Fashion designer Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA ’17) featured on cover of magazine, in newspaper

Photo of Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA '17) posing on a sidewalk in downtown Winston-Salem.

Fashion designer and Wake Forest Law student Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA '17). Photo courtesy of J Sinclair (Winston-Salem Journal)

Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA ’17) is featured in the following Winston-Salem Journal story, “Twin City Trendsetters: Meet a few locals who are shaking up the Twin City fashion scene,” published on March 31, 2017.  Kryst, a fashion designer, was also featured on the cover of the April issue of the Winston-Salem Monthly.

The original interview by Michael Breedlove follows:

As a third-year law student at Wake Forest, Cheslie Kryst doesn’t have a lot of time for fashion these days. But she certainly makes the most of what little time she gets.

“My life and all of my commitments can be overwhelming, but designing lets me get away from it all,” says Kryst, 25. “There’s something so calming about walking through a fabric store or sitting in front of my sewing machine late at night.”

A former runner-up in the Miss North Carolina pageant, Kryst grew up near Charlotte as the third of five kids. She got serious about fashion design after her grandma gave her a vintage Singer sewing machine several years ago. “I didn’t have a lot of money, so I just started designing and altering my own clothes,” she says.

Kryst would get her undergrad degree from the University of South Carolina, where she also competed on the track team in the long jump and triple jump. During her final year at USC, Kryst did her senior thesis on “What’s the ideal body shape” and used a $1,500 grant to design a line of dresses. She continued designing on the side after enrolling at Wake in 2014.

Last year, she saw an ad for Greensboro’s popular Rock the Runway fashion show and decided to enter. The competition asks designers to create a collection using items gathered at local Goodwill stores (which, she says, is one of her go-to spots). Despite having the least experience of all the designers, Kryst wound up winning the “Audience Choice” award.

How would you describe your style?

“My design style tends to be sleek, sexy, and chic—but I’m not sure about my personal style. It just depends on the day really. I will say that one of my inspirations is Olivia Pope from Scandal (laughs). I know she’s a fictional character, but dang … she’s got it going on!”

What are your future plans with fashion?

“I graduate from Wake this May, and I’ve already got a job lined up with a law firm in Charlotte. But I definitely plan to keep designing. I’ve been talking to some investors about starting my own athletic-wear line. I’ve always been pretty passionate about working out—my dad was a body builder, and four of my five siblings were D-1 athletes in college—so it seems like a great place to start.”

Any style tips for readers?

“Just wear whatever makes you feel good. My biggest pet peeve are the ‘rules’ people tell you to follow. Everyone has a different style, and so many people break the rules and look great doing it.”