After interning for Adam Selman, the designer for Rihanna's Swarovski crystal dress for the 2015 CFDA Awards, the only place for Tommy Do to go in the fashion industry is up.
The 22-year-old senior will graduate from the University at the end of the spring semester and plans on moving to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Despite always having an interest in fashion, Do said he didn't decide to seriously pursue design until he was 16-years-old.
"I never considered it a legitimate career choice until I saw my friend, Chris Rogers — who is an amazing and super talented designer — display the potential and success he did at such a young age," Do said. "He definitely inspired me to choose fashion design as a career."
His first involvement with making clothing was during a costuming class in high school. The assignment, making t-shirts, was beneficial to his learning experience, but didn't excite him design-wise.
"[The t-shirt] honestly turned out okay and I did wear it a couple of times. But I can’t tell you its whereabouts at the moment," Do said.
Do didn't need the assignment to inspire his designs because his love for fashion and design came naturally. He said his personal style is pulled from a variety of fashion genres, often unlike subcultures. Do said he likes to mix them to make societal commentary.
"Some days I’m feeling 'BDSM schoolboy.' Sometimes I’m in a very 'athletic wear with suiting separates' mood," Do said. "Why am I wearing a leather harness with my Sunday best? That’s up for the viewer to decide and to think about, but my answer is usually 'why not?'"
His confidence and innovativeness in his personal style often transcend into the clothing he creates. Do describes the clothes he makes as postmodern with a concept or message behind them.
"[The garments are] very much influenced by femme fatale costumes but more street-friendly, like daytime Morrigan or off-duty Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill," Do said. "It’s honestly hard to categorize the clothes I make. You can ask my instructors."
Do said his dream is to be a voice in fashion and advance the industry in a cultural sense. He wants to combine his passions: fashion theory and the "sociocultural aspects of society," as well as social justice and activism.
"I think in the industry — and society in general — there’s a lot of underrepresentation and perspectives left unconsidered," Do said. "I really want to bring people of color's voices to the forefront, take the taboo out of sexuality and further strengthen femininity. Those are my guiding mantras when I design."
Do said that although he receives support from his family and friends, the most encouragement he receives is from his mother and his boyfriend.
"They're my biggest fans and my best interns," Do said.
Do does not sell the pieces he designs and creates. He says he likes to jokingly refer to them as "archival pieces," though he really just has sentimental attachments to them.
Do placed first in the junior division at the Fashion Association at LSU's 11th Annual Fashion Show in 2017.