BY RODNEY D. GANTT
From a small class project to a full line of denim-inspired fashion, local designer Tyran Marquis premiered his latest collection Under Pressure, at his recent fashion show, taking his designs from his work space in Hollis to a runway in Midtown. The Press of Southeast Queens profiled Marquis in our feature story last week.
The line based on outerwear is a ready to wear collection comprised of various capes, ponchos, jackets, hoodies and more, all with a unique bleached denim flare and part of the Styles by Tyran Marquis brand. Together with members of his team Marquis worked on his line and organized the event for several months. The show was held at Punto Space located at 325 West 38th Street on Saturday June 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. As his first headlined event, Marquis said the show was more than he could have asked for.
“It was amazing to see everything come to life, the designs perfectly fit the models and the atmosphere, it’s exactly what I wanted,” said Marquis. “I would honestly say the fashion show turned out to be more than I expected.”
The collection began as a class assignment in his Design Studio course at the Fashion Institute, where Marquis was tasked with creating various garments for a number of different looks. In addition to the required pants, corset and blazer Marquis also designed a dress, featured in the show. When he began the course in January, Marquis said he had doubts about continuing design and thoughts of dropping out of school. The bleached design of his collection was a representation of all his negative emotions.
“It symbolizes opposition, defeat, turmoil and I wanted to put that onto the clothes,” said Marquis. “I really just decided to put my all and all I was going through at the time into a collection. I tried to do like a bleached destruction type of fabrication. It was supposed be nice clothes that had been through opposition and I think I did it, my delivery was exactly what I wanted it to be.”
Assured that he wanted to turn his assignment into a full collection, Marquis spent the months since January deciding on what pieces he liked and expanding to include different color fabrics. Marquis also added menswear, whereas the original project was designs specifically for women.
“I always feel like men don’t have fashionable options, so I decided if I was going to do a ready to wear collection I had to include men,” said Marquis.
The whole process was a team effort. While Marquis worked on the designs, Sharon Highland, Marquis’ business advisor and financial manager, organized the show by booking the space and coordinating with the vendors, photographers, videographer and DJ, many of whom were friends of Marquis’.
Highland, who helped Marquis establish his company, said he has a unique quality and great business sense and she was impressed by the designs in the show.
“I love the fashions, I think they were phenomenal and I’m happy because he’s excited,” said Highland. “This is really a big launch in his career.”
Many of Marquis’ friends and family attended the event including his childhood friend Marc Lyn, a photographer and member of his team. Lyn and Marquis reconnected when they both attended Long Island University Brooklyn and worked together since before Marquis created his business. Lyn is the primary photographer for all of Marquis’ events and even designed the business’ logo. Lyn said the collection was “practical but unique.”
“It’s not your typical everyday wear but it’s not too far left either, it’s more toward the middle,” said Lyn. “People can think about wearing it to other events like a sweet sixteen or a wedding.”
Understanding the various struggles Marquis had overcome, Lyn said developing the collection showed his determination.
“He is a strong-willed person and it can only take someone of his character to get to where he is today and where he is destined to go,” said Lyn.
Marquis was originally assigned the project by Professor Patricia McCoy, who also attended the show. McCoy said the show was awesome and that she knew Marquis would get it done. She liked the detail of the designs and the fact that the pieces were reversible, also that he expanded the collection for men.
“I especially love that added the line for males because that shows that he has the strength to do both women and menswear,” said McCoy. “The pieces were on point and cohesive and everything really just came together.”
One of the models, Alexz Elmore said the designs were fashion forward and “in the now.”
“I think this collection is amazing, it’s creative and stylish and will last because people will always need a fashionable jacket or coat,” said Elmore.
Along with his aunt and girlfriend, Marquis’ mother Laverne Crenshaw also attended the event which Marquis said was “dope” and a good change for her as she can not always attend his shows. Crenshaw enjoyed the show and said she felt blessed.
“I think I’m blessed to have a son like Tyran who is able to sew and design clothes for anyone no matter the size or shape, he is as blessed as I am,” said Crenshaw.
In honor of his best friend Tory Curtis who was killed in 2012, Marquis had the space decorated with purple light, Curtis’ favorite color. Marquis and Curtis grew up in Hollis and always planned to make it out of their neighborhood.
“Anything I ever did Tory was always supportive, he was like a mentor and always encouraging,” said Marquis. “Proud is an understatement, I feel like Tory would have been my biggest cheerleader today and it felt like he was here.”
Following his fashion show Marquis will also showcase his collection during Brooklyn Fashion Week. He is also working on a plus size collection entitled Bitter Sweet.