Fashion / Style

Project Runway Houston Standout Turns Her Fashion Into Art — Chasity Sereal Embraces Growing Pains

Shining a Light On the Extra Challenges Black Women Face

BY Caitlin Hsu and Jaelyn Williams // 04.12.23
photography Tye Visuals Photography

“I want my pieces to tell stories. I want them to be remembered.” This is what Houston designer, Project Runway finalist and actress Chasity Sereal says about her newest fashion exhibition dubbed “Growing Pains.”

Presented at Harris County Cultural Arts Council, a BIPOC-led nonprofit serving unincorporated East Harris County, “Growing Pains” featured seven wearable art pieces. Many were inspired by designs Sereal debuted in Season 19 of Bravo’s Project Runway, where she competed in the final four alongside Shantall Lacayo, Coral Castillo and Kristina Kharlashkina.

Chasity Sereal, Terrance Turner (Photo by Tye Visuals Photography)
Chasity Sereal, Terrance Turner (Photo by Tye Visuals Photography)”

“Growing Pains” emphasizes Sereal’s passion for the artistic side of fashion.

“How often do we see fashion designers creating wearable art pieces outside of the Met Gala or when being challenged on a competition show?” Sereal asks. “My goal is to bring an artistic expression when it comes to fashion design.”

This is done by the use of bold colors, unique patterns and eye-catching floral textures on a variety of long gowns, cocktail dresses, suits and billowing capes. In addition to creating wearable art pieces, Sereal’s goal with this line is to highlight and reflect the challenges faced by women of color, especially Black women.

“Women, especially Black women, have to work twice as hard to be noticed and appreciated for the work they do in any setting, any industry,” Sereal tells PaperCity. “I’ve been told that ‘I’m good, but not good enough.’ ”

Sereal's designs are inspired by whimsical fairy tales. (Photo by Tye Visuals Photography)
Sereal’s designs are inspired by whimsical fairy tales. (Photo by Tye Visuals Photography)

Stacey Allen, Harris County Cultural Arts Council’s director of artistic programming and the curator of “Growing Pains,” is a major believer in Sereal.

“While the world chooses to rain on Black women, we choose to water our gardens, filling up from our roots up to the stem,” Allen says. “We choose to grow. In our growth, the world beholds and bears witness to our evolution.”

As an artist in residence at HCCAC, Sereal receives funding from the organization for her exhibition, as well as studio space.

“Artists like Chasity were specially selected because of their ability to connect and engage the community with their work,” HCCAC executive director Michelle Bonton says. “Amplifying Chasity’s vision will only inspire others to follow their dreams as she has.”

Sereal also owns her own eponymous fashion line and has shown her collections at New York Fashion Week in 2015 and 2017. As of 2023, she has taken on another role in the arts world, starring in the BET+ film The Reading alongside Oscar winner Mo’Nique. The film is directed by Courtney Glaude, another Houston notable.  

Learn more about Chasity Sereal here.

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