FABUtainment had the opportunity to interview the creator of “Empress”, fashion designer Essence Tunley.  In her own words, she explains how she began her career in the fashion industry…………..
Empress: n. the female ruler of an empire.
ET:  The name for the clothing company came to fruition in 2015. I first learned to sew at the age of 12, starting with turning satin bed sheets in to nightgowns and old t-shirts into pillow cases.  I have not stopped since then.  Empress apparel is designed with voluptuous women in mind.   The fashion line caters to plus-size women, because we have a harder time finding garments that make us feel sensual.  Every woman of any size can still be “Empress-fied”.  From pillow cases to evening gowns, customizing is my specialty.  As you view the “E-look Book”, tap into your inner Empress, find styles that you love, if need be, alter them in your mind, then contact me so I can make your dream look come true.  As always sharing is caring…


FABUtainment:  Who or what inspired you to become a clothing designer?  
ET:  My 6th grade teacher Mrs. Marion Weaver taught me how to sew, but my fascination with fashion came from the fact that, at the time, there were not a lot of “cute clothes” for larger women.  Everything, at the time, was shapeless and made with cheap fabrics.  I wanted to change that image of “plus-sized” apparel.
FABUtainment:  When did you decide to become a fashion designer? 
ET:  My senior year of high school I made my dress, as well as my friends dresses. We arrived at the prom, it was all eyes on us.  No one knew I possessed such a talent so everyone was shocked when we came in. I learned that I loved the reaction I got from the things that I made!


FABUtainment:  What are your goals and plans for your company in the future?  
ET:  I hope to one day own a successful fashion boutique.  Once that is accomplished, I would like to become a Real Estate Investor.  Yes, fashion and real estate go hand and hand…. Some has to customize the homes!
FABUtainment:  Do you have a storefront or is your store online? How can customers purchase your clothing?
ET:  Right now I can contacted on Facebook: Essie Tunley,  IG: theniastudio , or call 816-659-1982 to set up an appointment for a consultation.  At that point, we will discuss prices, fabric choices, and I will take the clients measurements.  Production doesn’t begin until a deposit is made.
FABUtainment:  Do you have any events/fashion shows planned? 
ET:  I will be showing at the Curves and Confidence BBW Runway Show April 10th, Urban Wine and Jazz Runway Show April 24th, Beauty and Bowties May 22nd.  June-TBA and August 21st The NIA Initiative will host our first Fall/Winter Fashion Show Event, so stay tuned for details.
FABUtainment:  Do your products reflect your personal fashion taste? 
ET:  Yes, VERY much sew (so)!  The Empress Brand produces garments that are sophisticated and elegant.  These garments compliments they wearer body type.
FABUtainment:  What do you think about the fashion trends today? 
ET:  Honestly, the whole “video vixen” trend is tiring.  I’m noticing a lot of women tend to go for the cheap/inexpensive and stretchy garments which in turn, make them look cheap also… IT NEEDS TO STOP.  Whenever these women are ready upgrade themselves, Empress will be here to give them more a classier look/style.


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