Lorain designer readies for trip to France for Paris Fashion Week

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

LORAIN — Until a month ago, Lorain fashion designer Jevon Terance had never heard of Champs-Elysees, a Paris avenue known for its upscale clothing stores. - Now, Terance is preparing to head to the famous retail district to show off six of his newest designs at a Paris Fashion Week show Oct. 4.

“You have your mind set all the time as ‘What can I do in the States to be well known?’ but then sometimes it doesn’t even cross your mind about the world until it’s brought up into your face,” Terance said. “It’s like now we’re in a whole other room of design.”

The Lorain native said he received an invitation to the show through social media when a friend asked him to join several other up-and-coming designers on the Marriott Champs-Elysees runway. The show will feature designers from around the world, including Chile, India and Italy.

While the show attracts an international crowd, Terance said he draws his designs from influences closer to home.

One of the pieces he plans to take to the show, a pleated green and black skirt, is based on a picture of the Henderson Bridge in Lorain. He edited and saturated a picture of the bridge before making the image into a fabric.

“I had to really play with it and then make it my own,” Terance said.

The skirt will join a red silk pantsuit and a newly designed dress, which incorporates the lines of Lorain County into the pattern.

“Everything has a story behind it,” he said. “You start talking fashion with somebody then you get this whole story going.”

He said he often has returned to his roots to find design inspiration, including the premise for his first fashion show.

Terance, who played on the basketball team at Admiral King High School, held his first annual fashion show in Lorain County eight years ago on the basketball court at Oakwood Park — the same court where he broke his arm in 10th grade, he said.

Some of the designs in that show were based on sneaker designs.

“There’s a pattern he designed based off a pair of shoes,” Mia Arredondo, Terance’s business manager and girlfriend, said. “He looks at the lines and the shoes and the way that things move and the curves.”

It was through shoes, particularly Jordans, that Terance first developed his interest in fashion. He said classmates from elementary and middle school still remember him drawing shoe designs during class.

Terance couldn’t afford art school, so he taught himself to sew at 21 and soon started making clothing designs in his parents’ basement, he said.

After building his reputation through fashion shows in Cleveland, he opened a pop-up store in downtown Lorain in 2012 as part of a city of Lorain initiative.

“Of course it’s a great thing for his career, becoming a well-known designer in other countries, but just being here from Lorain (helps) people to realize that good things happen (here),” Arredondo said.

In November, less than a year ago, Terance and Arredondo went to San Diego for his first out-of-state show. In July, he moved across the street from the pop-up to 615 Broadway to open a boutique. He said in the fast-paced world of fashion, anything could happen at his first international show.

“Being at the Paris level, you never know who could see,” he said. “What celebrity could see it. You never know where you could be the next day.”

Even with this uncertainty, he is planning ahead. Terance said, during his time in Paris, he hopes to observe the city’s street fashion, a potential inspiration for the pieces in his summer 2016 Lorain fashion show. He also has several manufacturers lined up to produce his clothes, just in case there’s a sudden demand, he said.

“You do what you love and you do it and then you just go from there,” he said.

“When I started in 2007 sewing in a basement, I would have never thought I was doing a show in Paris eight years later.”