#09 Styling & empowerment: Confidence through style

by Amelia Roman

With moving to their final location at 280 MOTT STREET, NY, 10012 we had an interview with the founder of WESH - Nesrine Khemiri and asked about the unique WESH style and the customer that attracts it.

What role does inclusivity play in your concept store, and how do you cater to diverse customers’ needs and preferences?

Diversity and inclusivity were always at the heart of WESH NYC’s mission. The shop promotes finding one’s own unique truth and stating it boldly, loud and clear through attire and self-care. Truth knows no gender. Be whoever you want to be and if WESH happens to have the right outfit for that, it makes me happy. 

I’ll tell you this: I do have a soft spot for the 70-year-old queer customer. They’re amazing. The enthusiasm, the curiosity, the definite sense of style and self. From femme looks to tomboys, we try to curate exclusive clothes that speak to a very diverse range of people. Which lets them express who they are with confidence. 

What advice would you give individuals who struggle with expressing themselves through clothing and style?

There is a psychological conversation where you will have someone loving a piece but would not know when to wear it. They go “I love this! But I know I’ll buy it and then it’ll just gather dust in my closet.” I honestly reply “Darling if you love this, you must make it happen, you must create the occasion to wear it. Because it speaks something other than your taste for a piece of (very fine but still) fabric! This is a lifestyle you’re after!” There’s always something else there… Usually, that’s the start of an interesting conversation. Whether they miss the good old days when they used to party more, or they moved upstate, or they don’t do date nights anymore… it’s very telling which item makes a customer drool with envy, and how some shoppers self-censor. If wanting a rare item available at WESH NYC can spark an irresistible desire for an adventure… or just a fancy date night, then my job is done! If we can help people find alignment between what they wear, how they feel, and the lifestyle they covet, we win.

 What questions do you ask yourself when dressing up before heading to the shop? 

Store or no store, I always pay attention to how I dress and how it needs to reflect my mood. Or influence my mood. For instance, if it’s going to be a big day, involving big decisions, I need to feel empowered, I’ll put on a suit, then it’s life self-fulfilling prophecy. My power comes to me. 

How does your concept store curate collections or items that promote self-assurance and empowerment?

Researching the up-and-coming designers of our Era is at the heart of WESH team mission. Developing an eye for our New Yorkers who love to be intrigued by eclectic style. Discovering the creators with an inspiring story is my passion. Usually, they are at the stage where no one represents them in the US. 

Promoting and guiding self-starters is essential for me, I often felt people didn’t give me a fair chance and I had to work twice as hard. 

Once I agree with a brand like Matinee 96 which mainly does resort collections, I will work with the founder to make the selection and direct what would work best for our curation. 

Matinée96 is perfect for a romantic dinner… but it’s also a very early morning when you’re going home with your heels in your hand, and you still look damn great (laughs).

How do you tell the difference between the customer who goes shopping to have alone time and the one who wants advice, conversation and perhaps even a personal shopper?

It’s mostly body language and observation. Some of them won’t even remove their AirPods so the message is clear. Others stick around, walk around but never dare to touch or try on. I’ve learnt to really work with each person’s boundaries. The best I can help is when I know a bit of the context and the purpose of the shopping spree. But some people are quiet and private and I’m okay with that too.

Congratulations on the first milestone anniversary at WESH! How do you feel when you think about this first year?

Wow. What a year we did it, after moving locations two times we are more than happy to have found our home. It was an intense, challenging yet empowering year where we set our core values, found incredible talents to whom we gave a platform to express themselves. After one year in the business, we have achieved some important goals and we can't wait to continue this journey with you. 

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