Sierra Rena is a creative director and designer whose vibrant, outstanding, and colorful work combines influences from her heritage and culture as well music and fashion. The Silver Spring, Maryland-raised creative recalls her love for sneakers and clothing from a young age. It wasn’t until she got older that she eventually created a brand of her, following in the footsteps of her late uncle. “I felt like it was sort of me taking on his legacy and I turned this into something that came from someone that I admire,” Sierra tells us. SIERRASINVOGUE provides an individual and unique touch to every piece, hand-crafted and customized by the ardent designer herself.
One of the biggest highlights of her career thus far, having Iman Shumpert wearing a custom piece she created and designed. “Even thinking about it right now, I was like this can’t be real,” she emphasizes. It served as confirmation for both Sierra Rena and SIERRASINVOGUE that there are great things in the pipeline for the brand. She continues to revive trends and bold designs into something new that the wearer will confident in, and that’s why we selected her as a designer to watch in 2021.
We had the opportunity to chat with Sierra Rena in regards to the origins of SIERRASINVOGUE, how to support Black-owned businesses, and new projects she’s working on amongst other topics. Check it out below!
Tell me a little bit about your introduction to fashion and the power that it has over people.
I feel like I’ve always been into shoes ever since I came out of the womb. My parents have always been super into shoes. So when it came to fashion in terms of clothes, I feel like I would always focus on the shoe before the fashion. I had this uncle, he had his own fashion line and he was an up-and-coming music artist, but unfortunately, he passed away. I felt like it was sort of me taking on his legacy and I turned this into something that came from someone that I admire. It did its thing so I’m kind of happy of where I am in terms of fashion.
I love your designs and the way you present your craft. What are the most important things to you when it comes to bringing a style or design to life?
I feel like with my brand, going into making those woven pants, I feel like it was already a trend. Although, I never saw people being able to give creativity to the customer and have them be able to pick out the things they want. Even though it wasn’t my original idea, I still try to be unique. Unless its shoes, that’s really the only trend I follow. When it comes to clothes, I would still pick a vintage piece over something trending now. I’m really into buying and creating stuff that if I buy it ten years from now, I can still wear it because it doesn’t go out of style.
You recently had Iman Shumpert wearing your pieces—tell me a bit about what into making that happen and how big of a moment that was for you.
He DM’ed me like “yo, how can I get these pants?” When I first saw it, I literally had to go on his account and make sure it wasn’t a fake account. Even thinking about it right now, I was like this can’t be real. Iman is super super sweet but he was like “yeah, I want to support your brand.” Now, we actually have something in the works with him and I really like his energy. He’s a dad so he’s genuine, super-nice, and maybe we’ll collaborate on something so that’ll be really fun.
When people put on your hand-crafted, customized clothing, how do you want them to feel?
I do plus sizes, all of that; I really think plus-size people are sometimes discouraged when buying things that are fast fashion because sometimes they don’t always fit. I try to make it to where when you wear it, you feel comfortable and confident, and it fits you super well. My goal is to make people be proud of what they’re wearing because I put a lot of time into the pieces I make. I’m also giving the customers the creative gateway to picking their own designs so I love when they come back to me saying this is everything I imagined and more.
The Black dollar is very powerful when it comes to fashion—in what ways do you think that people can help support designers such as yourself considering how non-inclusive the industry can be at times?
I feel like honestly when it comes to supporting small businesses and especially Black-owned businesses, liking a post, sharing a post, trying to boost them is always important. Now, when it comes to supporting Black creatives, it’s a little bit harder because I feel like with all the established brands, it’s super hard to build something without it being stolen. It’s sort of a hard question to answer because I always support small Black-owned businesses, but coming from their perspective, the loyalty between customers is really appreciated.
Reflecting on your journey, has design and style taught you anything about yourself that you had not previously known?
I never realized how good I was with time management, especially when it comes to managing my time on having to take orders and put time to create it. My organization skills and those little things that all business owners must have, I feel like I was able to expand it. When I put in the work on something that I’m really passionate about, I was able to see how strong I was. One thing i love that came out of this brand, is that I was able to give myself a pat on the back because it started from wanting to build the legacy of my uncle. That’s one thing I’m most proud of.
You’ve been trailblazing your own path for a bit now, where do you want take your expertise to next or is there anything you have coming down the pipeline?
I’m still debating on whether I want to do a fourth drop because I am going to be on campus this year. I definitely want to start getting into my own designs and making something from scratch. I want to make really nice hoodies and sweatpants that people wear because I think they’re such a staple in someone’s closet. I want to make stuff that once when you see it, you’re like “oh that’s SIERRASINVOGUE!”
If you enjoyed our interview with Sierra Rena, check out our conversation with Kiana Davis!