Terina Nicole

Terina Nicole McKinney launched a new collection, "Refined Eclecticism," for her Leathergood line, Jypsea Leathergoods.  Check the story below to learn more about her inspiration for the collection and how she got started in the Fashion Industry. She also speaks about the  episode of HGTV's "Flea Market Flip," that she appeared on… 

Tell us a little more about your leather good collection.  From what is understood about leather, it can be very tough to work with and requires great skill, where did you learn and what sparked your interest?

I was earning my degree in Fashion Design in NYC at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) when I took a sudden hiatus during the winter break and moved to ATL. While there I worked as an assistant designer and patternmaker for a designer and one of my tasks was to create bags to match the dresses in the collection. My boss LOVED the bags I designed and because I moved down with some of my favorite fabrics in a box, I spent the weekend designing bags for myself using my fabric. That weekend I designed, sewed, and photographed a collection of handbags AND made a printed catalog. On Monday when I showed my boss what I had done over the weekend, she put me in touch with her sewing contractor and tried to help me launch my own line but I didn't want to move that fast. When I moved back to the NYC-area, I changed my major from fashion design to accessory design to learn to professionally design bags and shoes. At FIT we only worked with leather so although it may be a challenging material to use, it's what I was taught from day one and I fell in love with it.


You just launched a new line of leather goods, Refined Eclecticism."  Please share a little more about this particular line and the inspiration behind it.

'Refined Eclecticism' is not actually a new line, it is just my latest collection for my line Jypsea Leathergoods. I drop a new collection twice a year. The collection is inspired by African tribal markings and how when broken down to their most simplest form, they are just lines and shapes. My style as a designer has evolved over time from being very bohemian to where it is now, more pared down and refined but still with a nod towards what's primal, wild, and eclectic.


You recently decided to work on building your Interior Styling Portfolio.  Please share details about the project that you are working on to help you achieve this goal.  From your responses from those interested, what projects/room makeovers do you have lined up?

Yes! I am very excited about this. I have always been an "interior decorator" of sorts for myself and friends but over the years my love for architecture and design has only grown stronger. But my interest doesn't merely lie in making spaces more beautiful. I am obsessed with making spaces more FUNCTIONAL, whatever that may mean in each instance. I love to transform a space from what was to what it's owner dreams it can be. To move past just working on projects for people I know and building my clientele, I need to build a portfolio of spaces I have designed and that's what I am working on now.

Currently, I have an unfinished attic that I am converting to a His & Her Dressing Lounge. A couple of bedrooms that are becoming home offices, quite a few meditation/prayer rooms/booknooks, which I am thrilled about, and 2 bedroom makeovers.


You also spent a lot of time teaching design classes, tell us a little about your classes and what are some of the topics that you typically cover?

I have been teaching design workshops in NJ, Philly, and NYC for approx 6 years now. Mainly I focus on accessory design but I also do Fashion ReDesign classes where I teach how to transform vintage or discarded clothes into new fashion-forward pieces.  I also teach leatherworking workshops.


Among the many things that you are juggling, you also started, "The Dream Bigger Academy." Please talk to us about what that is and the inspiration behind starting it.

Dream BIGGER Academy is a concept that would provide design and creative entrepreneurship to be taught to more students by teachers like myself who are professional designers. Unfortunately though, I have found bringing it to public schools to be an uphill battle that I am not really interested in fighting so I am looking at other avenues to make more youngster aware that design is a real career option for them. Creating design kits and offering more workshops and summer camp programs is the plan for DBA.


You have been featured on HGTVs, "Flea Market Flip." What was that experience like and when can we expect the episode to air?

It was a wish come true to be on one of the only tv shows I watch! It was a blast and I learned so much about how things are REALLY done behind the scenes. I won't tell HGTV's secrets but you'd be shocked! The episode aired on Sunday, January 10th. Look out for the repeat. It's called "Gypsies VS Gents."


For women out there who may have an idea/passion that they want to pursue, but just do not have the time, have not gotten around to starting it, or do not know where to begin, what advice would you give?

I have found that anyone who really WANTS to do it doesn't really NEED advice and motivation from others because they are self-motivated and are going follow their passions anyway. Those who need to be motivated will always find an excuse why they can't move forward so no, I won't waste time with advice. I will say one thing, though. Time is going to pass anyhow. You can spend that time tolling for someone else and doing work that doesn't inspire you OR you can do what you love and live a life that you are excited to wake up to each day. The choice is always YOURS.


Check out pictures from Terina's Leathergood Collections below: