Healthy Living Foundation
Healthy Living Foundation


Article from the Post News Group

By Carla Thomas


Beyond the runway, on Sundays Emelda opens her East Oakland home as a design studio and modeling training ground. With woodshop and home economics no longer taught in high school or middle schools, Emelda says youth and young adults are missing out on key opportunities.


"I view the fashion industry as a whole, including product development, creative design theory, sales, marketing and presentation. I have students of all backgrounds. Currently one from India, one from DuBai, and five college graduates, including a scientist, chemist, and two engineers.


“My students and participants are ages 5 – 75 years old. My 6-year-old granddaughter is already illustrating her designs.


“We are working on bringing the program into the Oakland public schools and Recreation Centers in the near future. I currently offer this training free of charge to Oakland Inner City Youth, which is my target market for training.”


In February 2022 she was selected Emerging Designer for New York Fashion Week.


“I took 17 inner city hopefuls to New York Fashion Week for an experience of a lifetime,” she said. “My 6-year-old granddaughter was the youngest-ever model for NYFW.”


Phyllis Emelda & Company began as Blaize in 1991, having grown to four locations in Bay Area malls.


By the late 90s she began working with a slinky fiber and developed a line of seven interchangeable garments suitable in style for most women. This collection was called “Wardrobe In A Box.” The explosive success of the collection landed her in a spot on a roadshow program with Costco Stores. After an exhausting 18 months of working on the road, Emelda fell ill and then her mother passed away. “The devastation took its toll, but I knew I had to reinvent myself yet again.”


She began marketing her collection to boutiques nationally and contracted with Walmart Stores to bring her Travelwear Collection to Sam’s Club. She also contracted with Seams To Fit in Berkeley, Grand Diva Salon in Florida, The San Francisco Opera House, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and Her line was then qualified by the Art Commission as Wearable Art.


“During the pandemic, my team and I launched Drama Dressing, The Couture Collection-(Just Coats by Phyllis Emelda) and an updated version of “Wardrobe In A Box” shown for the first time at New York Fashion Week 2022.

“This year was great, but I have much more in store for 2024,” she said.

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