I’m a hustler…I’mma I’mma hustler
Courtney Noelle is my kind of girl: creative, confident, and incredibly smart. She’s the type who can flip it from sweatpants and Iversons to pearls and pleats in five minutes flat. Before Courtney started designing luxury clothing for women who are curvy AF, she was busy designing the life that she wanted for herself. She always knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur so she’s been hustling since she was a kid. Growing up in the Bronx, she started out by making and selling mix-tapes to her friends for extra cash. After graduating from high school, Courtney took her hustle to Williams College. Now if you know what’s up, you know that Williams is a prestigious institution that is consistently ranked as the #1 liberal arts college in the country.
Make It Werk!
When we spoke, Courtney recounted a story that illustrates her determination to design her life. When she started college she decided to be a theater major, not because she wanted to be an actress, but because she wanted to take the Costume Design Class. After taking the required courses of Acting I and Acting II during her freshman year, Courtney returned to campus sophomore year to learn that the Costume Design class was discontinued. She was heartbroken. Sometimes life gives us material that’s difficult to work with, but if you’re a real one, you “make it werk.”
Courtney changed her major and graduated with a double major in History and Women Gender & Sexuality Studies with a Concentration in African American Studies. She initially tried the traditional route, interviewing for corporate jobs in money management, but deep down she knew it was a costume that she didn’t fit. Eventually, Courtney took a job as an assistant to a fashion designer. She used the opportunity to learn the business and observe the creative process up close. In time, she learned how to sew by watching seamstresses work.
The Design of Destiny
Courtney made her first original design for a friend who needed a dress for a photo shoot. She posted the dress on Instagram and the rest is history. Orders rolled in from girls looking for clothing that accentuated their curves. When we persistently pursue our dreams, they have a way of coming true. Courtney caught the eye of the mainstream media when she used only Black models to showcase her first official collection. Since then she’s been featured on Good Morning America, in Cosmo, on The Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC and more. Courtney started out taking orders on IG via Direct Message, but in the Fall of 2017 her designs were featured in Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street in NYC. That’s what happens when you design your own destiny.
Elements of Style
Courtney describes her design aesthetic as “sophistication mixed with spunk.” I asked her who is her muse and she said that while she designs for all women,
“Black women are my muse. They are the center of who I’m thinking about when I’m designing because every boss ass woman in my life has been a Black woman.”
“If I was to come back in the next life as a shoe, I would be a Sophia Webster shoe and I would be happy!”
The Future of Courtney Noelle Fashion
Going forward, Courtney plans to add outerwear, street wear, and work wear to her collection of specialty gowns and dresses. When I asked her who she would love to design for if she had total Kontrol, I expected her to say she’d like to design a dress for Beyoncé or Rihanna. I was close, but I wasn’t thinking big enough. She’d actually love to design for an entire Beyoncé Tour (not just one dress). She fully admits to being a nerd who loves all things pertaining to space, so she’d also love to design costumes for a Sci-Fi flick.
Courtney Noelle exudes the spirit of #HuslteAndGlow. She’s a young woman who started designing the vision for her life way before she designed her first dress. You can learn more about her and check out her holiday collection at shopcourtneynoelle.com and follow her on IG and twitter @courtneynoelleinc.
Written By Nicci Page (Writer|Speaker|Lawyer|Creative)
Follow Me @realglowandflow