Andrea Serrano is the walking poster-child for the phrase, “dynamite comes in small packages.” I’ve never seen her when she’s not sporting a cute pair of trendy heels, but she couldn’t be more than 5’4 with them. Her head gets lost in a crowd, and her adorable frame barely casts a shadow. However, a little beam of light seems to shoot out of the top of her head signaling and drawing people her way. She has an energy about her that’s nuclear, and with one bright flash, she expands her wave across Charleston. It’s a wave decorated with Taxidermy purses, and Dandy Boutique accessories, but that goes much further than skin deep.
The first thing I noticed about The Charleston Shop Curator was that, well, frankly my dear, she does give a damn. The word curator is derived from the latin word, cura, meaning “to care for” or “attend to.” And this is exactly what Andrea Serrano does. She is the warm nest for Charleston designers and boutique owners to come home to. She is the mother hen of the LowCountry fashion industry, and not only promotes it, but nurtures it. She is passionate about fashion, and has channeled that passion into promoting dreams, life, people, and even charity. Just last week she co-hosted the Toy Drop & Shop with Be the Change Boutique, an adorable King Street gem that gives back with every purchase. Andrea was able to collect a mountain of toys for MUSC Children’s hospital, while still promoting a great business, and playing with beautiful things. She’s found a way to do what she loves and make a living at it, while still managing to give back and help other locals thrive. How did she do this? Simple. She grows, she adapts, she evolves.
Andrea hasn’t been without struggle in her life, but still has a grin on her face while she tells me about them. She seems to smile kindly on her meager childhood recalling the days when window shopping was the highlight of her life. She adds, “I loved to shop with what money we had,” with a tone of gratitude. She then recalled playing dress up, getting creative, and picking out her mother’s outfits for fun. What she unknowingly did, was lay the groundwork for the future fashion powerhouse she’d become.
Once out of school, Andrea started her long and bumpy journey to becoming Charleston’s fashion guru. She worked for a major player in the industry where she ran ridiculous errands, and experienced her “devil wears Prada” moment. She bounced from large city to large city, finding crossroads and dare-to-be-great moments at every intersection. She worked with huge celebrities like Janet Jackson, Christy Brinkley, and Tommy Hilfiger. But, she started to feel an itch for a slower pace, and like so many others, followed the scent of freshly brewed sweet tea to the cobblestone streets of Charleston.
Even though Andrea adored Chucktown from day one, she experienced ebb and flow in her new home. A major ebb dominated 2008 when she closed her beloved boutique, B’Zar, due to a struggling economy. However, she didn’t shut that door and simply leave her blood, sweat, and tears in the empty space inside. She gathered it, put it back into her body, and breathed life into herself again. She clawed her way out of the year that left so many feeling hopeless, and stood up out of the rubble to become a costume shopper for the show, Army Wives. In respect to this time period in her life she says, “You don’t just sit on your ass and complain and wish. You do something.” Again, she evolved.
Designing sets and photo shoots, along with her experiences as a personal shopper, Andrea was finally ready to take her throne as the genteel queen of King Street. She now proudly serves as the Charleston Fashion Curator, and host of LowCountry Live’s Fashion Friday. So here, we’ve come to another happy ending, where a strong LowCountry woman refused to settle for a dream that wasn’t hers, bucked against adversity, and made evolution her revolution. She looked me straight in my eye, just as she had the eye of all that’s ever come against her and said, “I’m a survivor. I can tell ya that.”
by Lorna Hollifield
Learn more about Andrea by following the links below!