NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City fashion designer is trying to open up the world of high fashion to everyone.
Aaron Potts has been designing for more than 30 years.
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“I’ve worked for Emanuel Ungaro, Anne Klein, Victoria’s Secret, Badgley Mischka, Ellen Tracy… ” Potts told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
The list goes on.
His own line is called A. Potts. It’s gender neutral and fits a wide range of sizes, from extra small to 2X.
“Fashion really should be for everyone and everybody. As a larger person, I know that larger people have been underserved when it comes to high fashion,” said Potts.
Potts was born in Detroit and started designing when he was in high school. He told Hsu he designed prom dresses for his friends.
Potts attended Parsons School of Design and was a professor at Fashion Institute of Technology.
He mentors lots of young people and tells them education is number one.
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“Instagram is great, but looking at really knowledgeable, informative fashion magazines is actually better because you’re getting it from the source,” said Potts.
Potts says fashion is a tough business, where lack of diversity and unequal pay are long-time issues. Even choosing models is scrutinized.
“We would get pushback on having women of color because the excuse was that they didn’t appeal to white customers. We always knew that that wasn’t real. It was an excuse,” Potts said. “It’s getting better.”
He says openly having a conversation about diversity is progress, and got emotional when he saw Vice President Kamala Harris walk down the steps of the U.S. Capitol after the inauguration.
Harris reminded him of family.
“All of the amazing women of color, Black women, brown women, in my life that are brilliant and beautiful and industrious, hard working, and they plow through everything,” he said.
Potts said while he loves fashion, his driving force is really connecting with people and he uses fashion as a tool to do that.
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You’ll be seeing more of his designs soon. Potts is launching an e-commerce website in the next two weeks. He’s also working on a spring collection for 2022.