Tracy Reese, one of the fashion industry’s most successful African American women, was born February 12, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan. She attended the famous Cass Technical High School and while she expressed interest in fashion design, she thought she would become an architect or interior designer. After a teacher encouraged her to apply for a Summer program at Parson’s School of Design, she went on to attend the school in New York City.
Her first job out of school was working for Martine Sitbon, a French designer in New York City. She would go on to create her own line, but due to an inability to maintain revenue, she had to shut it down. She later worked with classmate Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis. Her experience there and subsequent job working with Gordon Henderson, an African American designer who started his own line after working for Calvin Klein, gave her the experience and the confidence to make another attempt at her own brand.
A 1995 deal with The Limited provided her the funds to start up her own label, Tracy Reese Meridian, which later became Tracy Reese. A line for younger customers called plenty was started and by 2002 Tracy Reese had a corporate showroom. 2004 marked the beginning of plenty Home and a shoe and accessory line was launched in 2005. In 2006, a flagship store was opened in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Her three brands, Tracy Reese, plenty and frock! are sold there.