How To Be A Fashion Designer & Business Owner: Meet Bella Chantelle

Current City & Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Hi Chantelle! Welcome to The Boss Diary! So glad you’re here. Tell me all about your fashion business, Bella Chantelle.

Since I was little I always had an interest in fashion. Watching my mom and my grandmom put together outfits sparked my passion for it. Their outfits were bold, colorful and feminine and I knew one day I wanted to create designs just like those. I took my first sewing class at 13 where I learned how to design and construct a tote bag. Thats where I fell in love with the sewing machine. From there I went on to take more sewing classes in my community and a sewing course for high school students at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. After graduating high school I went on to major in Fashion Design at Philadelphia University. During my sophomore year in college I created my custom fashion design business, Bella Chantelle. “Bella” means beautiful in Spanish and is the name I go by in the fashion industry. “Chantelle” is my middle name. Bella Chantelle is an all inclusive brand that caters to fashion forward women ranging from a size XS-5X. At Bella Chantelle we do not divide women based on size. Plus size does not exist. Instead we believe that when women unite they can achieve anything they want in life. No matter the size we believe that when you wear Bella Chantelle you are BOLD, a BOSS and most importantly BELLA.

How would you describe the fashion scene in Philadelphia? Furthermore, how do you decide which designs and styles to distribute to your consumers?

.Although fashion shows and photoshoots can be pretty crazy, I love doing them! All fashion shows begin way before the audience arrives. You have to do fittings with models to make sure your designs fit properly and that the model represents your vision. You also have to decide on hair and makeup, do walk throughs and a plethora of other things. Most times I have to arrive 3 or more hours before the actual show begins. Photoshoots are a bit less intense, but just as important. You work with the photographer, model, hair stylish and makeup artist more closely to create the perfect representation for your brand. They are so much fun and it’s a great opportunity to connect with other artists in the industry. Most of my days involve designing and sewing new designs. When I’m not doing that I’m usually fabric shopping for my next design, meeting with clients or working on content for my social media accounts as most of my business comes from Instagram and Facebook. I feel like fashion in Philly can be divided into 2 categories; you have those who follow the trends and then you have those who set the trends. As a custom fashion designer I set trends. I don’t follow what’s popular at the moment because I want my clients to stand out and make bold fashion statements. I’m often inspired by colors, fabrics and nature which I translate into my designs though silhouettes, textures and fabric choice. 

Everyone has a purpose, and it’s so refreshing to find women who are truly living their best life through their passions. How would you define your own purpose? 

 My purpose in life is to make women of all sizes feel like royalty when they wear my designs. I want women to feel like they can take on the world when they wear Bella Chantelle because THEY ABSOLUTELY CAN! All women are queens and QUEENS WEAR BELLA CHANTELLE. 

Who are some of your favorite female creatives or business women that you look up to?

Business women who inspire me are fashion designer Jai Nice (@jai_nice), beauty influencer Anaya Ivy (@theanayal8ter) and Lauren Wilson (@iamlaurenlyrics). I don’t know these women personally but every day they inspire me to be the best version of myself. 

Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you.

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I don’t know how to whistle lol.

Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know.

One thing my hometown is known for that most people may not know about are the beautiful murals we have in various neighborhoods.

What would the “18-year old you,” say to you today?

18-year-old me would say to me today “I told you you were going to be okay.” A lot of times as teenagers we think our problems will last forever and that’s far from the truth. With God, faith, confidence and perseverance you can get through anything!

Before you go, what is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who want to start their own Fashion business?

One piece of advice I would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to not let others deter you from achieving your dreams. I remember I had a professor in college who told me that I should change my major because I wasn’t cut out for fashion. I admit for a minute I was crushed. I started second guessing my talent but then I reminded myself of how far I had came and how much further I could go. I used her negative comments as motivation, passed her class and created Bella Chantelle. 

This or That:

  • Thin crust or deep dish: Definitely deep dish
  • Lipstick or chapstick:Lipstick preferably mauve
  • Tea or coffee: Tea with lemon and honey
  • Romance movie or horror film: Horror especially if it involves zombies
  • J Lo or Shakira: Neither, Beyonce all the way
  • Instagram or Facebook: Instagram
  • Girls Night Out or Netflix: Netflix with my husband and our dog, Dior

Quick 5:

  1. Where is your next vacation?
  2. What is your favorite 90’s jam?
  3. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? 
  4. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
  5. What are three things on your bucket list?

Instagram: @iambellachantelle @_bellachantelle 


Youtube: Bella Chantelle