Fashion Flashback: Zelda Wynn Valdes

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Zelda Wynn Valdes was the first black designer and costumer to open up her own shop, “Chez Zelda”.  She was also the first black-owned business on Broadway Street in 1948.  Broadway street is one of the most popular streets in Manhattan. This street was the home of hundreds of business owners and it was a pretty big deal for a black woman to own one of those stores in the 40’s.

Zelda started out working in her uncle’s tailoring shop in New York and she also worked as a stock girl at a high-end boutique.  She worked her way up to selling and making alterations. This is a prime example of how hard work and consistency can make your dreams come true.

As time went on Zelda’s name ran rapid among Hollywood. She made dresses for several black entertainers. Dorothy Dandridge, Jessye Norman, Gladys Night, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and many more. She was even responsible for creating the first ever Playboy Bunny costume in the 1950’s. She was also asked to design costumes for the Dance Theater of Harlem. She eventually would design costumes for eighty-two productions. Zelda ended up closing up shop in 1989, but still worked until her death in 2001. She had a God Given talent of making women look good.

I am a 25 year old from 219, Indiana. I love shopping for pieces that are different and that I know nobody else will have! But one thing I hate about shopping is going broke doing so. Throughout the years of me working in retail, I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks for saving LOTS of money when shopping. I also go against trends by Vintage shopping. I find pieces that I can pair together to create works of art. You can call me a penny pincher, but I'll look BOMB while pinching my pennies :)

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