City stories: Belkis Whyte, 29, in Harlem

A sidewalk interview with a New Yorker: "Beyoncé wore two of my pieces this year—it didn't give me validation, though."

Photograph: Jorge Quinteros

I love your outfit!
I love a lot of color and print. I think it makes you happier, even if you're having a bad day. I'm a designer. I own a brand and I also have a full-time job designing activewear. Well, they're both full-time jobs, but one's 24/7 and one's just 9-to-5.  

What's special about your line?
Beyoncé wore two of my pieces this year, which was amazing. It gives people more validation; it makes them more comfortable wearing bright colors and bold prints. Like, "Oh, Queen B's wearing it, let me wear it!" It didn't give me validation, though. I'm like, "It was here before that."

What have you learned since moving to New York?
If you come in treating people like monsters, they're going to act like monsters. But if you treat them like people, then they're more like, "You're looking for tomatoes? This is the best place to get tomatoes."