PROFILE: Winning design – La Tribune
“I do a lot,” Royal said with a laugh.
How she designs clothes depends on whether she’s doing something for Kohl’s or her own lines. “If I’m designing for myself and my own brand, I do it the old-fashioned way, where I make the patterns, cut the fabric and do the fittings with models,” Royal explained, adding that she tries to be as durable as possible. possible and using dead animals, which are already manufactured fabrics, and even tearing clothes to make new clothes.
An example of reuse is a jacket she made as part of a project when she was studying fashion at Kent State
University. The jacket is made of denim and then accented with a white fabric that features patterns made from actual rust she created by soaking the material in a jar with a bolt and water.
It was a tribute to Ironton’s blue-collar workers.
“It was part of my senior collection. I wanted to do something that was a tribute to my hometown,” Royal said. “I’ve always been proud of Ironton. Everywhere I go I say I’m from Ironton, Ohio. I don’t just say southern Ohio, I’ll tell you the town, you’ll find out .
Her roots in Ohio inspire her designs to be very utilitarian, “almost like workwear, but not quite because I want them to be feminine.”
Another piece is a cream-colored corduroy jacket that she made herself.
“It was corduroy pants that I found at the thrift store,” Royal said. “On the back is a square quilt block from Ohio. And I found the buttons at a thrift store. I try to reuse whatever resources I can.
“At Kohl’s, it’s completely different than when I make my own creations. We work with suppliers overseas, I do a lot of sketching digitally,” Royal said. “We select the fabrics a year in advance. But both have a lot of sketches and a lot of planning. But for the textile part of my work at Kohl’s, it’s downright making my own creations. So I use ProCreate, PhotoShop and Illustrator on my iPad.
Ohio is a recurring theme in his work. Her LinkedIn account proclaims her “proud of Ohio” and her work room has a shelf full of Ohio memorabilia.
Royal graduated from Ironton High School in 2012 and went on to Kent State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion and apparel design. She also studied haute couture at the Paris American Academy.
She spent two summers interning at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky, where she designed clothing for stage productions. She has also completed internships at CollegeFashionista on the Web, with fashion designer Jonathan Marc Stein and at Akron Design and Costume.
She got her first job as an assistant designer and graphic designer at 5B’s in Columbus before joining Kohl’s in 2018. She had spoken to a company representative at a job fair a year prior “but they didn’t have any open positions, so they kept me in mind for a whole year and offered me a job. Crazy. So I said yes and took the job.
She moved from Ohio to Milwaukee, where she lived for three years before returning to Ironton in May. She gets
work for the company remotely.
“It’s bittersweet, in a way, because the only way I can do it is because of COVID-19,” she said. “I miss Milwaukee because the thrift stores are so amazing. And I visit once a year.
So how does a woman from Ironton relate to fashion?
“Do you remember Neopets? When I was nine, Neopets was my thing,” Royal said.
Neopets are virtual pets and owners can use in-game currency to meet their pet’s needs. She still has an active account.
“They had the opportunity to be creative on their website and I was a little kid learning to do HTML and CSS on Neopets to be creative and do illustrations.”
From there, she decided she wanted to do graphic design, but wasn’t really sure if there were any jobs in that field.
“Around here, I don’t think they encourage people to pursue creative careers as much, but the opportunities are there, you just have to find them,” Royal said. She chose fashion, found that Kent State had a top-notch fashion program in the country, and that’s how she ended up designing clothes.
As for the assembly of clothes, “all the women in my family have experience in textiles and sewing. I’ve always loved doing stuff. I just needed the technical and advanced skills to do it,” Royal said. “I put my graphic education into fashion and that’s what I did with my life. It is all good.
And now that Royal is back in Ironton after nearly a decade, she wants to give back to others who may want to follow a creative path and give back to the community.
“I love Ironton and I’ve always wanted to take the knowledge I learned while away and bring it back here and impact someone else,” Royal said.
One of his goals is to run for Ironton City Council.
“I regularly attend meetings. I’m trying to figure it out, learn what’s going on and try to figure it out,” she said. “And I would like to reach out to secondary schools and tell the kids that there are more career opportunities outside of the usual, day-to-day things that we think about, that it’s okay to be creative and to do career in art. You can leave, do your thing and come back.