As creatives, we sometimes give up on pursuing our passions for lack of encouragement from family, friends, and even doubt of ourselves. We give up on our dream jobs in pursuit of “real” work, which can leave us feeling unfulfilled and empty. A strong support system can give us the boost we need when attempting to walk the road less traveled. That was the catalyst that Charlene Costor, who was already driven to begin with, needed to keep going to accomplish her goals.
Costor, a Bronx bred Fashion Designer and Illustrator, has worked with companies such as DKNY and Levi's Girls Global in the past. Currently, she designs accessories for the Jordan and Nike brands. She identified her ability to draw at an early age and began taking art seriously during her teenage years. “It was a hobby for me but I started thinking maybe I could be really good at this. I was at the Jane Addams High School studying hospitality and I wasn’t really serious about it. I applied to the High School of Art & Design in the city and they accepted me right away. I started learning the basics of art,” shares Costor. “I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents! My mother knew I liked art and encouraged me to do it. She even helped me do the paperwork.”
After high school, she turned her gaze toward fashion. “I had a certain kind of feeling every time I drew clothes, I loved it! I felt really good about it, I felt strong.” Costor’s art teacher, who also recognized her knack for fashion, encouraged her to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology. “She really pushed me. Having that positivity in your life it makes you feel like you can do anything.”
“People naturally like to help others, I would love to meet more people from The Bronx pursuing fashion. If I know you’re really serious about it, I’ll definitely tell you what I know and share different opportunities with you,” Costor says. “I think maybe there aren’t a lot of people from the Bronx pursuing fashion because it’s not very common. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with like minded individuals.”
She also offered a tip for those interested in pursuing a similar career, “you might feel [stunted creatively] sometimes when working for a company but I think it's good to work for a company that is comparable to your style/personality and you won't feel that way.”
In the future, Costor aims to start her own company, “I still have a lot of learning to do... when you work for a company, you gain all of this experience. But the thing that separates you having a business from not having a business is the money. Fashion is expensive, you need people to help you, you can’t do it all by yourself. But I want to get in the business of affordable clothes after seeing how affordable clothes is changing the market. I would go in that direction. I think everyone should be able to afford to look good.”
Charlene’s work can be seen at www.charlenecostor.com