By N. Ali Early, RollingOut.com
Detroit native Toni Green has always had a knack for knowing what looks good. Be it the time she redesigned her prom dress or the many years she spent as a wardrobe stylist among Atlanta’s hip-hop elite, her fashion sense has always been dependable and unique.
Most recently, Green has taken her designing exploits to the next level by honoring the city that raised her. She took some time to discuss with us her entrepreneurial-inspired clothing line — Detroit Player — while sharing valuable tips based on her moving climb to success.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream of designing?
My grandmother. I would spend my summer vacations with her in Mississippi, where she was the local town seamstress. I would take the scraps from the material that she used to make clothing and design clothing for my Barbie dolls. Once I started this as a young girl, I would find myself in stores not even liking the clothes and wanting to create my own designs. I knew this was my passion when I cut up and redesigned my prom dress as a senior in high school. I wanted to make a statement wearing my original design.
What was your first creative position, and what did you learn that you apply today to your professional creative practice?
I worked as a wardrobe stylist assistant for rap music video shoots in Atlanta in the early 2000s. The local rap artists were really making a move on the scene and it was a great learning experience having so many opportunities. I worked with rap artists and models and learned so much about their independent styles. I learned that people like to be unique and different, so that fueled my ambition to create.
What has changed drastically from when you first started designing?
When I first started designing, I was looking for inspiration from other professionals, but now I am [an] inspiration to others.
How does social media play a role in design and marketing fashion and culture today?
Social media has managed to revolutionize virtually every industry in the world. In the fashion world, social media has brought innovation, connectedness, and diversity to the industry. Social media had enabled consumers to feel more connected to fashion, as it has created a platform for social influencers to display their uniqueness while collaborating with fashion companies.
What are three of the best things about being a designer?
1. I am able to inspire others through my creativity.
2. I can make a positive difference in the world.
3. I take pride in seeing people wearing clothing that I designed.
Which three designers share a creative kinship with your vision?
Supreme, Kith and Bathing Ape are three designers that have created successful collaborations with established brands and reputable artists. They produce iconic designs that are globally known and highly supported by a range of fashionistas.
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