by Jenna’e Rainney
Fashion has always captivated the attention of Americans as well as others all over the globe. From television shows such as Project Runway to America’s Next Top Model, fashion is everywhere. On the other hand, there are the designers, the brilliant and creative minds behind these pieces of clothing that we pick out of our closets each morning. These are people who are born with a gift. Locally, there is one gentleman in particular that has this special gift. Fashion Designer Michael Taylor knows just how to keep his clients coming back for more.
“I would say that I knew I would be involved in fashion at the age of 11,” Taylor says. “I took a home economics class and from that point on I knew that I had an interest in fashion. I had teachers that said that I had a gift.”
At the age of 12, Taylor was already working his first apprenticeship with a tailoring shop here in Richmond called Pollard Tailors. A year later he began to work at local clothing shops Cavalier and S&K Men’s Wear. For the next four years, he apprenticed as a tailor and became more skillful at his craft. At the age of 16, he decided to make fashion his career goal. An early start is always great for any career, and Michael was headed straight for success.
In 1986, Taylor moved on to Virginia Commonwealth University for one year, then transferred to Parson’s School of Design in New York where he graduated a few years later. For 16 years, he grew a business in the heart of New York. “I never thought that I would end up back here in Richmond,” says Taylor. But when his mother became ill, he left behind a business and many clients and friends to take care of her.
In December of 2005, he started Michael Taylor Couture or Price Point Couture. He has done pieces for clients in Richmond, Norfolk and Northern Virginia. This line features sportswear, evening wear and ensembles for special occasions. The price of a Michael Taylor evening gown can range from 1,500 to 4,000 dollars. He has a range of clients, from various senators and delegates here in Virginia, local doctors and lawyers, and “Community Clovia,” radio host on Kiss FM 105.7. Taylor has even designed a gown for Dr. Alma C. Hobbs, Virginia State University’s Dean of Agriculture, for her to wear at an inaugural ball. He’s worked with musical artists Nancy Wilson, the late Phyllis Hyman, and the singing group Dru Hill. Taylor also teaches classes for Virginia State University’s fashion department.
So what exactly brought this talented man to VSU’s campus? “I was recruited,” he answers. “I felt that because it is an Historically Black College, it is important as an African American male to be an example for one to be successful in a competitive field, and to share world, global, current experience in the fashion world in the classroom.”
Taylor has some advice for anyone who is heading toward the fashion industry: “The most important advice that I would give if anyone has a passion or strong interest in the fashion industry is to link themselves with someone in the business for advice and guidance,” he recommends. “They should also research schools that offer programs for what they are interested in. An apprenticeship or internship should also be done whether with one or with various companies.”
Michael Taylor’s Style on Any Budget
- Identify your body type.
- Pear shaped: small on the top and larger at the bottom
- Upside down triangle: smaller on the bottom and larger on the top
- Tubular: Round from top to bottom
- Identify your lifestyle and your particular need for dressing. Are you shopping for career? For casual everyday life?
- Know the proper undergarments. The proper undergarments help create an illusion for different types of clothes, different silhouettes and various fabrics.
- Learn a great color palette that works for your skin tone.
- Recognize what basic wardrobe pieces are versus fashion accessories. This will allow you to create many different looks with just a few items.