According to Abaconian entrepreneurs, Dakotah Delancy and Leanne Russell, their Soberlee fashion line which focuses on unisex T-shirts emerged from a mixture of fine art and fashion, an avant-garde eye for style, and the precision of makeup artistry.
Soberlee is derived from a combination of their children’s names.
“[With] both of us being single mothers, and understanding what it is to find a balance in our lives while raising children, it was really important that we incorporated them into this project somehow,” Dakotah explained.
Leanne is ranked highly among Abaco’s next generation of fine artists, and is the manager of Furniture Plus Abaco, while Dakotah, owner of Dishy Boutique, is a makeup artist known for her eclectic style.
Leanne said that the idea for Soberlee was founded on their mutual love of fashion, and wanting to work together on a project.
“Considering our combined skill sets, it just seemed that having a fashion line was imminent,” Leanne stated.
The two dared to combine their talents and design T-shirts that reflected their own personal style, and they combined creative talent from their respective networks to give birth to their vision.
Six months in the making, Soberlee is leaving an indelible footprint in the fashion industry.
Their initial collection is about typography, interesting imagery, and style icons, but being surrounded by creative people motivated each designer to bring an even more unique element to their designs.
Much credit is given to Zyandric Jones, Senetra Kouvaris and Kevin Fox, who took Leanne and Dakotah’s diverse mixture of ideas, and brought them to life in a collection of 20 graphic tees. The authenticity of the fashion line is reflected in their goal of building a strong brand while remaining true to themselves.
Dakotah summed it up by saying, “It’s ok to be unique and express yourself. We happen to express ourselves through our shirts with the hopes that others can relate. This is what makes Soberlee special – our brand is a reflection of who we are.”
The launch of their collection was a unique evening pop-up shop at Conky Joe’s Seafood Restaurant on October 11. The event offered a preview of 10 T-shirts and accent pieces along with swimsuits from Allure Swimsuit Boutique, which is based in Nassau. Featured models showcased Soberlee and Allure swimsuits in an intimate runway setting.
Since the launch, the Soberlee designers have received encouraging feedback from Bahamian customers and international customers in New York and St. Kitts who support their existing collection, and are ordering custom T-shirts for themselves and their businesses.
Leanne and Dakotah recently attended Fash|Art in Nassau, and were overwhelmed by the positive feedback they received from their peers in the art and fashion industry. Soberlee has allowed them to promote Abaco, and Abaconians, in a way that isn’t being done.
“I had the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing girls earlier this year with The Layers Project, and Dakotah gets to work with amazing talent on photo shoots all the time. It was important to us to involve them in Soberlee as well,” Leanne shared. “I think it’s vital that young Abaconians be trailblazers and promote Abaco talent internally. It’s sad that people feel like you have to go off the island to ‘make things happen’ – you don’t… start from the ground up. We strongly believe in creating opportunities where there are none.”
As for the future of the line, the two are planning pop-up shops in both Nassau and Grand Bahama, with an official Nassau launch later this year. T-shirts are currently available at Dishy in Abaco, and for special order through “The Soberlee Life” on Facebook.
The charismatic duo concluded: “It’s very important to stay true to yourself and find people who support and encourage you, and help you cultivate your own individuality. Build a network and find people that challenge you; we do that with each other. There are a lot of compliments, and then there are a lot of opposites that balance our friendship out.
“That’s what makes Soberlee work.”