"Tiena Gwin is the Designer and Creative Director for T I E N A. She is a wife and mother of 2 girls. She is inspired by nature and strong women figures. She is also a huge proponent of dreaming big and utilizing one's talents. Tiena is a past 3-year participant in Memphis Fashion Week which gave her the confidence to further pursue her childhood dream."
Can you tell us a little bit about the moment you realized you wanted to be a fashion designer?
When I was a small child, I always sketched clothes and would drape sheets around myself. At the end of headline news (it doesn't come on anymore), fashion shows would come on and thats when I said that's what I want to do.
How did you learn your necessary skills?
I went to the Arkansas School of Fashion which taught me pattern-making and garment construction and how to pattern, construct, and sew my own ideas.
Are there specific opportunities or challenges that focused your career?
MFW created awareness and a platform for my work but I would say this is still a work in progress.
Who do you consider as your most influential mentor?
Studying other luxury brands and educating myself on the fashion industry.
How do you measure success in your work?
I would measure success as having 100% freedom to create without worry of money. And the ability to fully support myself through my craft.
What artist inspires you the most?
I would have to say that I am inspired by more than one artist, here are my top favorites: Kirby Jean Raymond, Oscar De La Renta, Duro Oluwu, and Giorgio Armani.
Do you have a creative hour, or a time/ place/ or activity that inspires your creativity?
Yes, I have converted my garage into a studio so that I can have my own space to work.
Do you have a ritual or do you set specific assignments for yourself?
I am working on that. I do not have a structured regime. I usually go with the flow.
As a kid what did you see yourself doing as a career?
As a child I always saw myself as what I am now... A Fashion Designer!!
What told you ‘this is the life for me’?
It is an innate feeling and I am a dreamer, I am continuously dreaming about clothes and having ideas imparted to me which lets me know this is for me.
What compromises have you had to make in order to succeed? Has it been worth all of your effort?
I drove to Little Rock every week for two years to learn how to make clothes. When you have your mindset on achieving your dreams you do whatever it takes to propel you into your future.
What do you love about being a creative in Memphis?
Memphis is wide open to create something new and fresh.