Where are you from and what brought you to Houston?
I’m originally from the small town of Floydada, Texas (I know – you’ve never heard of it) in the Texas Panhandle. I used to spend every summer in Houston with family, so when I graduated from college (University of North Texas), I moved here permanently. I love home, but unless I planned on being a farmer, there really was no career path for me there.
When did you discover you had a passion for fashion?
I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember. My first magazine subscription as a teenager was to Seventeen, where I would comb through and tab all of the clothes that I loved. I would also look at the celebrities in Ebony magazine, as they were glamorous representations of what I wanted to look like. I got to do my back-to-school shopping in Houston at stores like Joske’s and Craig’s, so I developed a love for really well made and unique clothes/ design.
How did your career path bring you to your current position?
Growing up, although it wasn’t discouraged, having a career in fashion wasn’t really discussed. So, I majored in business in college and worked for the majority of my career in healthcare sales, marketing and PR. I always longed to do “something” in fashion, so while I was in between jobs about 10 years ago (and after much prayer and planning), I started my own personal shopping/styling company, Style on Demand. I also began working at J. Landa jewelry in Rice Village as a part-time Assistant Manager to gain additional experience in the retail industry. I joined Fashion Group International, a professional organization for members of the fashion, home and beauty professions. FGI gave me exposure to fashion professionals working locally and around the world.
In 2012, I began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Houston Community College in the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department and in 2016, became a full-time. I now serve as the Program Coordinator over Fashion Merchandising. I absolutely love our students and think that HCC has a stellar fashion program (shameless plug…) that can compete with other better known schools across the country.
Who are the designers that influence you?
Diane Von Furstenberg, because I think the wrap dress was one of the single most important inventions in the world of fashion. I collect vintage DVF wrap dresses and what I love about them is that women of all sizes and shapes look good in them. Diane has also lived her life with passion and intent, which I admire.
Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld – I say them together because she was not only a trailblazer in the world of fashion, but I admire her strength and independence, and Karl, because he continues to keep the house of Chanel current, yet has stayed true to the brand’s aesthetic.
I’m also inspired by many of Houston’s up-and-coming designers – 86&90, Chester Paul Roberts and Deanna Laster, to name a few – who are all fresh and innovative in their design approach.
What do you think is the most important thing you can teach your students?
I think the single most important thing that I can teach my students is to have a strong work ethic, regardless of the task at hand. People will always recognize and respect that in you.
A strong second: Always look the part…because you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
How would you describe your fashion sensibility?
Complex yet also measured, just like me. I love a sporty look such as Adidas track pants and a cool t-shirt, but I also love dresses (I wear dresses over slim-legged pants a lot) and eclectic pieces such as caftans and statement jewelry. Classic, but always with a twist.
Biggest fashion regret?
Acid washed overalls from the 90’s. Somehow pictures of me in them keep resurfacing on social media when I thought I had destroyed them all!