DHS grad’s doodles outline dream to becoming a successful designer

Poole is headed to Fashion Institute of Design in California

Wayland Charles is devoutly set on pursuing his dream – to design shoes and clothing.

Graduation will be done Thursday at Destrehan High School (DHS) and the path to Charles’ dream is already laid out for him.

Following a strenuous process showcasing his portfolio and talents in a thorough interview, Charles was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, Calif. He will first attend the University of Alabama starting July 1 to study business and then he goes to his dream school.

“I visited over Easter break and I loved it,” said Charles, son of Wayland and Trishan Charles Sr. of Destrehan. “I think it will offer me what I need to know, a lot more about what goes into making and creating a shoe. It will show me colors, styles for each season and show me exactly what I need to know to be successful in the industry.”

But it didn’t come easy to Charles.

His grades weren’t as strong as the Fashion Institute preferred, but he wowed them in the interview.

“The biggest struggle was that my grades weren’t where they needed to be, but they said there was a program there that would help me,” he said. “At first, it didn’t look good, but the interview showed I was a different person.”

From there, he wants to intern at a fashion business and then start his own shoe line.

“My dream is DKNY,” he said of the New York-based fashion house.

Charles’ challenges came with growing from doodling to becoming an artist.

“When I started, I wasn’t as strong an artist as I am now,” he said. “It was always me drawing and trying to bring it from my head to paper and then to the process. But, now, it’s getting easier.”

He started designing shoes in seventh grade.

“It started off as fun because I’ve always been into shoes and then started coming up with my own designs,” Charles said. “From there, it just grew and grew. Once I got to high school, I started making clothes to go with those designs and,then in my junior year, I started sewing to make the whole thing more real.”

Along the way, he had to deal with his brother and him being kicked out of DHS when they were discovered living with their grandmother and not really living in St. Charles Parish.

The possibility of so much change hitting so fast traumatized Charles, although his parents did relocate back to the area and they returned to the school.

“It was hard because this was where my family was and I didn’t know anyone in LaPlace,” he said. “I lived there, but this is where my life was.”

But he regrouped and reestablished himself and now he’s ready to become a designer and entrepreneur.

He plans on calling his business – Isolo.

“I just want to be different in everything I do and that’s where I came up with the name,” Charles said of using the Italian word that means solo for his business. “I’m definitely someone who knows that he wants to design and work. The only thing I want to do is be a successful designer.”

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