Get Prom Scholar Ready With Fashion-Runway Designer Shahedah Williams

Shahedah Williams

Shahedah Williams is a 25 year old, stylish fashion-runway designer who just hit the Naomi Campbell walk with her swimsuit collection at Fashion Week 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa. She is founder of  Prom Scholar which is her company/platform that she uses to make prom dresses for graduating seniors in High School who may not be financially able to buy a prom dress of their own.

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Prom Scholar Women (2016) Designer Shahedah Textiles in the green dress and designer Manikin Mob in the blue dress

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Who inspired you to make clothes? 

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I was inspired to make clothes from the older women in my family. I learned how to sew in Carenage, Trinidad from my grandmother. Trinidad was where I  initially became introduced to sewing, and the art of being a creative. Growing up with a grandmother who sewed made a world of difference. My grandmother use to make custom matching outfits for my aunt and I. My aunt was like my older sister because we were very close in age. To me she was like a twin.

Was creating clothes something that came easy for you(self-taught) or did you have to invest in schooling for it? 

 At 8 years old I moved back to America where I participated in an after school art program which was a knitting class. Because I started knitting at such a young age, I am now an advanced knitter. Before the decision making to go to school for fashion design, I first decided to take YAW classes at Moore College of Art and design. YAW (young artist workshop) was created to expand the creativity for kids in grades 1-12. I really enjoyed the classes there so I decided to go to Moore.

ADVICE-For my ART students pursuing a college degree in the Tri-State Area:

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Don’t ever go to a college that is private unless they are willing to give you a healthy scholarship. My top choices before I attended Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia were Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Parsons School of Design in New York City, and Pratt School of Art in New York City. For me personally, Moore was a better choice and it was practical. I liked the location and I liked their amazing textile program. My favorite aspect of this school was their machinery for knitting which was what  sold me to attend the school in the first place.

 At what age did you decide to make your first design?

 When I was five I would put together little designs and use small scraps of fabric in size of small Barbie doll clothing. I thought people were the same size as Barbie clothing.

You recently you had your designs in Philly’s Fashion Week. What did it mean for you to be able to showcase your designs to the world?

Fashion week was a great opportunity. Honestly it was something new for me. My last big  gig was at a school which was a showcase that incorporated women’s ready-to-wear with a mix of evening-wear. It felt like I was debuting my new self because I transformed into a swimwear resort designer.

At any given time throughout your journey did you feel like your dreams were impossible?

 I did not think my dreams were impossible due to my very supportive family. My mom always encouraged me to go for what I wanted. I  know I will be successful someday. It may sound arrogant of me but I know me. I know I will be great.

What advice would you give to those who are looking to follow their dreams but is having a hard time staying positive?

My advice is to be practical about your dreams. Always do your research in the industry that you want to pursue. Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t let the negative energy of other’s obstruct you from pursuing your destiny. Learn to affirm the things that you want in ‘your’ life. Remember when you believe in yourself nothing else can stop you.

You are founder of an amazing company called Prom Scholar which enables young woman to be able to have FREE custom prom dresses on prom night. I wish I knew of people who was doing this when I was in high school because I personally opted out of prom night for financial reasons.

Please explain to me how Prom Scholar all started?

Blue dress created by designer Manikin Mob

Green dress created by designer  Shahedah Textiles

I grew up with a single mom who can do everything that you want it for me and understood. What I also understood was that if she could she would and I know that there are a lot of parents out there that feel that same way. So I wanted to create an opportunity for students like me and many of my peers who struggled like me. I honestly wanted to take my creative abilities and make somebody feel beautiful. I think we all just want somebody to say “here, I can help you.” then actually follow through.