Twenty dollars worth of newspapers and a vision were all local fashion designer Lashanda White-Owens needed to create a statement worthy of rivaling the most eccentric of fashion icons.
Lady Gaga may have walked into the 2013 American Music Awards in a faux white horse Versace dress, but the fashion legend herself has never worn a dress made entirely of newspaper and duct tape.
White-Owens, a Noxue County native, moved to Columbus in 2009. She briefly worked for a construction company before devoting herself to her husband, children, and sewing.
“I’ve been sewing for six years now,” says White-Owens. “Two years ago, I paid more attention to the subject and started making handmade fashion.”
With an entrepreneurial flair as a young fashion designer, White-Owens opened her own business, Lux Code by Sean White, in 2019.
Finding a new place to create and a wealth of ideas, she immediately threw herself into creating women’s clothing lines.
She has been designing and promoting her business for the past three years until a Facebook post changed everything three days ago.
On Monday, White-Owens uploaded a series of images from her latest fashion design to Facebook. Model Tamaka “LilJones” Jones — owner of Salon 220 — posed outside a commercial in the visionary’s latest creation: a newspaper dress meant to double as a statement piece and a self-titled text.
It didn’t take long for the avant-garde dress to catch the attention of both the Columbus community as well as The Dispatch. The post has garnered hundreds of likes and comments along with dozens of shares.
“It was shocking and surprising,” she said. “I congratulated everyone because they thought the shot was a genuine article.
The idea for this particular dress came to White-Owens when she found it in a recent copy of The Commercial Dispatch. What she finds within the contents of each page is a world of potential – the possibility of transforming one work of art into another.
“Fashion is my passion. “I was looking at the papers and I noticed there was no fashion section in the paper,” White-Owens said. “There’s entertainment, news and lifestyle but no fashion.”
Determined to include fashion in the newspaper, White-Owens took it upon herself to “write her own article” in an unusual way. She enlisted the help of Jones and Mayfield Photography before embarking on a quest to create the dress.
“One random day I was like, ‘I want to have a script,’ and I talked to Mayfield and Jones and put[the concept and the shoot]together,” White-Owens said.
With a model and a photographer, the young designer had everything she needed to make her vision a reality. Everything except the dress.
Eagerly giddy, White-Owens began weaving her masterful web. She sent her husband to buy as many newspapers as he could for $20, measured Jones’ waistline, fashioned a dress out of polyester, and began folding and crumpling each newspaper until she was happy.
“It was very folded and taped down, fold on tape, fold and tape down until it was all together and I would put her around,” White-Owens said.
After each piece of paper was properly glued, she traced them onto the image of the model. The beautiful word for fashion and journalism took just two hours to complete.
“I think she knew I could jump into her vision. She’s very creative and I think she knew I could bring the vision to life,” Jones said. “I didn’t know what to wear. I just adjusted and helped her vision come together.”
Dressed in a paperback look, Jones posed for Mayfield in his shirt and soon the three were uploaded to Facebook and the rest is history. Well, a very recent story.
Since the post went viral, White-Owens has seen a lot more attention turn to her business and hopes to use her ideas to take her brand global in the coming years.
“Since the post went up, a lot more attention has turned to my business,” White-Owens said. “We haven’t had anyone reach out yet for partnerships or anything like that, but we’re definitely paying more attention (on social media).”
The dress stands as a testament to the endless potential of the creative mind and the abstract quest to reinvent fashion in newspapers.
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