By Rachele Viard

Melissa Dufour is a Haitian-American designer and creative designer and founder of the leisure line Sexy Sweats. The line has caught the attention of many women who are looking to move with confidence and feel good about themselves while striving to reach health and fitness goals.  

Dufour spoke to the Haitian Times, about her couture line, her entrepreneurial spirit, inspiration, and her vision for her brand.  Even though we are facing a difficult time as nation with the Cornavirus pandemic, the brand is still encouraging everyone to stay active and move however and when they can.

Dufour was diagnosed with severe arthritis at 25. It was so severe that doctors told her that she would have difficulty walking.  This diagnosis served as the impetus for the Sexy Sweats founder who became determined to overcome her illness.  The 33 year-old Miami resident was on  a quest  to achieve optimum health and an even healthier looking body.  Out of her discomfort, the brand Sexy Sweats was born.

HT:  What inspired you to start Sexy Sweats, did you always have aspirations to become a designer?

MD:  Looking back, I always dreamed of attending one of the Top Fashion Schools in New York City.  I thought that one day that I could have my line featured at one of the NY Fashion Week runways. But once I graduated high school, I did not pursue the dream.  In my family, having a solid profession was encouraged, so I opted to seek a degree in health management with the intention of pursuing a graduate degree in Sports medicine.  I received my degree in Health Management, however, I did not seek employment in this field either.

Four years ago, I dared to dream again. I put my fears aside, and started to draw again.  I gained the courage to transform the idea into a concrete plan.  Thus my creation – My Fitness lifestyle and love for fashion inspired Sexy Sweats!

HT: What was your journey as an entrepreneur?

MD:  My journey as an entrepreneur had its challenges. Like many start-ups, I experienced the highs, the lows and everything in between.  Far from easy, but I hear it’s all worth it.  Some days I’m extremely excited and other days it’s the total opposite.  I have grown a lot and learned a lot from both my limited success but more from my setbacks.  This experience has thought me a lot about business but more about myself.

HT: Is health and fitness an important part of your everyday life?

MD:  Yes it is.  I started to develop interest in health fitness in high school as a member of the track team nearly 20 years ago during my freshman year.  Being an athlete in high school has thought me discipline and has instilled my fitness lifestyle as an adult.  Over the past years, I become more conscious of nutrition. I’ve done personal research and change my eating habits, which has proven very beneficial to my health.

Melissa Dufour, creative designer and founder of Sweat Sexy

HT: What sets Sexy Sweats apart?

MD: I design each individual piece in my collection.  I focus more on the details.  I want to push the edge and go with more daring designs.  Each piece makes its own bold statement from its intricate stitching; to its slimming illusions while enhancing a woman’s silhouette.

Sexy Sweats is not just your average fitness apparel line, but rather a movement for women to showcase their confidence, sex appeal, and athletic lifestyle.

HT:  Are you personally or anyone you know in the fashion industry, helping or fundraising for COVID 19 relief?

MD: As a small business owner, I would love to help financially during this time but unfortunately I am not able to.  However, we decided to promote a fitness challenge to inspire our followers to stay active by working out in their homes or outdoors.  The winner will win a set of sweats from my line.

HT:  How would you say the industry has been effected by the pandemic?

MD:  I represent a lifestyle so I definitely have seen an increase in individuals being more active and working out during these times.  This trend has surprisedly helped boost sales for Sexy Sweats.

But during this Pandemic it is obvious that it has and continues to affect most industries dramatically.

Born into a Haitian family in Stone Mountain GA. , Rachele visited Haiti several times in her youth and connected to the country and the culture. She moved to Haiti in 2009, where she put her English degree to use as a writer, using her voice and pen to promote tourism in the country and highlight the richness of the Haitian culture and people.

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