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This Army Veteran is ‘Topping’ the Fashion Charts

This Army Veteran is ‘Topping’ the Fashion Charts

There aren’t many people who can muster the resolve to rise above their struggles and come out on top as winners unless your name is Duane Topping

An acclaimed fashion designer, Duane Topping has had his work featured on runways during NYFW, Denver Fashion Week, Baltimore Fashion Week, San Diego Fashion Fest and Kansas City Fashion Week. His work has also been published in Vogue and his words of inspiration were heard with TEDx Milehigh.

 But his life wasn’t always a bed of roses.

As an ex-serviceman who retired from the US Army in 2012, Duane went through many lows post-retirement and found himself struggling with PTSD. It was only after the support of his wife, who shone her positivity and became his light to propel him away from the depths of darkness in 2016, that Duane found his calling. 

His once suppressed passion for fashion was reignited as he discovered the artist within himself. The beginning was slow yet steady as he taught himself to sew. The first of his many creations was a purse, which was sewn together in a temporary set up on a T.V tray. It wasn’t perfect by any means. It didn’t even serve its purpose as it was sewn upside down but this did not deter Duane from honing his craft. 

The flames of creativity and fashion engulf his life, and he admits to finding a peculiar serenity in the creative process of fashion design. 

His brand represents the ashes of those flames that soared high and set him free from the shackles of sadness and endless dilemma. 

Duane Topping promotes the people who wear his clothes as his inspiration. According to him, he only prepares the wrapping and the people who wear it are the real gift. Through his label, Duane hopes to provide light to others. 

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His designs are an amalgamation of the diverse and alluring nature of a woman’s body and her grace as well as his journey to becoming a fashion designer. 

He strongly believes that our clothes define our character. We can use our spirit to glow through our fabric and let our voices be heard through our designs. 

Duane Topping is a towering example of success who shows how we can use fashion to rise from adversaries and weave successful paths for ourselves. 

Model: Maria Savoy | Photography: Eli Stack
Model: Amirah Lacey | Photography: Eli Stack
Model: Samantha Smitka | Photography: Eli Stack
Model: Brandy Palacios | Photography: Eli Stack
Model: Victoria Gevorkov | Photography: Eli Stack
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