We had the good fortune of connecting with Whitney Shannon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Whitney, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
Always think outside the box and never be afraid to speak directly to your customers regarding your process behind the product. We are inundated with products online. What makes you stand out is what makes you unique. The fact that I am a professional dancer and fitness trainer is what makes my streetwear product and my designs different and in shooting those products with a dancer’s eye is what got the attention of Vogue,Glamour and NYFW. Had I taken the advice to shoot just on a white background with still products and models that were in static positions my brand would have not stood out from others. Take chances! just because no one has pursued the idea you are thinking of doesnt make bad, it makes you innovative.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I really wasn’t planning to be an artist. I really was much more of an athlete growing up, a gymnast, diver and runner. I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, a back curvature that required me to wear a back brace for 4 years. To avoid full on spinal fusion my surgeon suggested I start dancing to create more muscular balance on each side of my spine and because of my athleticism I really loved that dancing encompassed all of my talent for power. I was able to parlay that at have to opportunity to dance in NYC’s Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Program and from there dance professionally. The road to where I am now and I do feel for most people has its bumps and that is true of my story as well. At the height of my professional dance career I had to have to back to back knee surgeries causing me to pivot my career once more into a professional fitness trainer. This is really where I was able to hone my skills as and entrepreneur and starting a streetwear line is something that was always in the back of my head. When I was just getting started as a trainer and mentor came into my life, Will Thompson and expert fitness trainer who rehabbed my knee as I as was beginning my career as a trainer and got me back dancing so I was building skill sets one on top of the other that would lead me to where I am today. I would encourage anyone to stick to their dreams no matter how unattaniable they feel sometimes and to let experts,friends and mentors help guide and encourage you. Some of my biggest disappointments that I really considered huge failures at the times have become my biggest assests in owning my own lifestyle/streetwear brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Such a fun question!!! I’m such a foodie so I would have to take them to Major Domo for sure to experience David Chang’s spot and to check out chinatown and the arts district and we would follow that up with Milk Bar for sure. Koreatown malls is also one of my favorite things about Los Angeles as well. EMC which is an oyster bar in Koreatown has a grocery inside with so many fun things , as well as, a spa, bar and shopping.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Alison Barone, Owner of Polytime Atelier in DTLA took my idea of haute couture streetwear, encouraged me and taught me from the bottom up when I knew NOTHING about the fashion industry….ZERO! had it not been for her giving me a chance I would have never made it past step one. Alison also deserves the upmost credit for producing fair wage/trade garments right here in downtown Los Angeles which I am so proud to say MOVIMENTO is a part of when most other manufactures were encouraging me to go out of the country. Alison cares about the designer down to the people who make them and the wages they receive. My garments are atelier hand cut which is very rare in the US, I can go right downtown and watch expert artisans cutting, make the patterns and sewing and feel so proud of my brand because I know fair wages are being paid and they are local. If it were not for Alison, my brand would not hold weight in the competetive industry of streetwear. She also assembles a team that is second to none. Gayane her pattern maker makes my visions exquisite and Karena her manager are all a part of my fashion family. A second shout out really goes to all of my friends, family and clients which are too many to name but if it had not have been for all these people there is no way I would have gotten as far as I have.
Linkedin: Whitney Shannon
Other: Tik Tok @whitsthe1
My personal photo is the one with the blond hair and red purse as well as the picture with the silver leggings I am jumping in and is shot by Michelle Neman @clickclickphotography. Michelle Neman also shot the picture with guy and girl in the black bustier. The rest of the photos including the shot of myself with the purse ( fanny pack ) is shot by me. The sketch was made by artist and production designer Alessandro Marvelli @alemarvelli