Antonio Armani Leon is a recent graduate from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he earned a degree in Apparel Design in addition to creating a senior thesis collection which debuted at New York Fashion Week 2020. His artistic vision is inspired by his upbringing in New Mexico, as well as his queer Mexican identity. Antonio works to design garments that simultaneously reflect the traditional aesthetics of his heritage while challenging the gender binary. He uses apparel design to promote inclusivity in the fashion industry, reflected by his designs for queer people and diverse body types, in addition to his use of exclusively POC models.
Antonio’s artistic talent began to develop at an early age, with fashion illustrations that later transformed into wearable works of art. He was mentored by a designer in an atelier, which enabled him to learn a multitude of foundational technical skills to apply to his own apparel design. As a RISD student, he had the opportunity to further his classroom educational experiences through collaboration with a diverse group of artists and designers including Reebok and Adam Dalton Blake. His breadth of experience has allowed Antonio to develop a multitude of artistic skills, including but not limited to men’s tailoring, garment construction, digital fabric design and printing, and makeup artistry. His projects involve comprehensive creative directing, from the initial sketch of and construction of a garment to the details of set design, model selection, makeup, styling, and photography that bring his designs to life.
Antonio’s vision, dedication, and hard work led him to acquire a BFA in Apparel Design as the initial step to a lifelong dedication to working as an artist. Through his education and experiences, he has gained exceptional technical ability in apparel and graphic design, which he has used to create multiple clothing collections that reflect his singular artistic vision. Post graduation Antonio has worked as Style Consultant and Alterations Specialist at Delta Airlines. He is currently a Visual Arts Research Assistant at the National Hispanic Cultural Center working directly under the Head Curator. He also has an upcoming project commissioned by the City of Albuquerque for public art at the Historic Albuquerque Rail Yards. He is prepared to engage with like-minded artists and companies as he continues to work on his own designs and in collaboration with others.