Making It: Diane Linston's Dreams of Designing Fashion

Making It

MAKER: Diane Linston

BUSINESS: N.G.U. Designs

LIVING HER DREAM: Diane Linston learned to sew in Home Economics class at age 15, and knew right away that she wanted to be a fashion designer. As a young adult, Linston was known for her unique style and flare for fashion. Her excitement and passion for the industry remains strong, and today she operates “Styles of Imagination,” a successful women’s boutique, on Payne Avenue in Cleveland’s Asia Town.  

NEVER GIVE UP: Linston encountered many setbacks along her road to success in the fashion industry, but she remained determined to achieve her dream. Even through serious health issues along the way, she kept her faith. “When I opened up my first boutique, people would always say, ‘Never give up’,” Linston said. “And I said ‘never give up.’ N-G-U. NGU Designs by Diane Linston.” Now, the NGU label is carried in 32 stores across the United States.

UNMISTAKEABLE STYLE: “It makes you feel good,” Linston said of her signature label. “People will know you’re wearing an NGU Designs.” Linston wanted to create versatile pieces in the collection to meet the daily demands of today’s woman. Her main goal: Making customers feel confident.

STANDOUT SUCCESS: “I’m the only African American female who manufactures clothing here in Cleveland,” Linston explained. In her boutique, which opened in 2015, she also lends a helping hand to other local designers. “I not only manufacture my own clothing, I manufacture other emerging designers, because I know what they’re going through.”

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