Fame and success can be addictive and often corrupts the person being affected, effectively turning them into an egomaniac. Fortunately, this is not the case with local fashion designer and winner of last year’s Oscar Design Challenge, Borris Powell. Powell has remained humble through his crowning achievement — showcasing a dress he designed on Oscar’s red carpet. Earlier this spring, the native Alabamian launched his menswear line to an eagerly awaiting crowd at the River East Art Center. –tony binns
How did the Oscar Challenge change your life?
Well, the Oscar Challenge changed my life without a shadow of doubt. I told myself I was going to have my dress on the red carpet, and then last year I win this challenge. I have not been sleeping because I have not stopped working since then. It’s been insane. It’s not work — this is something I love, it is my playground.
You credit your mother as a big influence on your fashion style. Talk about that.
My mom is a very southern, classic lady [in] that she loves to go out and she loves to be seen. She loves to dress up and she loves going out and partying with her girlfriends. No matter what she was doing as I was growing up, I always saw her impeccably dressed. That was an instant influence on me, so I grew up seeing what amazing fashion was supposed to be.
You introduced you men’s line. What kind of statement are you hoping to make?
Exactly what I evoke in my women’s wear — I want people to feel beautiful and comfortable when they go out. It’s all about enjoying yourself and getting dressed up. I think we need to dress up again.
What advice would you give other aspiring designers?
To know your voice … know just what you want to be remembered for. And if you’re getting into this Industry for the glitz and glamour, I would truly rethink it. It’s a beautiful world, this fashion industry but it’s a business at the end of the day … Know that you can’t do it all and that you will not be the best at every part of fashion, so surround yourself with amazing talented.