Let Nothing Stand In Her Way

Joelle Meaghan

Joelle Purifoy, Designer

From the Bull City to New York City, this NCSU senior is making waves in the fashion industry.

Ah, college life. Hanging out in the Student Union. Step shows on the yard. Tailgating before the rival football game. Partying in your room until the RA kicks everybody out.  Fun, fun, and more fun. Typically, this is the life of a college student.

Then there’s Joelle Purifoy. When you meet her you first think she looks awfully young. But when she starts talking, you can hear and feel her “old soul.” There is something very mature about her. Just 10 minutes into the interview you get a sense that she is not your typical college student. She is serious about and fully focused on her future. When I asked her about the usual college female interests, namely men and partying, I was pleasantly surprised by her answer. “I really don’t have time for those things. I am too busy creating designs and trying to get my name out there,” she says.

Ami Deshazo

Courtesy Rick Crank Photography

Purifoy, a native of Durham, is a senior at North Carolina State University, majoring in Fashion and Textile Management with a concentration in Product Development. She also is in training to become a buyer at Uptown Cheapskate, a local retail clothing store.  She has always wanted to be an artist, and the art she loves is clothing design. “I love clothes,” Purifoy says. “The way they move and everything. I found out how much I loved them when I was in high school,” she explains. One sewing class and the spark was lit. After graduation, off to NC State she went to pursue her art.

Joelle Purifoy

Courtesy Rick Crank Photography

This mature, driven college student is doing a lot to stamp out her career in the fashion industry. In 2011 she interned with Tracy Reese, the designer of choice for Michelle Obama. This summer she returned to New York City to work with Miss Reese to learn more about the industry and get exposed to what it takes to produce a fashion show event. She hopes to go back again for Fall Fashion Week 2013 this upcoming February. She has her sights on studying abroad next summer to take more design courses to keep herself competitive with students here in the US attending the top fashion schools. On top of all of this, she constantly researches the industry and tells what she’s learned by blogging weekly on her site, Colors of Joelle. She started this site her freshman year, where she spotlights emerging designers, makeup artists, and facts about black fashion history. She is constantly creating designs and displaying them in fashion shows and on her site. She is training to be a buyer so she can learn proper pricing and merchandise selection strategies. Listening to all she has done and is doing, I see how passionate and serious she is about her future.


Tomi Oye

Courtesy Rick Crank Photography

Joelle Purifoy does not take what she is doing lightly. In fact, being a fashion designer she feels is her destiny. How serious is she about it? When I asked her if she could imagine doing anything else, she answered no without hesitation. She further explained, “If someone told me that I could not design clothes, I would die. I just love to create designs.” That kind of passion is rarely seen in a person so young, and it is quite refreshing.

Purifoy is the special kind of person people of all ages can relate to. She has a message for the younger generation along with the older generation as well. To teenagers she offers, “Stay focused. Do not let anybody tell you what you cannot do or what you should be doing because of who they think you are. Sounds cliché but it’s true.” And for older people who are trying to find their passion, or who know their passion but not quite sure how to get back to it, she says, “Whatever your first passion is always tends to come back to you even if you stray away from it for a while.” There’s that old soul coming out. She is wise beyond her years.

See what this Bull City bred fashionista has to say about all things fashion and view her bold, feminine and colorful line, Joelle Meaghan, on her website at http://thecolorsofjoelle.com/. Remember her name. Soon you will be making your way to Nordstrom in search of a Joelle Meaghan original.

Sharon Mullen is an Ohio native and graduate of Michigan State University. She is also a marketing and promotions professional who enjoys poetry, music and the arts. She can be reached at: Sharon@emergenconline.com