Ask me if dreams come true and I’ll have to tell you, “Yes they do.” At least they did for fashion designer Leon Parham, when he won the 2014 Easter Seals Fashion Uncorked Designer Competition. Parham competed with nine other fashion designers for the title of Easter Seals Fashion Uncorked 2014 Winner.
“Mama’s Boy … nothing else matters but what hits the runway.” ~Leon Parham
The MyMeApparel Atlanta Fashion Examiner checked in with Parham, on February 28, 2014, to speak on what this win means for him and to see what else he has up his sleeve as far as his future designer plans.
Easter Seals Fashion Uncorked Fashion Designer Competition
But, first, for those of you who may not know, the Easter Seals of North Georgia has been provider of much needed services for the disabled, specifically children, and their families for years.
“Easter Seals’ therapist and teachers provide services to more than 3,000 children on a daily basis.” ~Fashion Uncorked Facebook, ‘About’ statement.
In 2010, Norma Center, Director of Development of Easter Seals of North Georgia, had a brainstorm that evolved into the annual designer competition known as Fashion Uncorked. “Uncorked”, is manifested as the unleashing of new talent into the fashion industry. Ten designers are selected to showcase their designs, utilizing special needs child models and local adult models. One designer is crowned each year, with previous winners also showcasing their collections. The winner receives a round trip package to Los Angeles, California (including airfare and a two-night hotel stay); magazine photo-spread and other prizes.
This year's fashion show theme was titled "Decades" showcasing designs from years 1900 - 2000. The show took place in the exquisite 200 Peachtree venue in Atlanta, Ga.,
“Easter Seals … Currently listed as the 27th largest Non-Profit Organization in Georgia and one of the top 100 charities out of 819,000 charities to support by Worth Magazine.”
~Fashion Uncorked Facebook, ‘About’ statement.
Leon Parham, Fashion Uncorked 2014 Winner
Hailing from the small town of Petersburg, Virginia, Parham is a man on a mission. His life’s purpose is the wellbeing and happiness of his children. He desire is to create a legacy from them in the fashion of strength and determination. After a half of a lifetime of being a devoted family man, Parham stretched his wings to jump back into fashion. Fashion design was a pastime he had as a child, with dreams of becoming a singer, Parham was bent on resurrecting clothing into garments worthy of the ‘Soul Train’ line. (While speaking to Parham, he reminisced on how he used to sew on fringes and other embellishments to his jeans and jackets.)
Parham also had a knack for barbering and opened a shop in Atlanta, Georgia. While at work, a chance encounter put him in the cross-hairs of musical phenomenon Andre 3000. After exposing Andre 3000 to some of his designs, Parham went on to create some garments for him. With timing being just right, it just so happened that their encounter took place right at the height of Andre 3000’s musical career. When Andre 3000 took the to the red carpet at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremonies, he was emblazoned with Parham’s cutting edge designs. Andre 3000 chose Parham’s designs twice more for the covers of “Rolling Stone” and the “Source” magazines, also in 2007. What a great year for Parham, as it relates to his brand exposure, right? Well it gets better, in the same year, Andre 3000 was selected one of the best dressed men in the world and Blair Underwood sported a classic, pin-stripped Parham original, during his appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Always one to go after what he wants, and always wanting more, Leon Parham soon found himself enrolled in the Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, where he is currently in pursuit of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design.
So, why school now, after forty years of fashion design, thirty years of barbering & salon ownership, mixed in with real estate and child rearing? Parham’s answer is very simple. He realized that he had never been formally trained and the opportunity presented itself for him to remedy that. He also made reference to something a friend told him once – “If you ever get the opportunity for education, never turn it down.” – and that he hasn’t. Indeed, he has maximized the opportunity by becoming the assistant to the Program Coordinator of the AiA-D Fashion & Merchandising Department, Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds. He cites receiving invaluable mentorship from Dr. Hammonds and appreciation for his concern for the AiA-D students and commitment to what he does.
“This is going to be my year. Most of the purpose of going back to school has been realized.”
~ Leon Parham, Easter Seals Fashion Uncorked 2014 winner
Parham continues to be within an arm’s reach of celebrity interest, in November 2013, “Desirable” magazine featured Lisa Raye adorned in a futuristic signature white gown, a Leon Parham creation.
He is currently packing his bags to head to Charlotte, North Carolina and later to L. A. Fashion Week in Los Angeles, California to partake in his Fashion Uncorked winnings.
Upon his return, he seeks to hit the ground running, sharpening his branding tools and expanding his connects within the fashion and entertainment industry, all in efforts to increase exposure to his brand and lay the foundation for continued longevity within the industry.
When asked what his greatest accomplishments are, after a slight pause, Parham confessed that there are two answers to that question. From others perspectives, it would be the “Rolling Stones” magazine cover. From his own perspective, “it would have to be [the] raising of [his] children, owning [his] own business and continuing to enjoy what [he] is doing, while keeping it fresh and new”.
Want to stay up to date with what’s more in store for Leon Parham, visit his official website, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 404.587.5873.
Also, be sure to check out the video attached for a clip of Leon Parham, in his own words.
Kudos to you, Leon Parham! We wish every good thing for you!