Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Lafayette fashion team celebrates classic women’s fashions. By Krista Richmond

                                                 Photo by Robin May

Erin Shelton is a modern-day Audrey Hepburn.

Much like her idol, she has perfectly coiffed brunette curls, wide eyes, a warm smile and a ladylike — almost retro — sense of style. And she’s bringing those 1950s looks back with modern touches in her fashion line, Inshel, now available at Birdies Boutique, located at the corner of University Avenue and Coolidge Street.

“I’ve always been obsessed with that time period,” Shelton says. “That’s when women knew how to dress. There was effort put into it.”

Inshel takes its name from the designer — it’s the last part of Erin and the first part of Shelton put together — but the line is a team effort. The other three members of the team include Amanda Stuart, creative director; Lauren Ducote, marketing director; and Trey Bajat, business director. This group of Acadiana residents has been friends since high school, and all of them graduated from UL Lafayette with degrees in their respective areas of the business. In August 2009, Stuart, Ducote and Bajat approached Shelton with the idea of starting their own fashion line, and Inshel was created with the help of their family and friends.

“We each have our specific thing,” Stuart says. “We believe we have the best group for what we’re doing.”

Shelton put her fashion design and merchandising degree to use first as an intern at Walt Disney World and then as the designer of two costumes for an independent film before starting Inshel.

The pieces Shelton designs are aimed toward 20- to 35-year-old women. Inshel has a feminine feel, with a variety of dresses, cropped jackets and pencil skirts. In a sense, Shelton is designing for herself — and customers like her.

“When I design,” she says, “I ask myself, ‘I like it, but would I wear it?’”

Shelton is a fan of color, and that comes through in the cerulean blues, honeysuckle pinks and butter yellows of the spring line.

“Color makes me happy,” she notes. “I’m strongly affected by color.”

It’s also, she says, how Louisiana comes through in her designs.

“At heart, I’m a Southern girl,” Shelton adds. “I think that’s where my love of color comes from. We like to experiment more.”

For more information about Inshel, go to or call (225) 590-5363.

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