by Jennifer Buntz
Andre Terry found his niche after accidentally getting placed in the sewing section of his high school home economics class.
“The cooking class was full, so that’s when I learned how to sew,” said Terry, who was an all-around athlete at his high school in Austin. “Then I realized girls like clothes and that became my dating thing.”
Today the jock-turned-fashion-designer sells by appointment only, out of his studio located at 8204 Elmbrook in Dallas. He has experience with pageant wear and costume design, but also does ready to wear that includes pantsuits, dresses, and tops.
While Terry has done lots of personal designing, he prefers to be recognized by his brand, IMT Designs. The letters stand for “It’s My Turn,” a name Terry chose.
During his free time, Terry teaches fashion design courses at local high schools and elementary schools, and plans to start his own design school. In the next few years he wants to open up a storefront with a manufacturing studio in the back.
“A lot is happening in the next year,” Terry said. “I recently got contracted to do the apparel design for a film that will go straight to Netflix.”
One of Terry’s clients, Spruce Dickerson, won the 2011 Miss Plus America pageant wearing his designs. Entertainment Tonight airs the national competition, which is exclusive to plus-sized women. The dress Terry designed for the competition was long and green, with a jacket over it. It had jeweled details on the sleeves and a broach in the middle. Terry also designed a maroon pantsuit that Dickerson wore during the competition.
“The dress and pantsuit were absolutely magnificent, and now Andre can say he has national award-winning apparel,” Dickerson said.
Terry was born and raised in Austin. He attended Huston Tillotson University, then Austin Community College, both for fashion design. He got started in the fashion industry by doing hair shows for Paul Mitchell, and then eventually started designing the costumes the models would wear in the shows. In 1981 he put on his first fashion show in Austin, and then opened up an alterations shop that also rented evening gowns in the back. It was his interest in formal wear that led him to designing pageant dresses.
“Some gowns I have designed have won the Miss Black Texas pageant, Miss Plus America, and Miss Plus Texas,” Terry said.
Pageants aren’t the only place Terry’s designs see the stage. He also tours with national playwright, director, and producer La Terras R. Whitfield. Andre designs all of the costumes for the characters every time Whitfield goes on tour. Terry has been designing for Whitfield for six years. One of the plays that Terry had a lot of fun with was “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. He created a memorable outfit for Willy featuring bright purples and greens, and costumes with green wigs for the Oompa Loompas.
“Terry and IMT Designs deliver exceptional quality and cutting edge fashion designs. I trust him completely, and if anything goes wrong he makes sure it gets fixed,” Whitfield said.
The ringmaster for the Universal Soul Circus has also worn Terry’s designs. The outfit featured a sequined tuxedo jacket with a top hat to match.
It’s his personal and purposeful touch that keeps Dickerson coming back for more. She said Terry knows how to put confidence in women by knowing their exact style. He never hesitates to go the extra mile, and gives his clients personalized service by coming to their homes for styling.
“I plan to continue to use Andre in the future as well. I am hosting the Miss Georgia and Miss Florida Plus American pageants next year, and I want him to design a gown for both,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson isn’t the only nationally recognized name Terry has clothed. Professional tennis player Vanessa Williams, singer and actress Kim Fields, and singer-songwriter Angie Stone are also among his clientele.
Although Terry enjoys pageantry and costume designs, as well as formal wear, he prefers ready-to-wear, and describes his personal style as timeless, sexy, and classic.
“I like versatility and things you can wear more than one way,” Terry said. “I still love things I designed 10 years ago.”
Terry designs clothes for people of all shapes and sizes, and according to his clients, that’s what makes him unique.
“I personally am a curvy woman, and he knows my body and my curves and can design things to fit my body beautifully. He also knows exactly what my style is,” Dickerson said.
Check out IMT Designs by going to Andre Terry’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IMTDESIGNSByAndre. Terry is also looking for fashion design interns in his office, and those interested are welcomed to call him at 214-721-4203.