Paper or Prada? : A fashion designer creates a dress from newspapers as a testament to fashion and creative expression

Lashanda White-Owens

Twenty dollars worth of newspapers and a vision were the only things local fashion designer Lashanda White-Owens needed to create a centerpiece worthy of rivaling the most eccentric fashion icons.

Lady Gaga may have walked the 2013 American Music Awards on a faux white horse in a Versace dress, but even the fashion legend herself has never worn a dress made entirely of newspaper and duct tape.

White-Owens, a Noxubee County native, moved to Columbus in 2009. She briefly worked for a construction company before devoting herself to her husband, children and her passion for sewing.

“I’ve been sewing for six years now,” White-Owens said. “Two years ago I got more serious and started doing handmade fashion.”

As a young fashion designer with a flair for entrepreneurship, White-Owens opened her own business, Luxe Code by Shun White, in 2019.

With a new space to create and full of ideas, she immediately jumped into designing creative clothing lines for women.

For the past three years, she worked on designing and promoting her business until a Facebook post three days ago changed everything.

Tamaka “LilJones” Jones wears fashion designer Lashanda White-Owens’ dress made from Commercial Dispatch newspapers. Courtesy photo/Mayfield Photography

On Monday, White-Owens uploaded a series of images of her latest fashion design to Facebook. Model Tamaka “LilJones” Jones – owner of Salon 220 – stood outside The Commercial Dispatch in the visionary’s latest creation: a newspaper dress meant to serve as a statement and self-penned article.

It didn’t take long for the Avant-garde dress to capture the attention of the Columbus community and, well, The Dispatch. The post garnered hundreds of likes and comments, as well as dozens of shares.

“It was shocking and surprising,” she said. “Everyone was praising me because they thought the shoot was a real article that had been published.”

The particular idea for fashioning this dress came to White-Owens when she came across a recent copy from The Commercial Dispatch. What she found in the content of each page was a world of potential – an opportunity to transform one work of art into another.

“Fashion is my passion. I was looking in the newspapers and saw there was no fashion section in the paper,” White-Owens said. “There is entertainment, news and lifestyles but no fashion.”

Determined to incorporate fashion into the newspaper, White-Owens took it upon herself to “write her own story” in an unconventional way. She enlisted the help of Jones and Mayfield Photography before embarking on a quest to create the dress.

“One random day I was like, like, I’d like to have an item and I just contacted Mayfield and Jones and put it (the concept and the shoot),” White-Owens said.

With a model and a photographer acquired, the young designer had everything she needed to realize her vision. Everything except the dress of course.

Dizzy with excitement, White-Owens began to weave his masterful web. She sent her husband to buy as many newspapers as he could with a $20 bill, measured Jones’s waist, created a polyester skirt and started folding and crumpling each newspaper until it is pleated.

“It was a lot of bending and taping, bending and bending and bending and taping until it was all put together and I put it around her,” White-Owens said. .

Once each paper was properly pleated, she taped them around her model’s figure. The elegant testament to fashion and journalism took just two hours.

“I think she knew I would be able to jump into her vision. She’s so creative and I think she knew I would be able to bring that vision to life,” Jones said. I was wearing. I just geared up and helped bring his vision to fruition.

Dressed in a paper vision of beauty, Jones posed for Mayfield in the dress and soon all three uploaded to Facebook, and the rest is history. Well, fairly recent history.

Since the post has grown in popularity, White-Owens has seen a lot more attention turn to her business and hopes to use her insights in the years to come to make her brand global.

“A lot more attention has been turned to my business since the position was created,” White-Owens said. “We haven’t approached anyone for a partnership or anything like that yet, but we’re definitely getting a lot more attention (on social media).”

The dress will testify to the infinite potential of a creative spirit and subtle research to revive fashion in the newspapers.

Quality and thorough journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most comprehensive reporting and insightful commentary from the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.

About Debra D. Johnson

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