From small-town Mississippi to Brooklyn, New York, Parron Allen is a one-of-a-kind designer who takes inspiration from his childhood in Mississippi to design garments that provide a "cohesive aesthetic of sophisticated whimsy and an attitude of resolute joy." Parron's grandmother provided a unique and personal influence on Parron that inspired him to make whimsical dresses that encourage women to feel good! Parron said, "I witnessed how amazing the garments made them feel! It was like they were able to shed some of Jim Crow's burden in the simple yet thoughtful dresses that Momma Ruth made for them - smiling, twirling, and bantering about good things on days of rest." Continue reading to learn more about Parron Allen, the joyous work he creates, and his vision for the future of fashion. You can shop Parron's work now at Art to Ware!
KL: Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do? Where are you from? Etc.
PA: My name is Parron Allen and my mother, who was a high school librarian, chose the name Parron after one of her favorite students suggested it to her. She loved how unique it sounded—especially for a kid from Lexington, Mississippi. Allen was my paternal grandfather’s first name and was also my Dad’s middle name. I am a Brooklyn-based apparel designer.
I was born and raised in the rural South, but I always had dreams of doing more and seeing beyond farmland, kudzu, and dirt roads.
KL: You are heavily inspired by your childhood in Mississippi. How does your work reflect this inspiration?
PA: Parron Allen is the name of my brand—based on my first and middle name. My brand is all about clothes that start conversations. Made to be centered as everyday statement pieces, my designs elevate classic silhouettes with artful surprises, sensual fabrics, and luxurious finishes to evoke a cohesive aesthetic of sophisticated whimsy and an attitude of resolute joy! My design vision is inspired by my childhood in Lexington, Mississippi. My grandmother, Momma Ruth, expressed herself by sewing dresses for the women in her family and community. I witnessed how amazing the garments made them feel! It was like they were able to shed some of Jim Crow's burden in the simple yet thoughtful dresses that Momma Ruth made for them - smiling, twirling, and bantering about good things on days of rest. My work echos this joyous harmony of whimsy and practicality in a voice for the present moment.
KL: What garments or accessories do you love to create the most? Why?
PA: I love making dresses, as you might guess from my childhood inspiration! That has to be my number one favorite! As a kid, I loved it when girls would wear them! I remember asking my sisters to twirl around just so I could see them spin and see how much the pleats, godets, and added fullness would flow. There’s nothing more magical than a flattering dress on a confident woman. Add pockets and she can conquer the world!
KL: What does it mean to have your brand featured in Art to Ware?
PA: I have had a long history of working with awesome Women of Color and the founder of Art to Ware, Lesley Ware, is no exception. She lives the principle of raising a vision together with the designers she mentors and supports.
To be part of her vision is like the meringue on top of a delightful banana pudding! It’s an amazing addition to something that’s already wonderful! I feel like I am part of her legacy because she inspires me as a designer.
KL: What is your vision for the future of fashion?
PA: My true vision is to see fashion continue to evolve into more than just garments and become a vehicle of getting people excited to start new conversations about our world and how we interact with it in regards to sustainability, social justice, and inclusivity while still being artfully and thoughtfully designed. I aspire to offer that with my own collections and look for it in the work of others.
Photos provided by Parron Allen.