I was on a brunch date with a young lady (actually our 2nd date) around the end of August in Harlem, and after a lovely meal, conversation and playful antics we found ourselves wandering around the village of Harlem on Fredrick Douglas Blvd enjoying the summer weather as well as the shops and restaurants.
As we walked further downtown on FDB we came upon a women’s fashion boutique FEMME PROGRESSIVE. My female companion stopped to peer at the designs displayed on the mannequins, (while I realized that I’ve been there before) and called to me for my opinion on one of the dresses. I spotted one of the dresses that I thought would look absolutely smashing on her, and headed strait for it inside the (not realizing that I walked in the shop and left her standing outside) boutique to inspect it further (the stylist persona took over) and check the size.
As I walked in I was greeted by the owner/designer of Femme Progressive, Marima Conde while I searched through the racks to find at least two more designs to style my female companion (I just can’t help myself) in out of habit.
In addition to being there at the boutique beforehand in the past, I remembered that very recently Jean Germain (My Logistical Executive) had been to the shop and posted pics on social media wearing one of Ms. Conde’s T-shirts that he liked so much he purchased one.
After presenting three outfits (that I hand picked) to my companion, she flatly refused saying that they were “not her style”. I insisted that she try all three on, and lo and behold she loved each of them and had to agree that I was right all along.
After this styling episode, I spoke to Ms. Conde about interviewing her for an article to which she agreed. So I gave her one of my business cards and told her that I would contact her soon to arrange a time and date to meet and sit down and talk about her designs. So after a weeks worth of texting, calling, and rescheduling we finally caught up to sit and talk.
We sat down on a comfortable red couch in her boutique, and began to chat about her vision, background and designs. She told me that she originally studied business in school, but her passion for fashion and design was what she knew in her heart was the path that she needed to pursue. I inquired how long she been in business, (with her designs) She said: “The brand is about ten years of building. I started selling online for eight years, and opened the boutique about two years ago, actually it will be two years this coming November.”
When I asked her “what exactly is Femme Progressive” She said that “she is a archetype of the modern woman”. “All women can see themselves in each other, and can relate and honor that through fashion. Rock Star by day and a Lady at night. I’m a fashion designer that makes women’s wear custom to their choices of fabric, colors, prints, to their measurements. I like to make women’s fashion vision come true, and bring it to life. I went to business school for a year, then left for F.I.T. which was a good fit for me.”
(“My Original Line was a T-Shirt Line”)
When I asked further about her background, she informed me that: “After F.I.T. I interned for Oscar del la Renta, which was my very first entry into the industry. It was a great first job and I learned a lot from everyone there. I also did some technical designing to branch out a bit, but I had to return to pattern making because that’s my first joy, and I also did some work for Ann Klein. I also love to bring other designers ideas to life.”
Femme Progressive also sells costume jewelry & accessories to pair with her custom designs.
Ms. Conde’s Passion and vision, along with her training from F.I.T. and her work with a host of big fashion designer brands shows in her designs.
I could not help but fall in love with the designs of Femme Progressive, simply because, she is that good, and if you don’t find anything you like on the racks, (which is next to impossible) she will sit down with you and create a one of a kind dress that will be the envy of your friends.
I just can’t wait to style my next female muse in one of her designs (or have one custom made to match my vision).
Femme Progressive is located at 2166 Fredrick Douglas Blvd in Harlem NYC. So stop in and be prepared be amazed. Also check her out on social media: Instagram: @femme_progressive.