SVELTE: Background & History
SVELTE, LLC is a fashion and lifestyle focused brand strategy firm specializing in media, technology and the execution of brand and market strategies.
In 2007, Washingtonian native Elaine Mensah founded SVELTE under the premise that Washington DC not only had the resources to potentially become a major fashion capital, but that it had the right talent, perspective, and most importantly consumer, to make the nation's capital more than just a political town. The city and consumers alike craved the attention, buying power, and respect of the fashion & lifestyle industry and as such, needed a firm that understood the dynamics, was creative in their offerings and solutions, AND had the talent & expertise to fulfill client needs.
SVELTE is unlike the traditional public relations firm, particularly in Washington DC. We understand that in today's marketing and consumer world, clients have needs that stretch beyond the traditional boundaries and therefore need solutions that can cater to their divergent needs. With our expertise in PR, large scale fashion show production, new media & broadcasting, advertising & branding, as well as our local, national & international relationships, SVELTE is THE firm for fashion and lifestyle branding.
ABOUT SVELTE FOUnDER, ELAINE MENSAH
Elaine Mensah is a brand strategist with 10+ years of a unique blend of communications, branding, technology, and entrepreneurial experience. .
Elaine's career started in media at the National Geographic Society and NBC Dateline where she worked as a research assistant and production assistant respectively. She then worked briefly in the non-profit sector before transitioning into government at the US Small Business Administration working for the Office of Strategic Alliances. From 2004-2011, Elaine worked extensively in management consulting for firms Unisys, BearingPoint, and Deloitte respectively.
Elaine started her fashion career with an pr assistant role at design house Cynthia Rowley in 2006 supporting Director of PR for the Spring 2007, Fall 2007, and Fall 2008 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week shows. In February 2007, Elaine joined leading eco/ethical non-profit organization Fashion Fights Poverty as Fashion Director (a position held through 2010) where she scouted emerging designers, oversaw the styling of the organizations Dress Responsibly Lookbook campaign, and produced the annual FFP fashion show and gala, an event that was named DC's #1 Fashion Event two years in row (2008 & 2009) by BizBash Magazine. Over the course of the next several years, she worked to build SVELTE, LLC. One of her first endeavors was creating SVELTE Tv, an online fashion channel dedicated to showcasing the DC fashion scene. In 2009, she created and co-hosted the fashion industry’s first ever online fashion radio show Fashion BS. Also in 2009, my co-host James Cornwell and I were one of the first DC fashion insiders to independently receive accreditation from IMG and attend Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NY under the SVELTE brand and without the backing of a major organization or publication.
Elaine was featured in the “Scene Stealer” section of January 2009 Inauguration issue of Washington Post's fashion glossy Fashion Washington. She has also been featured in publications including Washington Life Magazine, Washington City Paper, Washington Times, Capitol File Magazine, and Roll Call. Elaine has also appeared as a fashion expert on WUSA9 News where she discussed ethical/eco fashion, on WJLA Tv affiliate "Let's Talk Live" and WPGC 95.5FM, served as moderator for Columbia University's African Economic Forum, was one of the four expert panelists on local DC area television program “As We See It,” and served as panelist in 2012 Social Learning Summit at American University.
In 2010, Elaine was the first to develop and host a panel on Fashion & Technology at the inaugural Digital Capital Week (DCWEEK) and subsequently in 2011, was asked by the organizers of DCWEEK to be on the Advisory Board of the inaugural Social Media Week DC in 2012. During this time, SVELTE also expanded into film and produced the red carpet event and pr for independent film Gone Forever. In 2011, Elaine was featured and named one of DC's most influential movers & shakers under 40 by Washington Life Magazine in its annual Young & The Guest List, an honor she received for the second consecutive time in 2012. She was also asked to be on the board as Publicity Chair of the Washington DC region of Fashion Group International, was named one of 16 non-profit leaders in Washington DC by non-profit organization Shoot for Change, and was one of the first independent Washington DC based fashion businesses to attend London Fashion Week, a relationship that led her being a Guest of the British Council during the Autumn/Winter 2012 London Fashion Week season. Elaine's most recent endeavor involves the co-creation of The Fashion Impact Report, a three-pronged initiative comprising of a crowd-sourced directory (powered by All Things Fashion DC), an economic impact survey, and an upcoming UnConference.
Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, Elaine’s eclectic background and education reflects in her work. She credits the DC fashion community for spearheading her career and as such seizes every opportunity to give back. Her tenure with Fashion Fights Poverty was 100% volunteer and she has valued her ability to possibly inspire and motivate kids in various local DC programs including the summer fashion program for SINGA, the Boys & Girls Club of DC, and students at Woodrow Wilson High School & West Potomac Academy of Fashion Design.
She has a Law and Society degree from American University and a Masters in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.