Award-winning fashion designer Tina Knowles made history on Monday, October 3, as her life story became the fifteenth addition to the University of Houston's "Living Archives." The Living Archives are the oral history arm of the Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection.
Lauded for her work as a fashion designer and stylist, businesswoman and philanthropist, the Texas native told her story in an interview with journalist Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle. The enthusiastic crowd, including her lifelong friends and family members; three brothers, one sister, her niece and nephew and daughter, Beyonce, listened as Miss Tina (as she is affectionately known) told her story about growing up in Galveston, Texas, the youngest of seven children and recounted early lessons she learnt from her parents, particularly her seamstress mother, the late Agnez Dereon Beyonce, that would set her on her path. She also talked about her deep bond with her two daughters, Beyonce and Solange, and what it was like designing for and travelling with Destiny's Child.
Tina Knowles started making clothes in the early days for Destiny's Child because of small budgets and denial from major fashion houses to loan clothes to the still-budding group that would go on to become one of the most successful recording groups of all time.
Today she is the founder and creative director of three successful fashion collections, House of Dereon, the contemporary line which launched internationally at Selfridges & Co. in London last month, Dereon, the casual lifestyle brand and Miss Tina by Tina Knowles, which is sold exclusively at Walmart.
Seven Tina Knowles' designs, all worn famously by Beyonce including the dress she wore to the 2009 Oscars and one she wore to the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, were on display at the entrance of the University of Houston's MD Anderson Library.
Throughout the interview, Miss Tina credited her beloved mother for her foundation and said she still marvels at her own success. She reminded the audience that rewards come with hard work and that no job is ever too small for her to do.
A major part of the oral history was about giving back and her dedication to making a difference in the lives of others. She talked about the Survivor foundation and its partnership with St. John's Church, The Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth and the Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments, all with a focus to bring aid to Houston's needy and displaced citizens.
Asked what she wants her legacy to be Miss Tina answered through tears simply, "that I was a good person."
Deeply connected to her faith she said her message to her mom would be that her prayers were answered.
The Living Archives Interviews are the oral history arm of the UH Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection. The Archive, founded in 1996 by the Friends of Women's Studies, and housed in University Archives in the MD Anderson Library, collects the papers and oral histories of Houston area women's organizations and of women who've made history here.