SCAD students work for four years to support an ever-growing demand for creatives in the business and marketing spaces. And SCAD Alumna Danietté Thomas is doing just that, but in her way. She’s succeeding as an entrepreneur—she’s watching her art come to life and building a roadmap for her business at the same time.
Danietté is a premier fashion designer. She got her start sketching designs and sewing at a young age after she was encouraged to pursue her passion for fashion as a grade-school student here in Savannah. She later went on to graduate from SCAD with a BFA in Fashion Design and a minor in Accessories.
Under her business Danietté, LLC, she created her first custom couture piece in the fall of 2015 and has been doing so ever since. She also works as a consultant with top-level executives to help them put their best fashion foot forward. Her designs have been featured at New York Fashion Week, and she had the opportunity to showcase her work at the 2020 Oscars.
But there’s no pursuit of dreams that’s complete without hardship.
“In 2020, I lost my job,” Danietté says, laughing. “I celebrated my five-year work anniversary on Friday and came back to find out I was being fired on Monday.”
She realized then that she had to find a way to make her business work.
“I asked myself, ‘Where do you want to be? What do you want to be known for?’” she said. “ I don’t want to be making 15 garments a month, I want to be making two.”
The pandemic inspired Danietté to create new content. So, she worked on developing a quarantined photoshoot with designer masks to complement her designs. She got a reaction online that was like no other for her business.
She’s since gone on to focus on providing a unique customer experience by involving the client in a truly bespoke process. This pursuit recently led her to achieve a major milestone: opening her brand’s own physical space.
House of DANIETTÉ, Savannah’s first design house, opened in the summer of 2021. The 3,000-square-foot space functions as a design house as well as an event venue.
Her ready-wear line ARIONNA is also turning heads. The collection is intended to empower women with sophisticated clothing they can wear every day.
“Through networking I had countless women tell me, ‘I’d love to get something made from you, but it’s a bit out of my price range,’ or ‘I’d love to get something from you that I could wear every day.’ So I thought to launch a ready-to-wear collection,” she says. “Something that I designed that would be closer to boutique prices.”
She is in the process of growing the collection, and her ultimate goal is to see it in stores like Sax Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman. Currently, the ARIONNA line can be purchased via her e-commerce website.
This fall Danietté will pitch ARIONNA at Savannah SCORE’s BizPitch competition. The annual business pitch event will feature eight local businesses competing for $10,000 in cash and professional services. You can watch Danietté compete live on November 16th in the Howard Jordan Torian Auditorium at Savannah State University.
When we ask Danietté what she wants young fashion designers to know, she explains that she wants them to be aware the traditional path put before most young adults isn’t always the best option.
“There’s a way you can pave your own way,” she says.
To learn more about Danietté and her work visit https://www.daniette.com/.