About This Video
Soul Club Oral History Project: Sherri Hobson
The Soul Club of FIT was organized in 1968 by community member Clara Branch after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clara Branch was a staff and faculty member of the Fashion Design Department who served as the club’s advisor until her retirement in 1991. The purpose of the club was to share and celebrate Black heritage and culture, and to assist students with books, materials, and mentorship. The Soul Club of FIT is best remembered for its annual standing-room only event, The Soul Fashion Show, which was held at FIT from 1971 through the early 1990s. Clara Branch directed these shows which featured the work of young Black designers and models, and were supported by the larger community of the New York City fashion industry. In 1992, Rhonda Burrell-Stubbs took over as director upon Clara Branch’s retirement.
The Soul Club Oral History Project is an initiative of the FIT Library, inspired by the Soul Club fashion shows’ exuberance, positivity, dynamism, and joy. For this oral history project, FIT alumni and faculty members are interviewed about their participation and experience in the Soul Club. The goal of this project is to explore FIT’s rich and diverse history and uplift, amplify, and publicly share the stories of Black fashion students and faculty members as told by the community members themselves.
Sherri Hobson and Beauloni Enterprises were born in Brooklyn, New York. Sherri is a graduate of Fashion Industries HS and Fashion Institute of Technology where she achieved her Bachelors of Fine Arts. Her company, Beauloni Enterprises, was born out of a bride’s desire for a headpiece that expressed a regal Afrocentricity, beauty, sophistication, class and magic. The bride was Sherri. This gave her a firsthand experience into working with customers and learning about their needs and wants for a unique and stylish bridal headpiece. Beauloni’s workroom and showroom is in the historical brownstone area of Bedford Stuyvesant. As the company’s owner, she started the business as a result of not finding contemporary ethnic and elegant headpieces in the marketplace. At the time, there were no African-American designers that catered specifically to a customer base that wore loc-styled or natural hair styles. Beauloni positioned itself as the premier Afro-centric bridal headpiece company in the country. Since, the company continues to add elegance and distinction to special occasions, including Weddings, Proms, and Sweet Sixteens with its unique headpieces and jewelry accessories. Inspired by legacy, Sherri named her company after her children, son Beau and daughter Loni, who are the nucleus of the definition of Beauloni. It is her honor and goal to celebrate love, fashion, beauty, marriage, romance and vision with the people who trust her to create a unique work of art especially for them.
Taur Orange, interviewer, is the head of Educational Opportunity Programs at FIT.
FIT Special Collections and College Archives
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