Sheila Gray Collection’s Springing Tees at SAKS

Words + Interview | Chaunielle BROWN

Photography | Tania Anthony + Philippe Rohdewald + Tony Ware 

With a bit of that Emily in Paris feel, that fashion illustration whimsical romance that begs and dares you to dream, Sheila Gray coats every woman with breathtaking self-worth and self-love. Something we all need a bit more of in these recent climactic rollercoasters we are living in. These fresh and light universal tees are now up for grabs both online at SAKS OFF 5TH and in store. There is a tee for every ‘tea’ and every personality.

Angela Bassett in Sheila Gray Collection

Tell us a little bit about this collection. 
The Sheila Gray Collection (SGC) is about promoting a positive relationship between the wearer/user and the skin they’re in, since when we feel good about ourselves, we project a positivity that attracts positivity, which in turn builds on itself and amplifies goodness in the world. I would like for the wearer or user of my products to see in each of them a reflection of their best self. I am a staunch believer of self-love and self-worth being essential to fostering a love and value for humanity that is so often lacking in modern culture. The majority of the shirts promote positive messaging through images of Inclusion.  Finding the God given beauty within us all. To me the collection also taps into the feeling of your personal doll that you wear with pride and brings out the inner and outer beauty we all have in us. I also used recycled fabrics from companies to make the clothing and be in the sustainable range. Not that all the fabrics are sustainable but to save waste on the planet.

What was your inspiration behind the shirts?

My inspiration for the shirts came actually from the pandemic. I wanted to bring hope and encouragement to others, that is so desperately needed now. I posted them on Instagram and they were so overwhelmingly received that people started asking if they could purchase them. That brought about the collection. Then I saw the bigger and continual picture of promoting positive messaging through images of inclusion and style. So, my inspiration continues to be creating an environment of loving oneself and the skin you’re in. Loving your fashion sense and every faucet of you.

Where are you from and does your background Influence your designs?

I am from Culpepper, Virginia. It is a small town and really thinking about itsomewhat I guess it does.  I stood out there for wanting to be a designerand always creating looks that were different. Yet the love part in me for others and wanting them to feel good about themselves. That is just want God put in my heart from a child on up.

When did you begin designing?

I began designing at the age of about 15 years old.  If I think about it, I think it really started with my Barbie’s even before that, like 7 or 8.

You’re an active collaborator. Who are some of your current and past collaborations?

I have currently done a small capsule of T-shirts with a great organization, The Black Design Collective, for Saks Off 5th. They were released April 19 and are quickly selling out online. I have also been blessed to collaborate with Lisa Mcfadden of Lisa Mcfadden Millinery doing T-shirts and totes with her hats and my images on them. As well as collaborating with In Earnest by Byron Lars on some styling of others.  A company that I am also Co-Founder of. I also did a shirt for the charity Girls for a Change and Bullied 2 beautiful, an organization thatpromotes the stopping of cyber bullying. And I would truly love to do more collaborations with Nike, Rihanna, Mattel, American Girl or Naturally Perfect and more.  

Fashion Stylist | Dennis Kenney

What are you looking forward to this spring?

I am looking forward to expanding the brand and getting the message out there more. As I also do accessories and I am even working on my script. Getting more store and celebrity exposure and exposure of the brand. Reaching out more to connect women and raising the love and respect and self love of our younger generation.

What do you feel are the most pressing of matters during this time? Which call to your heart and soul?

The most pressing matters to me right now is the state of the world and especially our future generations. There is so much they have to deal with and I believe they need a strong source of self love and loving of others. That really calls to my heart and soul.

What and who is your constant?  My constant for me is God and my Faith that fuels everything for me. And through that spreading love and kindness and encouragement and excellence to all I do and to others.

What is your FAULT?
I am not sure I got this right but what I would like to be my fault is a spread through actions and wearing the tees of Love, self love that brings confidence and kindness, generosity and care of others.