Once again, I was provided with an amazing opportunity, thanks to the fashion merchandising department here at Fontbonne. With my Advanced Apparel Production and Evaluation class, we visited a local fashion designers’ studio. His name is A.J. Thouvenot, and he was a competitor on Project Runway a few years ago (which is the only TV show I have seen every single second of). I was fortunate enough to meet him last year when he was a guest speaker for a different class. I also assisted with dressing his models during his show at St. Louis Fashion Week in Delmar Loop this past fall.
Despite the fact that I’ve encountered A.J. a couple times already, I still learned a lot from him. He lives in an apartment complex in downtown St. Louis that is housing solely for artists. So, we got to see some of the crafts and tools used by the various residents. Then, we toured the space where he designs and constructs garments. He showed us inspiration mood boards, how he makes clothing patterns, unique printing methods, etc. A.J. also discussed some of the marketing and number-crunching work involved in running your own business. I am impressed by his knowledge and the amount of work he invests into his business. After class was formally over, I stuck around for a little bit longer so I could ask him some questions. And, I got a better look at some of the garments he has made. I felt like some of the looks were created just for me. His aesthetic is very colorful, funky, and playful just like mine.
I am always so grateful of the places I get to go and the people I get to meet, thanks to the wonderful faculty at Fontbonne. From studying abroad to exploring NYC to working backstage at Fashion Week, I feel like I’m living the life. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to A.J. and being surrounded by his creative work and outgoing personality. He is definitely an inspiration, causing me to believe that fantasies can be turned into a reality.
This is the dress, designed and constructed by A.J. Thouvenot, that I tried on at his studio.
In my personal opinion, the best thing you can do in the fall in St. Louis is go out and enjoy the beauty of the season! This past week, a few friends and I went out hiking in Castlewood State Park. It was such a nice, peaceful change of scenery from campus and the city and provided some much needed stress relief for all of us! We took a 3 mile hike through the woods and were just awed by the lovely changing leaves. Whenever I’m feeling stressed out with homework and classes and life in general, I’m going to try to go out and hike again. I’m so very glad we found Castlewood, and I hope that we can go out there again soon!