Changing The Face of Fashion
The ART of The Runway
Thank you for being part of our zine! Please tell us about your beginnings in the industry!
After touring with Ebony Fashion Fair I returned back home and I start running a Modeling Agency. A lady by the name of Jimmy stopped by the Agency with her daughter Leah Thomas seeking Runway training. Leah was this very young shy adult who didn’t say much at all. With these small flaws, Leah also had Down syndrome. I wasn’t sure how I could help, but from my memory my mind was telling Jimmy and her daughter I’m not the right person for this. Before I knew it, I told Jimmy, sure let’s do this. Later that day, all I could think about is why did I say yes. I’ve never worked with anyone with Down syndrome or anyone with a disability. I had one week to get things together for Leah. I prayed about it and I came up with a small curriculum just off of what I gather from her in her first visit. After six months of working multiple curriculums, Leah was doing an excellent job. She started dating and she joined a weight loss program. That 7th month I put Leah in the other classes with everyone else and what do you know, she fitted right in. A year passed and I moved to LA. I started recruiting from different Down syndrome organizations to start my program in Los Angeles. I’ve went on several news stations and listed the program on Groupon just to get the word out. Well finally, I have 3 locations and now I’m putting fashion shows together for them. My very first show, “Shine Bright Like A Diamond“ this show was amazing. We had over 500 people there and 43 models to walk in the show. These models are not just thrown in the show, but they are trained professionally by me. Shine Bright Like A Diamond Fashion Show cast anyone with Down syndrome, Autism, DHH, ADHD and anyone that would like to model. January 12, 2020 makes our 3rd Annual Fashion Show and I am truly excited about it. Since I specialize in Down syndrome, I wanted to do something just for them. Now I have a show that’s traveling state to state casting individuals with Down syndrome. The show is called “Rocking My Extra Chromosome” we have already done a show in Memphis and LA and we have so many other places to visit. Now I’m looking for major companies to become donors and looking to expand internationally
Please share with us the Mission of Art of The Runway!
To utilize fashion industry financial and artistic resources to support and build confidence of teens and adults diagnosed with down syndrome.
Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I live in Los Angeles, CA but I’m originally from Memphis, Tn
Tell us about your goals for 2020 and beyond...
Goals moving forward are to get a documentary done, a book, touring different states with fashion shows, reality show and most of all spreading awareness
Any special challenges working within the fashion industry? Greatest achievements so far?
There are always going to be challenges, but the biggest one is getting sponsors. My greatest achievement so far would be my hustle and passion that keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it.
Of course my parents are my inspiration, but I’ll like to add Tyler Perry to the list.
Words of wisdom to share with your fans and followers out there?
Words of wisdom.... Don’t ever give someone power to write your book. They can only read it!!!