I’m writing about the first person that I can remember who brought my fashion senses to life. Growing up in Clinton Hill, there was this young girl named Nelda who lived at the corner who was always dressed fresh to def and had innate swag. She was a Brooklyn fashion icon and became legendary over time. She was like the urban Mahogany of our ‘hood. Nelda was a little older than me and her family was originally from the islands. I knew their family since I was a child.
I remember, as a young girl, always taking notice on what Nelda would be wearing. I checked for Nelda so much for her fashion statements. She really inspired me; she would walk through the neighborhood with her head high and she’d always be introducing a new brand to us, rocking crazy colors, wearing a new look, with different hair colors or styles, and they’d always be a game changer. She definitely wasn’t afraid to take chances or do different. I remember one particular Easter, Nelda had these Gloria Vanderbilt shoes. I think they were yellow. They were bananas. I’d never seen them prior, and I’ve never seen them since. Her ensembles were amazing. It’s worth mentioning that she was one of the first I noticed to rock different color furs, way before it was the trend. She was a trailblazer. She was the original Queen B… I’m positive Lil’ Kim got a lot of inspiration from Nelda (she lived in my neighborhood too). I remember the first time I saw her with a colored fur in her video, I thought immediately of Nelda as Kim’s inspiration.
The cool thing about Nelda was her attitude. She knew she was fly but it wasn’t a cocky thing. She was always cool with everyone, but at the same time, when she walked down the block, you wondered who she was (if you didn’t know) because of her confidence. Nelda went to fashion school. I know she could’ve easily become a top stylist, costume wardrobe supervisor, or anything else in fashion, but I think she knew she couldn’t deal with the egos and the politics of the fashion and entertainment business. She was too truthful and quick to say what was on her mind, plus she was a rock star herself.
Enelda will always be remembered. Gone but not forgotten…
R.I.P Enelda Gilett-Soberanis
Written by April Walker (CEO of Walker Wear)