LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Sometimes in life, you encounter real difference makers; those who inspire you with their courage in the face of adversity.
In a look at the brighter side this morning, meet Linda Rowe Thomas who's designing hope against all odds.
She cuts, pins and sews; designer Linda Rowe Thomas is a fashion designer extraordinaire. She says, "I love classic-ness with a little bit of contemporary edge. Meaning the mother will buy it but the daughter will be in her closet to get it."
Her friend Kimberly Lacy describes her best saying, "She's a trendsetter; determined, a competitor and a go-getter."
But Linda wasn't born with golden thread in her hand. A farmhouse accident when she was two changed everything. Linda says, "A kerosene heater exploded in our house and I was standing next to it along with my sister who was 6-years-old."
Her big sister Erma Jean didn't survive, but Linda did. Her love of fashion had literally saved her life. Linda says, "I had dressed myself that morning. I put on a little fur coat that came all the way down and had a little hoodie. And because of that, the only things that were burned were my hands and face."
Soon after, those hands were put to good use when her mother gave her a little red sewing machine for Christmas. This pivotal moment would shape the pattern of her life. Linda says, "The rest is history so to speak, because from then on I was always sewing, always on that machine."
This childhood hobby turned into a degree from UCA, and career as a buyer, then finally, she made the leap to full-time designing. She says, "I went for it. I started Romas by Linda Rowe Thomas in 2001."
Her career took off; from a fashion show in Little Rock to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. She says, "It was like celebrities and red carpets. So it's been an amazing journey."
Hers is a journey with frequent stops to lift others up including "Designing Hope", her annual fashion show to raise money for young burn survivors at Camp Sunshine and Arkansas Children's Hospital. Linda says, "It's not easy to get to the point of believing in yourself, it's a process. But once you get there and you have faith and belief in yourself, nothing can stop you."
This inspiring designer proves that overcoming obstacles never goes out of style. Kimberly says, "Watch out for her, she's on the rise."
Linda says, "I want to make it a global brand where it's a household name. And you can walk into a Macy's and a Neiman Marcus and see my name hanging on the racks. And every little girl knows that I can conquer the world, regardless of what I'm going through. That's what's next for me."
Linda will once again be featured in New York Fashion Week in September and is in the process of going into mass production with her collection, Romas by Linda Rowe Thomas.