Just One Drink: Borris Powell

Chicago designer seamlessly progresses to next stage of career

A mere six years ago, Borris Powell was learning to sew in a rudimentary class at Joann Fabrics.

Since then, his designs have been shown in London, New York and during the 2010 Oscars telecast.

On Sunday, his whirlwind career takes a new step when he debuts a menswear line, a departure from the elegant women's designs he's been known for. And although his rise has been meteoric, Powell credits his success to a a mix of business savvy and his own artistic vision. In other words, he wasn't going to do a men's line until he felt he was ready, and It's a testament to Powell's reputation that he's already created 12 custom suits for a variety of clients -- including Chicago Bears wideout Rashied Davis -- before the line was even revealed to the public.

"I love dresses, and at the end of the night when I go to sleep, this is what I dream of. I'm very intuitive to what's going on inside of my head and inside of my soul and I do what it tells me to do," Powell says. "It wasn't until the end of last year that I started seeing menswear."

Powell advises other young designers to follow that same internal passion as they try to map out their careers in the industry.

"The first thing I learned and am still learning is that you always have to stay true to yourself. Know who you are and know what voice you're going to stick to in this industry, because there's going to be a ton of people who are going to tell you what to do and what you're not doing good enough," Powell says. "As long as you're designing for yourself, then at the end of the day when something doesn't go your way, you're going to be OK because you did it for yourself and you satisfied yourself."

Powell will unveil his latest ready-to-wear collection at the River East Art Center on March 18th. Click here for more details.

Video shot by Cam Be and Summer Nettles.

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