Shahedah Williams' Superpowers:
- Passion about what I do, which keeps me going.
- Being my authentic self.
When Fashion Design alum Shahedah Williams graduated from Moore in 2014, she didn’t initially plan to start her own business.
“I just knew that I needed a job in this industry,” she explains. “My first goal was to work at DVF [Diane von Furstenberg], but when I missed that opportunity, I continued to push to get a design job so I could pay my bills and start my career. The start was tough, and the pay wasn’t the best, but I was grateful for the opportunity to work in this industry.”
Soon enough, her plans would change. Beyond working in the fashion industry, Williams knew that she also wanted to help her community and, as she puts it, “move with purpose.” This led her to start her nonprofit, Prom Scholar Inc., in 2015.
Prom Scholar’s mission is to provide a unique prom experience to high school students who are graduating and going to college. Prom Scholar funds and provides a fully personalized prom look for each student, while also helping to raise money to support their first year of college. The selected soon-to-be graduates are provided with a custom-made gown, professional makeup and hair styling. In addition, the Prom Scholar team develops a personal bond with each student, serving as mentors and spending time with the scholars at the organization’s annual events, such as their tea party and prom dress drive.
“Growing up and not having access and opportunity motivated me to provide opportunity to those who needed it,” Williams says. “I wanted to create an opportunity that would help and inspire the youth, while using my fashion design background, and thus Prom Scholar was born.”
In addition to her work with Prom Scholar, Williams has been growing her swim resort and costume brand, Butterfly Ave, which she founded in 2019. The brand recently collaborated with Shein, and is now working on a second collection with them.
Williams has also spent the last few years working as a designer for numerous brands and companies, in addition to furthering her education, with certifications in programs like 3D design. In the near future, she aspires to become an adjunct professor in Fashion Design.
“From my time at Moore, I got an idea of how tough the fashion industry would be. I also got to take the time to tap into my creative skills,” Williams says. She values her time at Moore for enabling her to connect with like-minded people, who became part of her creative and professional network.
William’s advice for current students is to begin thinking about and preparing for their post-graduation futures sooner rather than later.
“Create a plan, whether it is a business plan or a life plan,” she says. “Planning gets you prepared for the future.”