From Fashionista to Businesswoman
Thomas says that the experience gave her career an early boost, but that much of her success--particularly her business savvy--came from having to rely on herself at an early age. "Money would flow through our house, but it was definitely not a financially literate home," she says, declining to offer specifics. In high school she took a variety of odd jobs, including working on a moving truck, and during her senior year she moved into her own apartment. "I had to take my own brains and grow up much sooner than my peers," she says.
After graduation, Thomas attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a partial scholarship. While she honed her design skills in school, she read everything she could about business and finance "to understand the business side of fashion."
After graduating from SAIC in 2001, Thomas did contract work for LSO, designing what she describes as haute couture, "runway-style pieces" for various celebrities. She names Jay-Z, Sade, and Janet Jackson as some of her favorite stars to work with, but she's discreet when it comes to telling tales. "They're people, they're human, and they just have a job that's in front of the camera. There are other things that may be economically different, but they have feelings, they have a life, they want to be treated just like anyone else."