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Thomas "TJ" Walker

Partner and Vice President of Product Development and Design | JADED APPAREL

Over the past decade, the clothing designs of Thomas “TJ” Walker have graced the pages of such prominent publications as: Forbes, Details, Code, Black Enterprise, Elle, Source, Sportswear International, Vibe and Women’s Wear Daily. As a partner and Vice President of Product Development and Design, his most recent venture, JADED APPAREL is the result of numerous years of independent research as a freelance designer for such companies as: Cross Colours, Groove, UMEN, Menace, DKNY, MKO Man, DADA, Converse and Target Stores’ private label programs.

As a highly respected leader in the contemporary fashion industry, Walker has received numerous design awards, which includes the coveted Rising Star Award (issued by the Men’s Fashion Association) and the Chrysler Award for innovation in Design. He was also a member of the President’s commission on the NAFTRA agreement, and was invited to speak at the

White House on behalf of the fashion sportswear industry.

In 1990, Walker became the first in a succession of African- American designers who earned global recognition for design through the introduction of his collection Cross Colours. The company amassed record sales in excess of $89 million in just under eighteen months. This

figure catapulted the company into Black Enterprise’s prestigious “Top 100 Black Owned Businesses” of 1991- - ranking at number 20. Cross Colours went on to receive further accolade from Black Enterprise and was selected as its “1993 Company of the Year” - - improving its overall rank to number 10.

Walker prides himself on his ability to forecast consumer trends and to interpret them into meaningful, globally significant collections. In so doing his designs have transcended the parameters of race, ethnicity, socio-economic boundaries and design sensibilities. In the process, he has achieved the kind of notoriety normally reserved for rock stars and pro-athletes.

As a personal and professional goal, Walker aims to not only design the kind of apparel that people want to wear, but for people to feel a connection to what they wear. For this reason, Walker’s own renditions of fine art, studied as an undergrad while attending Delta State University in Mississippi may be seen from time to time in his design applications.

While he was reared in a close-knit family from rural Mississippi, Walker is himself the embodiment of worldly style and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 1985 with two degrees completed (a BFA in Commercial Design from Delta State University and an MFA in Graphic Design and Screen Printing from Louisiana Tech University) Walker left a simple, quite life in the country for

the whirlwind pace of Los Angeles’ fashion industry. He landed squarely in the midst of LA’s bustling fashion district where he was immediately offered a position as a print designer and merchandiser for Tag Rag (formerly, Surf Fetish). It was there that he truly honed his skills in the design process.

While many successful designers achieve a certain level of global notoriety and never look back, Walker intends to become the exception. His goal is to develop design programs for inner-city children to inspire and nurture the development of raw creative talent.

“I not only want to lead by example, but actually involve myself in the process. A thread can be wonderful by itself but when matched with other threads and intricately woven together, it can be amazing to see the quality of fabric you can create. People are the same way. “

Thomas "TJ" Walker
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