‘I find myself asking people to throw things ON me’
Nationally acclaimed and respected fashion designer Borris Powell has recently launched an epic luxury line of clothing featuring a secret new “stain resistant” formula, which is non-toxic and environmentally safe. Powell has dressed people for the Emmys, the Grammys and the Oscars, and among some of his supporters are Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole and Patti LaBelle.
So did you get to dress anyone for the Oscars this year?
I did. She wasn’t an actor or actress; her cousin was a nominee for a short film. She’s a PR manager for a film director.
So tell me about your magical new stain-resistant line of clothing.
Isn’t it really kind of cool? I’m the first one on a large scale that can offer – we say stain resistant, but it’s pretty much stain proof. We treat our clothes with the spray. The spray penetrates all of the fibers of the fabrics, the top layer of all the fibers. You can go out and if someone spills wine or ketchup, it repels off the garment. We are up to about 50 something washes and 25 dry cleans. So take into consideration a man’s blazer. How often does a man dry clean his blazer, maybe once a year?
So we’re up to like 25. If he dry cleans his blazer twice a year, it will last him 14 years. I have some of my garments treated with it. It’s really freakin’ cool. I’ve gone out and I’ve had someone spill on me, and it just brushes right off with my hand. It’s dry within a snap of a finger, and it’s just kind of amazing. It’s so funny, I find myself going out and asking people to throw things on me, so I can show them how amazing it is.
That is going to be really revolutionary. Is this just for men’s clothes that you’re doing this for?
No, I’m doing it on both men’s and women’s clothing. The only thing that we are not treating right now is leather, but we can treat anything else: cottons, suede, wools.
I need some. Not that people spill things on me, but you never know.
You never know.
What motivated you to become a designer?
If I look back on my life, I was definitely mapped out to do this. My mom used to be a seamstress when I was growing up, and my dad was a high fashion model. I grew up in Alabama where boys weren’t allowed to express themselves on a creative level. It just wasn’t allowed. If you were a boy, you need to play sports. It was awful, so I had to hide behind my love and passion for fashion design, and I didn’t even know what fashion design was. So throughout the years what I did is I got into music. I was definitely artistic, and it was a way that I was allowed to creatively express myself. I started doing this professionally. I traveled around the U.S., and finally I found myself in a particular organization in Chicago, and this is where I met my first fashion designer. Once I met him, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do, and I decided to move to Chicago after that. So I moved here to pursue it.
You have been in many of the high fashion magazines.
Yeah, I’ve been everywhere. Thank God, people find my story interesting. I’ve been in “Cosmo,” “OK,” “Modern Luxury Magazine,” “TCW Magazine,” “The Red Eye.” I did Fashion Week in London before. I’ve been in all the Chicago magazines here a few times, which is great.
So you’re going to be the new creative director of fashion for the new series “Sex & Love.” Tell me about that.
I’m super excited about this. So the show “Sex & Love,” a new friend of mine Kyle Thomas, he’s the creator and the director of the show itself. He’s introduced me to a mutual friend who loves my work. He was like, “I want you to be in charge of fashion.” I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I was like, “Oh, yes, bring it on!” So I’m super excited to be in charge of all clothes. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m going to bring an amazing aesthetic to the show.
I just bet you will. Your designs are very cool.
Thank you. This new collection that I’m working on right now is going to be previewed in 2 weeks. It’s called “Ride Alone.” It’s inspired for the very individual. It’s inspired for the girl or guy who is not worried about what people are thinking. They’re making their own decisions. We’re doing things for ourselves, we’re wearing clothes like we want to wear, we’re not worried about the trends. This new collection is gonna be so hot, and obviously it will be on the “Sex & Love” show as well. It’s a very strong and eloquent collection.
Sounds amazing, but listen, my kids tried to get me on the show “What Not to Wear,” so what do I know?
You know, we all have our things.
So you sound like you’re a lot of fun.
I like to have a good time. You only have one life, right?
Yes, and it’s not a dress rehearsal, no pun intended.
We have to make it count, sweetheart.
Do you intend to visit New York anytime soon?
I get to New York at least once or twice a year. I will definitely be to New York by the fall time.