Catching Up with Sharene Wood ’94
This year, 5001 FLAVORS, of which Wood is president and CEO (Guy is the primary designer), celebrates its 25th anniversary, and it continues to thrive. The company has been consultant-based from the start and still gets many of its clients by referral. It has outfitted stars on their rise from obscurity to fame, creating head-turning styles for musicians such as Usher, Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys, and sports figures such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens wore a Cher-inspired custom-made 5001 ensemble in May, when she co-hosted the Billboard Awards. Now the brand even works with the children of the artists they’ve outfitted — “generational clients” such as Will Smith’s son and daughter, Jaden and Willow, and members of RUN-DMC and their kids.
Wood is proud of all they’ve accomplished: “We had a reputation — fans, followers and customers — so there’s a mix of people who understand the legacy of 5001,” she says. “And now we have a new group from the community that knows us as Harlem Haberdashery; we work with them on philanthropic initiatives.” The store holds regular events that bring out a “who’s who” of Harlem socialites and industry professionals — “rainmakers and tastemakers from very different parts of the world,” Wood says.
The store maintains historical archives of the 5001 FLAVORS brand: books of looks and items that have become part of iconic pop and hip-hop imagery, like the leather jacket Biggie Smalls wore on the July 1995 cover of magazine The Source — a look that many image makers have tried to recreate. For the company’s 25th anniversary, the Woods will create a display of widely recognizable looks created for clients ranging from Tupac Shakur to DJ Khaled. “If you know and love this artist or this image, then you know us,” Wood says. “So Harlem Haberdashery can thrive off the client history of 5001.”
For Wood, Harlem Haberdashery is the intersection of family, fashion, fun and entertainment. “I don’t look at it as just a retail store; it’s more like a salon or a community center,” she says. “I’ve had a few people walk in and back out, because they think they’ve accidentally walked into my home.”
Wood’s next goal is to begin mass distribution of the Harlem Haberdashery brand, expanding into home and beauty lines. “I want to take the sensibility of Harlem into the world and celebrate heritage, legacy and tradition.”