Telsha Anderson is a woman with drive. Neither a pandemic nor a national uprising could stop her from opening her new concept boutique. Launched just last week, T.A. is a womenswear retail destination in the heart of the Meatpacking District.
The store, which was originally set to open in March but had to quickly shift plans due to the pandemic, is the result of years spent dreaming, planning, and manifesting. A lifelong lover of fashion and design, Telsha decided to leave her career in PR behind after feeling inspired to fill the brick-and-mortar-sized hole so many of her sartorial-minded friends lamented. “I always knew I wanted to be in fashion,” says Telsha. “But I’m so glad it’s on my own terms. I’m excited to be able to make my own rules here.”
A quick spin around the store reveals exactly what Telsha means. From the distinctive clothes to the one-of-a-kind vintage furniture and the conversation-starting art—every detail comes straight from Telsha’s singular vision. She is the owner, the buyer, the interior designer, the vintage and art collector, the business manager, and the sales associate all in one. “That’s what I love so much about the space,” she says. “It’s personal. When you walk in here, you’re walking into my brain.”
The driving inspiration behind the design? “My future home,” says Telsha, who gravitates toward bold colors and unexpected pairings. A regular Tumblr user and a magazine devotee, Telsha is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about aesthetics and identity. In an industry that tends to prize minimalism as the definition of “elevated” style, she wants to stand out. The deep, mossy green walls painted in an ombre effect achieve just that. “So many stores that I frequent don’t have much color. Especially in this neighborhood,” she says, “I want to be the opposite.”
The space is entirely open-concept, so Telsha can communicate with her guests from every angle, encouraging free-flowing discourse and radical transparency. “I will tell you if I think a different shirt would work better for you and I will tell you where that bag is made and who is making it. When you swipe your card at T.A.,” she says, “I want you to know exactly where your dollar is going and to feel good about it.”
That same idea extends to the designers she’s chosen to champion and her recognition of the importance of representation. “There are three Black designers featured right when you walk in,” she says. “It’s important for me to give space and a platform to brands that are often pushed to the side.” The buy is firmly within the contemporary market, but with an eye towards luxury. Both local designers and lesser-known international brands are featured, many of which are POC-owned. “T.A. isn’t just my win,” says Telsha. “It’s a win for anyone who is my age, my skin color, a woman. It’s a win for all of us.”
When asked about what is next for her, Telsha responds, “I want to take over the world.” She envisions a whole portfolio of independent boutiques in cities like L.A., Chicago, New Orleans, and Atlanta. “Ultimately,” she says, “not only should people come in here and feel safe, I want people to come in here and feel seen and loved. This is my love letter to fashion, to the Black community, to New York, and to the joy of shopping. Let’s bring back the joy!”
Telsha’s Taste-Making Selects:
Destinations for fashion and design inspiration: Barcelona is an IRL place that really inspires me. Their approach to everything is so intentional. I love the @subliming.jpg and @blackfilmfashion Instagram accounts. I’m a big fan of Love House showroom and I’m always down to wander around CB2. A good furniture piece can say so much—I’m able to take that and then figure out the direction of the buy or my life really!
Favorite detail in the store: There is a sticker-covered zig-zag chair in the dressing room. The chair is just from Amazon, but I’ve been collecting the stickers for years; they showcase some of my favorite artists, brands, and places. I hope people bring me more to add when they come in!
Must-have piece from T.A.: Barragán pleather pants. They’re unisex and the color is fire. They’re a piece I imagine people will have for years and will look back and think fondly of T.A.
Reading list: I have a bunch of books throughout the space that I’ve collected over the years. Some favorites include Black Boy Fly by Joshua Renfroe and The New Black Vanguard by Antwaun Sargent. I want to encourage dialogue—if you’re here and you don’t feel like buying clothes, let’s talk about literature, about design, about civil rights!
A taste of the T.A. playlist: Erykah Badu, SZA, Solange, Diana Ross, Jill Scott. All these women have very soft voices, but an assertive approach. Honestly, that’s what I want the store to feel like—we’re soft, but intentional.
The finishing touch: The scent! I wanted a memorable scent for the store. My mom found this Juniper room spray that I became obsessed with. I laughed when she told me she got it at Target, but it’s perfect.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest