Shawn D. Florence
I am living a dream bigger than I could have dreamed for myself...
I'm living to show that "God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself."-Oprah.
At a young age Shawn D. Florence has already begun to make his mark in the fashion industry. Born and raised in Fort Worth Texas, Shawn began to polish his own eye-catching sense of style into a signature look while studying at the University of North Texas.
After finishing his final year of work on his masters degree in Europe in 2003, he returned to Texas with vast expertise in international designs and set out to launch his own private label, Paparahzzi Couture. What started off with a few signature t-shirts has now blossomed into a full fledge line of womens ready-to-wear looks and couture designs for men, women and children.
From being a semi-finalist on Tommy Hilfigers The Cut to styling shoots in New York for platinum selling recording artists, Shawn has become known as a go-to style star and fashion guru. His work styling and designing for a number of celebrity clients in the area while at the same time lending his critical fashion knowledge to columns and reviews for various fashion mags and blog-sites, has stamped him as an industry insider. This industry experience along with his appearances on the TLC networks hit reality fashion show, What not to Wear: Wannabe, as the funny, controversial fashion expert has made him a blooming style star to watch for.
"It is my dream to be one of the few African American designers to launch a full on luxury life-style brand without having used entertainment as the launching pad," he says. "Most of the major African American fashion designers with credible labels are not true designers, they came from careers in entertainment and used that power to propel them in the world of fashion. I am behind the machine and sketch every one of my own designs, it just so happens that I am talented and entertaining while doing it.
I am not just a designer, I have been blessed with an "it factor" that allows me to do anything I put my mind to and do it well," he adds. I want my label to be a major luxury brand in the ranks with such greats as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. And I know that will take hard work."
Shawn boasts that his line is not for the trendy, but the trendsetters, and not for the fashion conscious, but the fashionista.
To me a Fashionista is someone who doesn't just wear their clothes; they feel them. They don't simply follow trends; they set them. Fashion is style exemplified through ones self-expression. It is a swagger that is confident, cool and most of all effortless. It's not in a brand; it's in you. To be able to set your sense of style on auto-pilot is having mastered the art of fashion.
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photo: Sterling T. Steves