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Rising Stars: Meet D’on Lauren Edwards

Today we’d like to introduce you to D’on Lauren Edwards.

Hi D’on, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My father had a great influence in allowing me to pursue a career in fashion design. As a fellow designer in the footwear industry, I have grown up surrounded by design, sketches, and learning about the industry.

After battling continuous ongoing autoimmune issues, I had no choice but to discontinue pre-professional ballet training. I began thinking about what career direction I wanted to pursue next. I have always had a love and interest for fashion design and my father strongly encouraged me to put as much focus and discipline into my work as a fashion designer as I did with ballet.

The more I focused and worked on my skills in design, the more I fell in love with the craft and explored where I could see myself in this industry. Today, I am a designer who is constantly learning and growing within the industry from apparel, accessory, footwear, and product design.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
So far it has been a smooth journey. I have been blessed with wonderful opportunities, and I have had great guidance from mentors who have helped me along the way.

Some of the struggles I have faced were trying to be forced into a category of apparel design that was not my aesthetic or what I wanted to design. This experience, showed me that you have to block out the noise or outside opinions on what you want to design.

Follow your gut instinct and passion and create the vision that you want to come to life. Always find joy when designing.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a fashion and accessory designer specializing in evening wear/couture and dress footwear and accessories. My designs focus on the technical fit and diverse sizing, especially for petite women such as myself.

Combining that with sustainability principles is the design language that defines my vision for how I fit into the fashion industry. Through some of my life’s challenges, I learned to use them to influence my work and design with purpose.

From my love of ballet, I took that discipline, drive, and influence and applied it to my work in fashion and accessory design. The work that I am most proud of is completing my first collection. I enjoyed the process from start to finish.

It was incredible to see the transformation of my vision from sketches, muslins, and final garments come to life.

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I would say that I am a huge risk taker and follow my gut instinct because I truly believe the biggest risk is not taking any risk at all. I am a true believer in taking risks because you never know what opportunity may lie ahead and may lead you closer to your dreams and passion.

A major risk that I took was applying for the CFDA design competition last year in 2021. My project was based on prison reform for incarcerated youth. I faced negative criticism regarding the project which created doubt within me and built up so much stress and pressure which impacted my health negatively. I made the decision to take off the spring quarter which could have impacted my course structure and graduated late.

However, taking that risk was the best decision because during that time I focused on the CFDA design project, worked through the details and perfected it, and also had time to polish my portfolio and network. By mid-summer, everything paid off. I was announced the winner of the competition.

That was a major confirmation of my decision. I was able to finish my prerequisite classes during the summer and began my Senior year and graduate on time.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photographer: Hadley Stambaugh, Photo Assist: Patrick Cox, Designer/Model: D’on Lauren Edwards, Models: Brianna Roberts and Saima Hussain, Creative Director: Siobhan Bonnouvrier, Producer: Ryan King, Photo Producer: Jenny Upperman, Wardrobe Stylist: Mitchell Hall, Makeup Artist: Naomi Hannon, Hair stylist: Latecka Moore-Early, and Floral Assist: Ivy Kost-Vanhoose

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