Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that Brown-Bernard’s bridal line will not be part of the Victoria’s Secret runway show, although her work is presented by the same production team as the national brand.
From New York From runways to walks down the aisle, fashion designer and Baton Rouge native Oonarissa Brown-Bernard is making her brand known nationwide.
She has designed men’s and women’s clothing for a variety of events, from weddings—including bridal gowns, tuxedos, and bridesmaid dresses—to custom school cheer uniforms through her OonaNicole line. .
Her work has been featured at New York Fashion Week since 2018, as well as New Orleans and Dallas Fashion Weeks. She is currently preparing bridal wear for the Fashion Gallery’s New York Fashion Week show, presenting on the same stage as brands like Victoria’s Secret.
Brown-Bernard earned two degrees from Southern University and graduated from the California-based Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in the early 2000s. But she didn’t begin pursuing a career in the industry until 2011. Brown-Bernard decided it was time to put her degrees to good use when she became a stay-at-home mom to care for her second son, who was struggling to breathe. complications.
“That’s when I really started to hone my craft and invest in my business after having to become a stay-at-home mom to save my child,” Brown-Bernard says.
When it comes to its design process, Brown-Bernard follows a complex process. Above all else, she checks fashion forecasts to keep up with current fashion trends. Brown-Bernard draws inspiration from her favorite designers, such as Valdrin Sahiti and Elie Saab, to sketch out her vision board and decide on her choice of fabrics, colors and patterns. From there, the fashion designer orders fabrics and begins to bring her vision to life.
Each of his creations offers something new rather than following a characteristic aesthetic. While each of her clothing sets are diverse, they all have a “high-end, sophisticated, chic, and sexy” style, says Brown-Bernard.
“(My clothes) have class,” she says. “A little sophistication and a bit old school with a little vintage look, but it has modern tweaks.”
Currently, her OonaNicole brand is a two-person operation, with Brown-Bernard creating the clothes and her husband handling the business side. Brown-Bernard works to build his business. She aims to showcase her work at other fashion weeks, such as Paris and Milan, and continue to present a strong voice for other black designers.
High-end black-owned fashion lines are rare in the industry, she says, due to a lack of funding and support. “It’s a tough journey, but those are my goals and I hope to achieve them.”
Follow Brown-Bernard on Instagram @overandbeyongapparel or find her work on Etsy.
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