After gaining major media attention last year for creating a Black Lives Matter-inspired prom dress, Terrence Torrence is no stranger to viral fame. But the Palm Beach, Fla., teen behind that powerful gown has many more magical designs in him. And now he’s turning heads with another: an aspirational suit jacket featuring the face of former first lady Michelle Obama, designed for a Mississippi teen.
Worn by 18-year-old Semajai Lacy, from Southaven, the jacket originated from Torrence’s idea of wanting to have the young man feel presidential on prom night. However, when the designer started to lay out the look of the tuxedo, he decided to change directions.
“A young black man is already ‘presidential,’ and he should be focusing on finding his first lady,” Torrence tells Yahoo Lifestyle of his thought process. “That’s when I removed Obama from the layout and replaced him with his wife, Michelle.”
Although Torrence had never met Lacy in person, the designer knew the teen was the perfect choice for the bold look.
“I’m really good friends with his aunt and have heard so many positive things about him,” Torrence continues. “When I was explaining the idea to her, we both felt that he was the right person for it.”
As a proud student athlete at Southaven High School, Lacy says that he wanted to celebrate somebody who has had a positive impact on the community. When Torrence mentioned the former first lady, Lacy fell in love with the idea.
“I am a young man being raised by strong black women,” the student explains, “and Michelle Obama is the epitome of a strong woman. I’m honored to have gotten a chance to bring Terrence’s creativity to life.”
A post shared by Terrence Torrence (@terrencetorrence) on Apr 14, 2018 at 7:01pm PDT
It wasn’t the first time that Torrence had incorporated an Obama into one of his designs; that started when he made a T-shirt in 2008 during Barack’s first presidential campaign. But 2017 was the first time he took his screen printing and Photoshop skills to another level with the Black Lives Matter prom dress, featuring the faces of African-Americans who had lost their lives to gun violence — including Trayvon Martin.
Yes I'm black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me. #AllLivesMatter❤️ #BlackLivesMatter #MoveWithPurpose @oprah @steveharvey.tv @beyonce @chrisbrownofficial @badgalriri @tylerperry @kolyon @terrencetorrence @champagnepapi @liltunechi @bigsean @richforever @colinsmith23 @aliciakeys @kendricklamar @realcoleworld @kingjames
A post shared by Mimi 2️⃣3️⃣ (@_milan23_) on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:13pm PDT
“I didn’t realize how important the Black Lives Matter prom dress was until I was invited to the Trayvon Martin Foundation,” Torrence says. “Hearing the families of victims tell me how much they appreciated my message and bold statement was amazing.”
Yet his work is not nearly finished. Torrence’s Instagram feed is evidence enough that the designer has a strong passion for creating all sorts of powerful looks for teens going to prom. Because while it might just be a fun night for some, Torrence believes the dance is so much more.
A post shared by Terrence Torrence (@terrencetorrence) on Mar 31, 2018 at 8:07pm PDT
A post shared by Terrence Torrence (@terrencetorrence) on Apr 14, 2018 at 6:12pm PDT
“Prom is the Met Gala of the urban community,” he shares. “Parents spend a lot of money just to make sure their kids have the most creative, over-the-top dresses and suits. For me, it’s practice before my big New York Fashion Week runway show in the future.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• This teen is going viral for DIY’ing a $4 thrift-store dress into her ‘dream prom dress’
• Teen banned from prom at Christian school for wearing a dress with mesh cutouts
• This teen’s sharing of her gorgeous prom dress with a girl in need sparked a movement