ABOUT THE BRAND
Shades of Shea Principal Designer and CEO Lasheaya Diaz now offers a sexy take on sportswear. She debuted Haus of Shea, a new eponymous athleisure line that is ready to take the fashion world and streets by storm. Diaz whipped up this new high-end street style collection that can be worn both day and night.
The spirit of the Haus of Shea capsule collection is based on Diaz' interest in keeping the heritage of classic American sportswear alive by injecting a dose of sexy into summer sportswear. The unique designs are an original update to the prep trend with a twist. The native Brooklynite drew inspiration for the line's intricate designs from the sportswear styles worn by hip-hop fans and stars in the 90s, 2000s, football and vintage varsity letterman jackets. While baseball jackets are all the rage right now, Diaz decided to instead offer a twist on the trend by strategically placing the varsity style letters HOS (Haus of Shea) on body conscious dresses and separates. She also updated these silhouettes with balloon sleeves inspired by the Victorian era. Trimmed with varsity stripes on the neck and cuffs, the mashup is unlike any design that has ever been done before.
Diaz says her ideas stemmed from the childhood memories she recalled of the years she spent at work with her mother, her internship and retail experience as a sales associate for American designer Tommy Hilfiger. When Diaz' mother could not afford a babysitter during her time working for the iconic fashion label, she took her to work after school. It was there, the designer recalls, is when she first fell in love with fashion. As her mother worked hard in the office, the designer spent her years while attending grade school rummaging through clothing samples from Hilfiger's various collections. She observed her mother and her co-workers in the showrooms prepping for upcoming fashion shows, events and retail shipments.
"When my mother took me with her to work, first I would do my homework that was due the next day. When I finished, I would then look through samples for the following season. I was completely fascinated by what I saw: all the employees running around holding samples, in meetings and making key decisions about the brand. It was a completely different world from where we lived so I was completely in awe. As I was designing the first pieces for Haus of Shea, I also remembered when I wore Hilfiger clothes my mother got from her job," she shares. "The other kids at school would actually tease me and call me 'Tommy Girl' or a Tommy Hilfiger model because I wore so much of his stuff. It's funny when I think about it, I was the unofficial Tommy Hilfiger brand ambassador of Brooklyn," she laughed.
Later, as a student while attending New York City's High School of Fashion Industries, she interned for the brand working closely with Jenny Hilfiger on the H by Tommy Hilfiger line. She did everything from fetching coffee to organizing the clothing sample racks and cleaning the showrooms. In-between semesters of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, she worked retail for the same brand as a sales associate. It was after that stint that she decided to branch out on her own and launch her own clothing lines, the first Shades of Shea in 2015. "I thought about my Shades of Shea customers who come to me for custom evening wear they wear for special occasions, and then decided to offer them more approachable looks that can be worn in the daytime. So for the debut of Haus of Shea, I went with cool collegiate prep because American sportswear will always remain a staple in street style. But my customers love to show off their curves so I thought how could I offer the Shades of Shea girl form fitting sportswear? That can be worn both day and night?"
The result is a collection with a focused color range of navy, maroon and rust with white accents. Dresses with various lengths, tops and a romper with plunging necklines all feature rugby-style varsity stripes. One standout is a green sequins two-piece set that is as red carpet ready as the evening wear from her Shades of Shea line. Haus of Shea is part of Diaz' growing empire which includes Shades of Shea which launched in 2014 and the upcoming Bobby Caroline, a bridal wear, bridal accessories, and non-traditional evening wear line.