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Tremaine Pollydore launched his line of bowties and accessories in 2012, with the hope of eventually designing full clothing lines. His aspiration is now a reality. During the 2019 Designers Choice Fashion Preview (DCFP), held April6, Pollydore watched as models walked the runway in his latest collection.
“I’ve always drawn well,” Pollydore said. “And I’ve always had an interest in fashion. In 2012, [gospel artist] Tye Tribbett became really popular, and his style, wearing bowties and suspenders, also became popular. I decided to capitalize on the trend and sell bowties.”
With that, Maine Attraction Bowtie and Accessories was founded. Pollydore humbly admits his first versions of the accessory were a bit crude.
“I glued them together. The first lady of my church said, ‘You cannot sell these for $25,’ so I taught myself to sew.”
He also added lapel pins and ascots to his offerings; in 2014, he added scarves, and last fall, ponchos. He recently changed the name to Maine Attraction by TPolly Designs to reflect the company’s expanded offerings.
Pollydore’s experience with DCFP began several years by volunteering backstage at the fundraiser.
“Tremaine was my stage manager for several years. He’s always been so optimistic and positive,” Theresa Timmons Shamberger, founder of DCFP said.
When this year’s designer call was announced, one of Pollydore’s friends encouraged him to audition.
“He said, ‘You need to think bigger than just ties and scarves,’ so I decided to take the leap,” Pollydore said.
Shamberger said, “I had no idea he was auditioning. When he walked in, I was so surprised and excited to see him. I had no idea what to expect, but we were impressed with his designs.”
His selection was a dream come true as well as being his biggest challenge to date (before the show, his most challenging task had been producing 44 ties in just three days!). However, he did not have to go it alone. Famed designer, Korto Momolu, has been a part of DCFP from its inception and acts as a mentor for many of the designers, and this year, she took Pollydore under her wing.
“She really encouraged me and taught me so much about design and sewing, how to drape and how to rethink the purpose and design of my pieces. I cannot express how much I appreciate her input,” Pollydore said.
Her advice and his tenacity proved to be invaluable for the budding designer as he — like so many entrepreneurs — still works a “9-to-5 job”.
“I usually do a pretty good job balancing the two; however, preparing for this show required a lot. I used all my vacation time preparing for Designers Choice. It was worth it — I firmly believe that my job is a stepping stone. Fashion and design are my destiny.”
Pollydore said he has learned many valuable lessons as a result of participating in DCFP.
“You cannot allow fear to hold you back. Taking that first step is the way to overcome fear.” He added that being chosen as the Fan Favorite at this year’s show was a surprising honor. “It’s pretty unbelievable. I’m still in awe.”
His designs included cardigans, kimonos and ponchos with an emphasis on Afrocentric patterns. The audience at DCFP overwhelmingly responded positively to the pieces, so much so, that Pollydore won the event’s first ‘Fan Favorite’ award.
For Pollydore, the show was the beginning of the realization of his dream. “Being able to see my family members’ smiles was my greatest reward.”
DCFP is an annual charity event benefitting Timmons Arts Foundation. The nonprofit foundation benefits area students through various partnerships with schools and other nonprofits.
The foundation also hosts and sponsors a summer camp during which students are exposed to and receive hands-on instruction from working professionals in music, theatre, vocal arts, dance and fashion design. The camp culminates in a production during which participants like Pollydore realize their dreams, displaying their crafts and talent on stage.
Photos courtesy of Brian Chilson at Arkansas Times.
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