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There was a creative passion burning inside Marnita Miller.    ///   In high school, she was continuously drawing, doodling and sewing. Home economics teachers Faye Thompson and Jane Flowers and art teacher Randy Jolly recognized Millers gifts, and with their encouragement, the 1979 Warren Central High School graduate had her sights set on attending the Parsons School of Design in New York.

However, because her father, Lt. David Lewis of the Vicksburg Fire Department had been tragically killed in a fire that broke out at the Paul Pride Butane Co. in 1974, Miller said her mother was apprehensive about letting her go too far from home.

So instead of heading off to the Big Apple, Miller wound up taking classes in business administration at Alcorn State University.

Following her years out of high school and college, she also married and became a mother.

Life was good, but now more than four decades later Miller’s passion to design has reignited and her dream of becoming a fashion designer has become a reality.

“There is a purpose, and time and a season for everything,” Miller said.

This past March, Miller participated in the New Orleans Fashion week, where 15 of her designs were showcased.

Miller said it had been a happenchance moment that had occurred with one of her granddaughters that reignited her passion and with her creative juices flowing again, she decided to submit an application to the New Orleans Fashion week.

“After praying about it, I just took a chance,” Miller said.

Unfortunately she missed the application deadline, but after calling to see if there was anyway she could still be accepted, she was told she could have one more day.

This put Miller in a panic, she said because in less than 24 hours she would need to send in pictures of clothing pieces and meet all the criteria requested on the application form.

The criteria were stringent for submission Miller said, and she was not sure she would be able to fulfill adequately all the requirements, but two days later, a call came.

“A representative called me and said, ‘we love your stuff, and we would love to have you featured in this year’s New Orleans fashion week,’” Miller said.

After calming down from the excitement, Miller said she started drawing and sketching and made a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of fabric so that she could put together a collection for the show.

“All the pieces had to be cohesive and tell a story, so my collection was more fun, free flowing and vivid colors.

Miller’s clothing brand is named EFABB (Edgy, Fashionable, Affordable, Beautiful Brand) and pieces that were showcased during the New Orleans show were geared towards children and ranged in sizes from 5 to 10.

“The pieces are ready to wear, fun and flirty,” Miller said.

During the fashion show, Miller said, professional children models showcased her clothing line.

These same young children will also travel to subsequent shows that the Vicksburg native has already been invited to, along with adult models that will wear pieces of a line Miller is in the midst of designing.

The fashion industry has been very helpful, Miller said.

There are those who have already reached out and have begun showing her the ropes and encouraging and offering advice, so one day she can showcase her talents during New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

“These people are willing to share everything, and when they love your line, they love your line,” Miller said.

Becoming a fashion designer had been put on the “back burner” Miller said, but now she said she is thankful God has allowed her to pick up where she left off in high school.

“I thank God that he still allowed me to be able to do this,” Miller said.

 

 

 

 

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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