Lafayette designer hits the big time at Emmys
Sep. 30, 2017
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — You might have seen Romey Roe around town. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate tends bar for many events and works nights at Social Southern Table and Bar.
But Roe is much more than that. His real name is Nathan Walker. He is the creative force behind his fashion design brand, Romey Roe, the name by which many know him.
Roe's designs recently gained notoriety when two of his gowns appeared on the red carpet at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards show on Sept. 17. It was a first for the young artist.
"Overwhelming is the word that comes to mind," the New Iberia native said. "I've been living it for the past few months and making sure they are perfect. There has been so much love and support and positive reactions from so many places. It's just really amazing, kind of surreal in a way."
Actress and producer Shanna Forrestall wore a two-piece illusion gown Roe designed with metallic threads and nude backing. Roe and Forrestall have known each other for several years. They met at Fashion Week in New Orleans. Forrestall is a Louisiana girl whose hometown is Gonzales.
"It was a given that he was my first choice when deciding on a gown for the 2017 Emmy's," Forrestall said. "His work is striking and I knew he would create a unique showpiece to accentuate my curves. The dress was a hit. Everywhere I went on Sunday people raved about how powerful and unique it was."
Roe's other show-stopping design was worn by actress Liz Fenning. If you are a horror movie fan, you may have seen Fenning's appearances in such films as Ghosthunters (2016) and The Ghostmaker (2012). She is also the program supervisor of Actors for Autism.
Fenning posted several pictures of herself at the Emmy's wearing the dramatic gown of red silk satin with a lace and sequin bodice.
"I can't say enough wonderful things about designer Romey Roe or the folks I got to go to the #Emmys with," she wrote on Facebook. "I can just say that you all made me feel like a princess."
Roe said it all started when Forestall saw his collection at Fashion Week. She called him and asked if he would like to dress her for the upcoming Emmys. Roe said they both hoped to shine a light on the Southern market and, as he put it, "show people that the South can do some amazing things."
"Liz and Shanna are best friends," Roe added. "Liz said, 'I would love for you to dress me, as well.' It was an incredible opportunity. But also, they are great humanitarians that do a lot for their communities, so that was really important to me. They are beautiful inside and out, and that was important for my brand."
Both dresses took weeks to make and the tight deadline made things hectic. But Roe said he wouldn't trade the experience for anything, especially given his love for creating high fashion.
Although Roe learned much of his trade as a student of design at UL, he said he believes his natural talent comes from family. His grandmother made clothes for his mother and aunt. His mother worked at Fruit of the Loom, a clothing manufacturing plant, for 25 years.
These days, the budding fashion expert splits his time between doing what he loves and doing what he must to survive.
"As most artists do, I still have a night job," Roe said with a laugh. "Until I get my brand off the ground, up-and-coming artists have these dual jobs. It's the kind of thing you do so you can keep your art alive."
Roe will get more chances to showcase his latest collection at a special fundraiser being hosted by friend Sharon Moss. Gowns, Ghouls and Giving will benefit Acadiana Animal Aid. The event will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 for a VIP event and the show will start at 8 p.m. at the Moss Motors BMW showroom. It will feature champagne, treats and a fashion show with evening gowns and other pieces from the Romey Roe collection.
"I just wanted to do something to show people how wonderful he is and at the same time give back to the community," Moss said. "He is so talented and such a nice young man. And so humble. He really deserves it."
"That's something a lot of people don't really realize," Roe added. "It takes a lot to get out there and it takes a lot of amazing support. And, thanks to Sharon, I've had that."
Now that his creations have made the red carpet, Roe is optimistic about his future. But he doesn't yet know where that will lead him.
"I just want to be able to wake up every day and do what I love," he said. "I'm hoping I'll be able to keep doing what I've been doing."
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com