to defend your existence. And it’s over for me, ”she said.
Entering Holy Grace
The line offers luxury fabrics in shades of khaki, jade and orchid. The loose fit and natural lines represent a commitment to comfort present in the founder’s personal style. The satin sheaths drape the body in the same stylish folds as the dresses she would watch enveloping her mother’s body.
Featured in ESSENCE, ELLE and Bazaar, the line’s burgundy caftans, soft ruffle skins and emerald joggers can easily go from a poolside press conference to a virtual PTA meeting to cocktails on your own. back porch. It is designed to make every moment special and fill the wearer with unwavering swagger. “We all have an outfit that we put on and no one can tell you anything about yourself. You look at yourself in the mirror and you know, you look good, ”Christian said. “There is a confidence that emerges. ”
Sante Grace also offers wearable jewelry that can fit any size. “Our business is good. It’s incredibly well done, ”she said. “You’ll find yourself shopping for groceries in silk cashmere.” OK? And you deserve it after a lifetime of wearing polyester.
Christian dared to challenge the strict guidelines of red carpet fashion before athleisure was mainstream. Her idea of luxury was slightly different from her mother’s day. Despite some movie’s outdated rules requiring women to wear high heels, she rocked sneakers with her cocktail dresses.
“It was important for me to look what I wanted her to be. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone. I was trying to be comfortable and to be authentically Tracy, ”she said.
Christian felt it was important that Sante Grace reflect its core values by prioritizing sustainability efforts. “I think it comes down to the way we all live and my culture. I mean, black people have been practicing sustainability forever, ”she said. She referred to the inexhaustible supply of plastic bags under the sink and how grape pots become water glasses in black households.
“I’m a Christian and part of how I interpret this in my business is that I truly believe that we are called to be good stewards, good stewards of the staff that we have of all resources, money. , all of this. And so one thing we do, we make sure that all of our workers receive a living wage, ”she said.
“I don’t think people should be working 60 hours a week without being able to feed and dress themselves. It’s a crime and generally the people who are on the manufacturing side are blacks and browns, ”she continued. “So I’m happy to do a little less to know that these people can have, you know, any reasonable standard of living.” I’ll never do that to someone who looks like me.
She believes in representation on the design side and her team is made up of women who reflect the consumer. “We are designing a plus size line by plus size women. In fact, we wear these clothes. We know what works well and what does not.
Christian’s approach to inclusiveness reflects the resilience of the body positivity movement, which has found a way to raise the ante when the fashion industry has failed to include them. Christian is no stranger to thriving in the shadows, she plans to rise through the fashion ladder the same way she did in entertainment.
“You see something shiny and you don’t understand that it’s a fine diamond, great. I’m still a diamond. I’ll find ways to polish myself.
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