LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - This week we're highlighting local men and women thriving in the fashion industry. People who are taking their designs in Little Rock to places all over the world. One of those people Is Linda Rowe Thomas, founder of Romas.
You may not expect someone growing up in a small Texas town, population 171, to make their mark on the entire world. It seems even more unexpected when that person’s life begins with so much suffering.
Yet, this is the story of Linda Rowe Thomas and her story is all about exceeding expectations.
“I was burned in a house fire when I was two years old and I went to Shriners Hospital in Galveston, Texas from two to 18 years old,” said Rowe Thomas.
What could have destroyed her, empowered her? Rowe Thomas decided to persevere through pain and didn’t let any physical limitations stop her from sketching out her own dreams. She had dreamed of being a fashion designer since the young age of five. They were big dreams for a small town girl that would eventually lead her to Little Rock and New York Fashion Week.
“Once I did the very first showing at New York Fashion Week, it [my business] accelerated,” she said.
She went from having a small showroom on West Markham Street in Little Rock to a large showroom in downtown Little Rock. It’s her hub to meet with clients from all over the world. She has designed custom dresses for celebrities in the Golden Globes, ESPYS and the BET awards.
“Erica Ash hosted the BET awards wearing a custom beaded dress that I did,” said Rowe Thomas. “I think that was my favorite design by far.”
Now, she's not only designing for her celebrity clients; she’s designing for a new crowd filled with friends, family and community members. In an effort to take her unique, custom designs and make them more affordable and available for everyday women, Rowe Thomas launched her Ready to Wear line in June.
“Now people can finally get a piece of Romas and have the classic feel and tailored elegance but it’s ready to wear,” she said.
As her success continues to grow, she says her biggest achievement is designing hope through her personal story. Rowe Thomas founded the Designing Hope Foundation to empower and encourage burn survivors in central Arkansas.
“My destiny is for people to see that beauty is so much more than the eyes behold and you have to be confident in who you are,” she said. “You have to love the person who is staring back at you in the mirror.”