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Fedora Designs

Soon to Be a Household Name

Article by Justice Frederick

Photography by Photos provided by Ilona Shender, @cityslicka and @npearcypics

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

It all started with a feather. With a background in IT services, Ilona Shender had not envisioned what an entrepreneurial pathway looked like.

“I’ve always been a creative,” she reminisced, “and I never knew where to put that energy into.” All of that would change in 2019 when Ilona walked into a business in Harlem, New York.

“They had pins and feathers and hats…I asked one of the guys if they could put something together for me, but I didn’t like how he did it, so I asked if I could do it.” This ignited Ilona’s creative spark and inspired her to start Fedora Designs.

Initially fueled by Harlem's fashion-forward spirit, Ilona found validation in the countless compliments on her wardrobe, solidifying her determination to press onward. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst, intensifying her inspiration. Ilona would soon pack her bags and make her move to Atlanta in pursuit of the new business venture.

“I got looped into this Cigar Week that happens every September as a vendor, and I was like, ‘I have to make this into a business!’”  

This event alone ended up exploding Ilona’s business for the better.

“I feel like I walked into a God-given talent,” she said confidently. “I always make an effort to do something that others are not doing.” After achieving some notable success over time, Ilona eventually opened a shop in Hapeville in September 2023.

Ilona credits her Harlem roots with her creative drive and says it formed the foundation of her love of work in SoFu.When asked what she expects next for Fedora Designs, Ilona has high hopes of becoming a household name, as well as a designer for New York Fashion Week.

Find her designs at

“I've always loved suits and neutral colors and stuff like that. Living in Harlem gave me the freedom to start to experiment with fur and bright colors and really express my fashion and walk in a way that [makes me] pop. I feel like [Harlem] really set that foundation for me… Atlanta gave me the freedom and free reign to dress the way I want to dress. Atlanta has been more of an open and friendly environment. I feel like I've come alive when it comes to fashion and design and creativity here. Everything just comes easier here.”