Atlanta-based designer, stylist and retail entrepreneur, Adrene Ashford switches more hats in one day than Sarah Jessica Parker changes outfits in a Sex and the City episode. During the last eleven years, the California-cum-Atlanta girl has opened two boutiques, Pieces of Adrene, now House of Adrene while working as a wardrobe consultant for countless celebrities, ad campaigns, commercials, TV and runway shows. Eager to support others, Ashford often uses her platforms to showcase upcoming designers through organizing some of the hottest fashion shows in Atlanta, and Parlour’s got the pictures to prove it.
Ashford’s extensive list of accomplishments were born out of hard labor and her love for fashion and she chatted with Parlour about her life’s lessons.
Parlour: How did you begin in fashion?
Adrene Ashford: After graduating Clark Atlanta University, I told my mom I had no savings, and she was really disappointed. She said, ‘You sell every single thing you bought with that student refund check and those credit cards that you shouldn’t have, then I’ll see about having this conversation with you about moving home.’
That summer I had fashion parties at my apartment, I’d make cool drinks called Pink Panties and have a whole theme going. At the end of the summer I’d sold clothes I had worn and things that still had tags. Amazingly enough, I had a few stacks to go back to school. I deferred my first year of law school and continued my fashion journey while working at Jones Day law firm as a paralegal. The second year after undergrad, I counted my money and knew I could afford law school but didn’t know if I really wanted to go. I had a clientele for my fashion business.
I deferred my second year of law school, met a designer, struck a deal with him, rented a loft, bought him out one year later and started Pieces of Adrene, my first store in East Atlanta. Selling confidence and style while helping people feel good about themselves was so addictive I found myself on photo shoots and video sets, doing free labor. I was styling clients and holding down my retail store, I can’t even tell you how blessed I am to be living my dream.
What has been the biggest challenge on your journey?
As an entrepreneur, you own, feel and are responsible for everything and you can lose everything if you’re not careful. The toughest part is being away from my entire family in California.
Are all of the pieces at House of Adrene designed by you or are other designers included as well?
House of Adrene is ‘house’ because we’re showcasing multiple designers; your big wigs, from Robin’s to True’s and your indies like Rehab to C Trice. The Mychael Knight line was here before Michael Knight joined Project Runway. I have a soft spot for independent designers.
What advice do you have for Parlour readers who’d like a career in fashion or retail?
It is not a waste of time to invest yourself, put time into something you’re slightly curious about. Keep your fire lit. Whether you walk away from it happy, sad, or indifferent, you know what it is, and you can move on to greater things.
House of Adrene
264 Peters St, Atlanta, GA 30313