Arlinda M., The Designer
As a child my parents allowed me to live my imagination out loud, to fulfill my curiosities I played outside in open fields and wooded areas collecting bugs, twigs and other objects that I'd later mix with fabrics to make gifts and keepsakes. While indoors nothing was off limits, if I could reach it I lived my fairytale with it, even my moms favorite kitchen curtains... -Arlinda M.
Fashion Designer and Stylist Arlinda McIntosh is best known as the creative force behind Sofistafunk, a boutique design house known mainly for their voluminous, picturesque and whimsical skirt collections.
The youngest of three children, Arlinda's fashion sense was apparent at an early age when, in the 5th grade, she became interested in custom design. By her pre-teens, she was already creating skirts, dresses and accessories for family and friends. She began her professional career creating custom garments and re-designing shoes. In the early seventies, Arlinda was hired on the production line at the Norma Kamali factory, it was there performing piece work and hand finishing garments that she would hone her production skills. Later that year, while working part time at a convertible car top manufacturer, the young designer began creating custom hand bags from the colorful fabric remnants.
In the summer of '83 she was hired by a private label garment manufacturer. It was there that Arlinda learned valuable lessons in the business of fashion and met future friend and Fashion Executive Barry Sarner. Sarner recognized Arlinda's unique talent and encouraged her to strike out on her own, he was so convinced that she would be successful that he offered his professional expertise and business savvy to aid her start up, The young designer was on her way.
By the early 90s Arlinda had developed a solid clientele and a reputation for classic yet original pieces. She was not just selling clothing but an entire lifestyle. Her flair for presentation was her trademark, she began hosting "Wine and Cheese Fashion Affairs" where current clients would introduce new ladies to her world of ready-to-wear skirts, hats and custom couture. These soirees would eventually attract women young and old and from nearly every profession.
In 1994, Faith Evans, a newly signed artist to the Bad Boy label noticed a dress that Arlinda was wearing and asked if she could make her a similar version that she could wear to a party. It was at that event that Arlinda's unique design sensibilities and attention to detail impressed music producer Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. Combs immediately hired Arlinda to create original pieces for Faith, himself and many of his artists. That led to design commissions for many industry executives as well as entertainers including Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blidge, Queen Latifah and many more.
In 2000, Arlinda partnered with apprentice and daughter-in-law Cheshire Mickens to launch Sofistafunk, The Skirt co, their first boutique and label. Today, with over thirty years of experience in design and styling, Arlinda McIntosh has created a lifestyle skirt brand that has garnered the attention of a diverse range of loyal and dedicated followers. In addition to the Skirt Co., Arlinda remains true to a growing private clientele that call for her custom couture one of a kind creations.
The Sofistafunk brand as well as Arlinda M, the private label couture collection, have been featured on television and stage as well as film, magazines and periodicals. Both labels have graced the racks at exclusive boutiques throughout NY, NJ, LA and Palm Beach.
The loves of my fashionable life: "Big skirts, soap bubbles, vintage finery and the fairy tale." -Arlinda McIntosh