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The Artist Behind the Threads. The Heart Behind Her Fashion. Forever, dreaming in Color, Shari Henry

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Fashion Designer, Shari Henry is an innovative fashion designer, celebrated for her unique style and creative vision that transcends traditional boundaries. Graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she overcame academic challenges to unveil her self-titled brand, "Shari Henry," during New York Fashion Week in 2018. Beyond the runway, Shari's journey took an unexpected turn, landing her as the personal assistant and stylist to the iconic Cicely Tyson, showcasing her versatility in the world of fashion and entertainment.
Shari Henry

Photo by Marvin Joseph, Photographer for The Washington Post

Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the confines of your dreams? It’s a question I asked myself from the earliest moments of my life. My name is Shari, and I once harbored dreams as vast as the sky itself. As a little girl, I aspired to become something great in life, but that dream developed deeper as I discovered my love for art.

When I graduated from high school, I set my sights on the world of fashion and embarked on an exciting adventure at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the heart of New York City. It was there that my dreams began to take shape.

During my college days, I faced my share of storms. I struggled academically, and one of my professors even advised me to quit. But I refused to surrender to those tempests. It’s okay to make mistakes and face hardships, for they can be the stepping stones to greatness. Have you considered that mistakes might just be detours, not dead ends?


Perfecting the Art of Style: Balancing Books and Runways

Imagine: a college student with big dreams, a loaded course schedule, all while working with design firms that gave lots of industry experience. That was my life at FIT. I had the opportunity to learn from my internships, working with companies like Whitlow and Hawkins, Waitex, and Kahn Lucas. They were designers that distributed to retail giants like Nordstrom and Macy's. It was a whirlwind adventure that taught me the ropes of the industry while pursuing my degree.

The Birth of a Brand: Magic Unleashed

Fast forward to the fall of 2018, during the glamorous New York Fashion Week. I took a deep breath and unveiled my self-titled brand, "Shari Henry."

The runway was my canvas.

I painted with my unique style and technique that I mastered over the years.

The world was introduced to my artistic vision, and the response was nothing short of exhilarating.

From Runway to Red Carpets: Lights, Camera, Action!

In a twist of fate, my path led me to work with the legendary actress, Cicely Tyson. I became her personal assistant and stylist, both on and off set. The film industry had never been on my radar, but life had a delightful surprise in store.

I found myself on the sets of Tyler Perry's "A Fall From Grace," ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder," and Ava DuVernay’s "Cherish The Day." Not to mention, I made a memorable guest appearance alongside Miss Tyson on the hit CBS series "Madame Secretary," all while donning one of my own original creations.

Fashion with Heart: More Than Just Style

Life in the world of fashion was never just about clothes and runways for me. I channelled my passion into making a difference. Through speaking engagements, I gave back to non-profits, sharing my story and inspiring others to follow their own dreams. I crafted handmade PPE and shared food with underprivileged youth during the challenging days of the pandemic. I even co-authored a guide to inspire and empower fellow mom entrepreneurs. Fashion was my canvas, and compassion was my paint.

Little Dreamers: Eco-Friendly for Kids

My daughters inspired me to create a kid's clothing line called "PLAY by SHB." We took a sustainable and American-made approach, making stylish and eco-conscious pieces for little ones.

The first collection was featured in Milk Kids Magazine for the 2021 Autumn/ Winter edition. Play hit the market in July 2021, just in time for back-to-school shopping. It included essentials like leggings made from sustainable fabric, complete with extendable hems and knee patches. But it wasn't just about clothing; it was an educational journey, teaching consumers about fashion's impact on our environment.

Creative Genes Run Deep: In My Blood

The rich tapestry of creativity woven throughout my family's history has undeniably shaped who I am today. My grandmother, a talented 1950s seamstress in the heart of New York City, instilled in me the value of precision and dedication. My grandfather's tailoring skills and my great aunt's legendary status in the entertainment world inspired me to embrace artistry and storytelling.

Then there was my aunt, a graduate of FIT’s pattern-making degree program, whose craftsmanship was a testament to the beauty of design. But it didn't stop there. It began with my parents, true sewing virtuosos, ignited my passion for creation from an early age. Who in your life has ignited the sparks of inspiration that guide the journey in your heart?

Rebirth: A Season of Dreams and Imagination

As I prepare to launch my Spring/Summer 2024 collection, I'm embracing the theme of rebirth with a burst of imagination. This collection isn't just about clothes; it's a personal testament of faith and growth. Just like natural world experiences and changes that shape its beauty, I've weathered my storms and cherished my rainbows.

Today, my message is simple: keep moving forward, no matter the odds.


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