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Face of the CVPA – Thomy Owens

Thomy Owens

Thomy Owens with his designs from the Artis Junior Fashon Design Scholarship Competition. Photograph by Elizabeth Dreher RU'14.

Thomy Owens is a junior fashion design major and winner of the Artis Junior Fashion Design Scholarship Competition. We asked him about his passion for fashion design, designing for alumna Nancy Artis and what it was like to hear that he was the winner of the Artis Competition. His answers follow:

1. Where are you from originally?

A: Grundy, Va., but I grew up in Belspring in Pulaski County.

2. What is your major and minor?

A: I am majoring in fashion design and minoring in art with a concentration in jewelry and metalsmithing

3. How long have you been interested in fashion design?

A: I have always known that I wanted to make clothes because it has always interested me. For me, it is like making and putting together your own puzzles.

4. How did you feel when you discovered you were going to be given an opportunity to design a garment for the fashion design scholarship competition?

A: I was excited; it was the first time that we had been given the opportunity to design something for a real person. We always have fictional clients, so to have a chance to listen to someone else’s needs and ideas was very exciting.

5. How would you describe the style of the design you created for the competition?

A: Classic. I feel as if the competition changed my design aesthetic slightly. I do not usually design evening gowns or drapey, flowy long dresses, but I have found myself doing a lot more of that since the competition.

6. How long did it take you to come up with your design for the competition and sketch it out?

A: We worked on the project the entire fall semester. We started with 25-plus preliminary thumbnail sketches and picked about five to design. From those five, we made five more. From the 10, we picked a final five, and with those final five, we illustrated them in different fabric combinations. Finally, we picked a final, FINAL five to present to Mrs. Artis.

7. How many designs did you come up with for the competition?

A: There was a final-five design group, but preliminary sketches were around 30. We started with a lot of ideas and weeded out the ones that were not appropriate for what we needed.

8. Have you had an opportunity to design any other garments previously?

A: We designed and produced garments nonstop during the competition. As far as designing for a real person, I have never done that before.

9. What was it like having an opportunity to work with Mrs. Artis?

A: It was fun to have someone else give feedback on my designs. We did not always like the feedback, and the whole process was done anonymously. Basically, she did not know whose work she was criticizing, but it was a fun, stressful and ultimately a rewarding process.

10. How did you feel when Mrs. Artis announced that you are the first place winner of the competition?

A: When she called the three finalists all I could think was “Wow, I won third place!” Then, when third place was announced, and it wasn’t me, all I could think was “Wow, I won second place!” Then, when she called second place and it still was not me, I was in disbelief. I did not expect to be awarded a place in the competition, and I certainly did not expect to win first place. It was and still is quite the honor.

11. What or whom inspires your design style?

A: Anything and everything. It’s a generic answer, but it is true.

12. If you could work with any designer in the world, who would you work with?

A: I honestly don’t know. I idolize many designers and find inspiration from many different kinds of designers – probably Dior or Valentino. I find a lot of inspiration from Dior’s work of the 1950s, and Valentino puts out remarkable couture lines every season; to be around that kind innovation would be incredible.

Feb 24, 2014
Sabrina Anderson – CVPA Grad Assistant

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