Monday, April 5, 2010

Woman of Style: Fashion Designer Toni Whitaker

Fashion designer Toni Whitaker's name is often on the lips of some of Houston's most fashionable women and we all know that Houston has it's fair share of elegantly dressed women... from couture clad Lynn Wyatt to the impeccably dressed Eileen Lawal and other fashionable bold faced names of Houston's philanthropic and social stratosphere.

The inside of her eponymous Atelier

Toni Whitaker has celebrated 25 years in business designing couture and Ready-to-Wear for women who want simple elegance and one of kind creations. She may not be designing out of New York or Paris, so don't let her location fool you because this woman is a major player in the fashion industry.
Fashion designer Toni Whitaker

A native of Camden, South Carolina, Toni Whitaker received her B. S. degree in apparel design from Syracuse University and earned a second B.S. degree in textile technology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Before moving to Houston in 1982, Whitaker taught at Arizona State University in Tempe. In Texas, she has taught courses ranging from the history of costume and clothing design to visual merchandising at Texas Southern University, the University of Houston and Prairie View A&M University. Toni, who like most fashion designers has also used her designer talents to create costumes for several Houston area theatrical stage plays.

Lately Toni has been showing her beautiful fashion illustrations in exhibitions throughout the Houston area and hopefully these will also be sold to the public in the near future. I wanted to discover what propels designers to design their collections, so what better way than to ask them... so ask I did. Here she talks about her inspirations and what inspires her. Check out my Q & A session with Toni Whitaker.

 D: When did you first fall in love with fashion?
 Toni: As a child watching my beautiful mom making her own clothes.

D: What do you enjoy most about being a fashion designer?
Toni: Being free

D: How do you find inspirations for your designs?
Toni: African textiles. I'm an old movie buff because I love the old 'Hollywood Glamour.'

D: What are your wardrobe must haves and which ones should most women have in their closets?
Toni:The Toni Whitaker Little Black Dress.

D: Other than yourself, which other fashion designers do you admire and why?
Toni: Christian Lacroix for his use of color and costume and Oscar de la Renta for that sassy Latin flare

D: What are some of your favorite shopping destinations?
Toni: London and New York for fabrics.

D: I see that you are heavily involved with philanthropy. Which agency's are near and dear to your heart? 
Toni: Museum of Cultural Arts Houston, The Gregory School, and Project Row Houses.

D: Can you remember your first client and how did it make you feel?
Toni: Walking in a room and seeing people wearing your designs. Cloud nine.

D: What are your plans for your brand for the future?
Toni: Having my RTW collections in small boutiques.

D: Last but not least, I love your fashion illustrations and are they now available for sale?
Toni: Sold my first piece at the MFA benefiting 5A. Had my first private show at Mixed Emotions fine Art, then Museum of Cultural Arts Houston.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to introduce you to my readers and possibly the world.

Another One of Toni's Beautiful Fashion Illustrations

To learn more about this talented and beautiful fashion designer check out Toni's site here. Follow her on Facebook.
(Photos: Courtesy of the designer)

1 comment:

Shani Strothers said...

Daer Ms Whitaker, Please contact me ASAP 215.253.2134 Re: DKG. PS I LOVE YOUR FASHIONS.


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