Berkeley’s Keneuoe Vivere, procurer of tailor-made suits and dresses to the sartorially savvy, scored something of a coup recently when one of owner Keneuoe’s creations went all the way to the White House.

It happened when Nicole Zatarain Rivera, a 17-year-old student at International Studies Academy in San Francisco, was selected to represent WritersCorps at the White House when it won a prestigious National Arts and Humanities Award.

Melissa Hung, Nicole Zatarain Rivera and First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: Michael JN Bowles

Rivera is one of the many students who have benefited from WritersCorps, a youth program which works on engaging young people in the arts and humanities. The award was to be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama. So clearly, Rivera needed something special to wear.

Kron4’s Red Carpet Bay Area TV show stepped in to orchestrate a makeover and first stop was Keneuoe Vivere on College Avenue in the Elmwood for a custom-made suit for Rivera. WritersCorp program director Melissa Hung was also outfitted by Keneuoe.

Keneoue herself said the experience was exciting. “It was great to see a young artist and a great organization get recognized,” she said. “The clothes are made here in Berkeley and Nicole’s jacket is only one of two of those jackets that exist in the world.”  Asked about seeing her designs on the stage next to Michelle Obama, who is known for her fashion style, she said: “Michelle Obama is such a fashionable First Lady and to have her stand next to Nicole with Nicole looking fabulous felt wonderful. With all the complements Nicole  got, maybe we can also dress the First Lady next!”

Watch the video above for the full story.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...