NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx designer is bringing a lot more grit to the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week.

She fought the coronavirus and then fought to keep her business alive when her clients closed their doors.

As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports. Terese Sydonna isn’t just a clothing name. It’s creations from a girl born in Jamaica, raised in the Bronx from the age of 7, that recreated her entire business after COVID-19 almost knocked her down personally and professionally.

“I ended up in the emergency room,” said Terese Brown, owner of Terese Sydonna. “Clothing stopped selling.  I honestly didn’t know if I could stay in business… the stores canceled orders… I couldn’t even get fabric from Italy.”

Boutiques she sold to across the U.S., Canada, and Jamaica were shuttered, as well as the factory she relied on to produce her lines. She lost thousands of dollars.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“I said to myself, ‘OK, I have a website. Everything needs to go on the website, and I need to figure out how to make this a viable website that people can actually come to and shop,’” Brown said.

Working with a factory on West 36th Street to produce mini collections every three months instead of a year in advance, she started selling directly to her consumers, and opening up to them too on social media as a way to “let them really see what I was going through as a designer and as a small Black owned business owner,” she said.

“So now I can really connect to my clients, I can control the product life cycle more, I can predict more things with weather and current events,” she said.

Brown has expanded to producing masks, which will soon be made at the factory. She’s found that the facility can produce multiples of one item in two weeks and a whole collection in a month. That makes it easier to fulfill the needs of her customers, women 30-50 years old, of all shapes and sizes who want comfort and class.

“I wouldn’t be able to do that if I were in China or if I were in my old factory where it was much larger,” she said.

In true New York fashion, she just finished filming the debut of her newest line in the Port Morris section of the Bronx, partnering with the Miss New York organization. It was photographed by John Ricard and directed by Michael William Paul.  Hair and makeup was done by Nickia Williams Artistry and styling by Jonzu of models Dani Scott, Tiffany Sarn and Francesca D’Alessandro.

She will release it online, the same way she’s now connecting with her customers.

Even though she’s still recouping her losses from the pandemic, she is donating some of her face masks to those in need.

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