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Reginald Thomas

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Information about Reginald Thomas

Profile image of Reginald Thomas

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Navy Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, Paris, France, Milan, Italy
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/21/1957
Birth Location:
Lake Wales, Florida

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Navy Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, Paris, France, Milan, Italy
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/21/1957
Birth Location:
Lake Wales
See how Reginald Thomas is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Fashion designer Reginald Thomas was born in Lake Wales, Florida, on October 21, 1957. As a child, Thomas enjoyed drawing, especially the faces of women. In kindergarten, he was often punished because he would draw rather than do his lessons. Following the deaths of his mother at age five and his father when he was nine, Thomas was sent to Chicago to live with his oldest sister, and there his artistic talents blossomed.

With his sister’s approval, Thomas would often find clothes that had been thrown away by others, and he would refashion them into new articles of clothing as presents. At thirteen, he was given a sewing machine for Christmas, and he spent long hours sewing in the closet of his home. While in high school, Thomas designed prom dresses for his classmates. After high school, Thomas attended Northern Illinois University, hoping to become a special education teacher, but following a successful fashion show, he transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago. There, he held his second show, and sold his collection to Chicago boutique Fiorucci. Thomas graduated from the Art Institute in 1983, and the following year, his signature line, Reginald Designs, was born.

Since then, Thomas has been a key figure in the Chicago fashion scene, consistently taking part in the Red Hot Chicago! fashion show. His designs are known for their clean lines, flowing fabrics, interchangeable pieces and comfort, and he takes pride in ensuring that his work is available to all, regardless of size or physical handicap. Thomas credits much of his success to encouragement from family and friends, including Joan and George Johnson and Leigh Jones.

Thomas passed away on June 25, 2018.

See how Reginald Thomas is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reginald Thomas interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reginald Thomas's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reginald Thomas discusses his mother's background and family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reginald Thomas describes what he knows about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reginald Thomas recalls his earliest memory and the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reginald Thomas talks about his interest in drawing at an early age
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reginald Thomas describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reginald Thomas recalls the segregated Flordia neighborhood of his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reginald Thomas describes his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reginald Thomas talks about his fashion sense as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reginald Thomas talks briefly about his schooling in Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reginald Thomas discusses his parents' deaths and talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reginald Thomas recalls the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reginald Thomas describes his personal fashion sense in the 1970s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reginald Thomas talks about his continued interest in art in his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reginald Thomas remembers being raised by his socially ambitious brother-in-law
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reginald Thomas recalls being ashamed of his family's wealth while in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reginald Thomas remembers teachers who nurtured his artistic talent
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reginald Thomas explains his decision to attend Northern Illinois University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reginald Thomas briefly talks about political activist, Lucille Montgomery
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reginald Thomas discusses his foray into fashion design and his first show at NIU
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reginald Thomas details his decision to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reginald Thomas describes his experiences at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reginald Thomas discusses his developing fashion design styles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reginald Thomas recalls Mayor Harold Washington's support of the fashion industry in Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reginald Thomas details the growing pains he experienced starting his fashion business, Reginald Designs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reginald Thomas talks about the reorganization of his fashion design business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reginald Thomas describes his technique in designing clothing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reginald Thomas discusses his philosophy about fashion design
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reginald Thomas talks about the color palette he uses in his designs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reginald Thomas describes his average customer and clothing sizes in the fashion industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reginald Thomas talks about his African American clientele and his work in various fabrics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reginald Thomas discusses the variety in his designs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reginald Thomas comments on the fashion sense in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reginald Thomas talks about the future of African Americans in the fashion industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reginald Thomas names some of his celebrity clientele
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reginald Thomas talks about his favorite designer and some of his more risky fashions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reginald Thomas describes being able to conceptualize fashions in his head
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reginald Thomas reflects on life and his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reginald Thomas comments on his legacy, his family, and how he wishes to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reginald Thomas comments on The HistoryMakers project