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Maple Heights, Ohio- “I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer,” expressed Diane Linston, who is the owner of Styles of Imagination, which is the umbrella name for all of Diane’s collections. Her passion for fashion started when she took a home economics class in grade school. From there, her love of fashion grew from a dream to a reality.

Diane is very educated, as she has obtained three degrees. She has one degree in fashion design, fashion merchandising, and one in business. Through her passion and education, it allowed Linston to own a women’s manufacturer company. She is the only African American woman who has a women’s manufacturer company in Cleveland, Ohio. “ I didn’t expect to be the first of anything, I just wanted my own manufacturer company…It was hard to believe.” But with success, there is always some form of trials and tribulations. “I’m really excited about that…but it is still a struggle.” One of the hardest parts of owning a clothing line is getting your merchandise in different stores and boutiques. Although she has about twenty stores that carry her clothing line, she hopes to have her line in at least one major department store. “This year hopefully, I will be able to have my clothing in a major department store. I’m working diligently on that.”

 

Another struggle that Linston has had to face, is issues with her health. In 2010, Diane was diagnosed with a disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia, which according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is, “a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head.” In addition, “The incidence of new cases is approximately 12 per 100,000 people per year; the disorder is more common in women than in men.”

 

With everything she went through, it truly made her realize that life is short. “I felt like if I was to die from this, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish my dreams…It really makes you realize that everyday, if you have a dream, you have to live it, and see it through.” In 2011, she had brain surgery, and four moths later by the grace of God, she was back doing what she loves to do, which is fashion designing. In 2014, Diane found out that she had blood clots just inches from hitting her blood vessel. When the odds were against her, she always kept her faith. She did not let her health challenges stop her from making her dream come true.

What attracts Linston to fashion is creativity. Linston loves drawing her designs out on paper, and then she is able to put them to life. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” she expressed. The N.G.U. Design label is Diane’s signature line, and it stands for Never Give UP. This name is significant because people told her to “never give up” on her dreams. “I wanted it to be something that would stand out…and literally everyday, people would tell me to never give up.”

 

When people look at Linston’s clothing, she wants them to know that, “When a woman wears N.G.U., wear it knowing that you can accomplish your dream. I want it to give you strength.” Linston believes that clothing can give a woman confidence, or a certain drive to press forward. Women will not only be beautiful in this clothing line, but they will also be inspired and uplifted.

 

As far as her goals, Linson would love to expand her manufacturer company, provide job opportunities for others, expand her line internationally, and she would like to see her clothing on movie sets, and in the hands of celebrities. Linston’s clothing is focused on women who are 35 and up. She opened her showroom on June 1st, 2015 at 3500 Payne Ave, Cleveland Ohio. The N.G.U. collection can be seen in more than 15 stores across the United States. Linston has been featured in more than twenty magazines. She has also participated in New York and Washington DC fashion week. She also has had the opportunity to work with local and national celebrities such as actress Jazmin Lewis, Dwight Eubank of the Atlanta Housewives, and the mother of singer John Legend.

One thing she wants people to know is to always follow your dreams no matter what.

“ Don’t let anyone or anything deter you…when you believe and you pray upon it, your dreams will find a way to come.”

By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

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