This week we wanted to highlight a charismatic Memphis Designer, Antonio Jones. He is the founder of a men's & women's custom athletic apparel clothing line. Jones didn't initially set out to be a designer, he actually wanted be an art teacher. Little did he know that design was his true calling. Antonio is a testament that despite others doubts, and disbeliefs if you keep pressing forward you will reach great heights. Jones has future plans to open a store front for his clothing line "Rough Feathers!"
Can you tell us a little bit about the moment you realized you were an artist? The moment I realized I was an artist was, when I was in the 10th grade and everybody was asking me to draw their drivers ed poster. I knew I would be doing something in the art field but I didn't know actually what exactly I'd be doing.
How did you learn your necessary skills?
When I landed in the graphic design space, I developed my skills under my teacher Jerry Redmond. Graphic design is always changing so there was a chunk of off-script learning that I taught myself. What inspired you to launch Rough Feathers?
When I decided to create the Rough Feathers brand, I wanted to speak to the culture and create something people could relate to. There are a lot of people from areas similar to the one I grew up in; that had to endure lots of hardships. A few ruffled feathers never stopped an eagle from flying high. So with life there is growth you fail, you learn and you do better. The idea of speaking that truth through clothing was a big factor for me to create the Rough Feathers brand.
Are there specific opportunities or challenges that focused your career?
A couple of memories that I look back on still drive me to this day. A high school teacher of mine told me, "You won't make it to see 25." At the time I was an A/B honor roll student (I wonder what that teacher said to C,D, & F students). I took those hurtful words and made the decisions necessary to still be here. Another situation that motivates me is when an associate told me I was wasting my time with a clothing line... I've been here since 2012. Not allowing others doubts to deter me was important to me. Sometimes you have to just prove people wrong. Go ahead make your mark!
Who do you consider as your most influential mentor?
In the field of fashion I never had a mentor that I could call for questions or had an insight in fashion. I learned and taught myself on a lot of things. The one person that would be the closest mentor in my field would be Jerry Redmond. He taught me how to create in the form of graphic design. Everything I soaked up from him plays a part in my creations from the development of fashion mockups to line sheets. Artists are extremely resourceful and often create multiple streams of income. How do you generate income to support yourself and artistic practice?
Wow, this is the greatest challenges to all entrepreneurs--the pivot. In the field of graphic design, there are a wide range of occupations you can chose from. When clothing has a slow period, I generate income in photography, film and graphic design. I'm an all around creative at heart.
How do you measure success in your work?
The measure of success comes when I have a repeat customer, or a compliment from a complete stranger, or when I make something for myself and random person wants to buy right off of my back. These are the greatest feelings in the world. These moments make you want to stop and create something else to get that same feeling you just experienced.
What told you ‘this is the life for me’? (and when)
Being an entrepreneur has its pros and cons. When I figured out I could make my own hours and like what I do, I said yes this is it. But the one thing I had to learn was you are the first one to work and the last one to go home. On January 12, 2012 I decided to make the journey of full time entrepreneurship. What compromises have you had to make in order to succeed? Has it been worth all of your effort?
I found that in this industry you can not make everybody happy. You can do your best and even go over the top but people will find flaws. Also when you are the boss you will have to pick and chose what events you will have to miss. You can find yourself in a pickle but as you get older and better you have to develop a balance to make life easier. I have learned being my own boss, it has been well worth it because all mistakes are not bad and everything is a life lesson you can teach to the next generation of entrepreneurs. What do you love about being a creative in Memphis?
If you can make it here you can make it anywhere. Memphis has a way of being real and I love it because it prepares you for the world. Memphis is a place that does not show fake love, you either got it or you don't. For me, situations like this is how I produce the best work.
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
In 2021, I'm looking forward to building relationships that will mature into partnerships for growth. I plan on getting my brand more visible to expose the city and world of my creativity. I have a popup tour in the works and I look to have a lot of success barring any delays from COVID. Influencers will be a big plus for Rough Feathers so I look to create placement opportunities and a possible Memphis based storefront.
We at Arrow are so happy to be able to spotlight such an amazing Memphis talent. If you happen upon the chance to meet Antonio Jones you will charmed by his charisma and zeal for life. To keep up with all the great things happening over at "Rough Feathers" please visit the website and follow them on social media. | https://www.roughfeathers.com/ & @rfclothing