Architect and creator, the self-taught genius is the supreme master of honoring a woman’s body. He designs for all shapes and sizes with exquisite lines and bold color in hand-crafted couture that is charming on and off of the runway.
Q: What’s going on in your world presently? I’m taking in everything that life has given me after Project Runway. I’m just trying to translate or get well-adjusted to this newfound fame. I am meditating on my experiences and the amazing people I have met. I have been studying and nesting in my cocoon, getting ready to blossom. It is time to spread my wings and showcase my beauty in a different way. Previously, I designed to tell my story or create a story. I am realizing now that I am of a conscious designer, listening more to what people want. The variety in my clients allows me to play with shapes and design. The aesthetic that is naturally forming is one to complement any body shape in a way that is timeless.
Q: You have an intrinsic awareness of the woman’s body and you really embrace and showcase women’s curves. When I first started designing–well before anyone knew about me–I was accustomed to designing for any type of body shape. I have family members with a spectrum of body shapes. I think designing this way represents what’s happening and what’s real. Not everyone is one size, and not everyone has an outfit lay the exact same way. Therefore, it was best to exhibit the variety of ways that a design can fit. It’s really important to showcase that we’re all different. No one looks one way. I want to show others that how they are or who they are becoming is beautiful. My brand or my designs can help to intensify what is already beautiful.
“I’m taking my time because I want what I create to represent me, but I also represent women who are embracing the evolution of themselves. All we can do is listen to what the people want, and people are beginning to see themselves more.”
“My fashion line is meant to inspire and allow people to feel confident about themselves. The women who enjoy my brand are women that understand that they are works of art. They are accomplishing goals, they are lovers, they are providers, and they are strong. These are women who understand what they want out of life. I design for a person that is loving and caring, but also understands that what she’s wearing is more than just a garment. It’s her armor. It’s her story.”
“At nine-years-old, my aunt Faye-Dean Lacy taught me how to sew. I got my sewing machine at 13.”
Q: You’re an African American male designer. How you have come into owning your space in fashion and self-taught process? There used to be a time when I was embarrassed that I was self-taught. My aunt taught me around age 9, but I taught myself how to hand stitch. Everything that I needed to learn, I would always teach myself. Then, I got my sewing machine at 13. My mind has been a sponge; rather than assuming that I know everything, I’m not afraid to learn new techniques or study. Now, I am focusing on making the details matter rather than showing every trick up my sleeve. I’m learning that I am a designer who likes abstract shapes and architectural design.
Q: When did you realize that this was your calling? I think I realized that fashion was going to be my calling at 17. I got a call from a stylist who needed me to create two floor-length gowns. I went to the shoot and it was Elle Vietnam for designer Christian Siriano. Since my garments were paired with a designer of that caliber, I knew that this was my calling. I think that’s what keeps me grounded, humbled and appreciative of my craft. My gown is now at the Maryland Historical Society Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It is so weird saying that.