Clark County native finds success in costume design, on red carpets

Megan Knowles, right, stands next to actress Alexandra Billings, who is wearing one of her dresses. Contributed
Megan Knowles, right, stands next to actress Alexandra Billings, who is wearing one of her dresses. Contributed

A 2008 Shawnee High School graduate was recently recognized for career as a costume and fashion designer.

Megan Knowles was noted as a distinguished alumni in a Sinclair Community College address on April 17 that for her work that includes designing dresses for red carpet events.

Knowles grew up in Clark County. She started designing dresses as a hobby and work has been featured in five red carpet events, including two Emmy awards, two Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awards and a Screen Actors Guild ceremony.

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Her dresses have also found favor with Alexandra Billings, who is the second openly trans woman to have played a transgender character on television and is most famous for her role in the critically acclaimed show “Transparent.”

Knowles first met Billings while she was pursuing a Master’s degree in fine arts at California State University, Long Beach and they soon formed a friendship.

“We were kind of joking one time and I was like, ‘Hey, if you ever make it big, let me know and I’ll make you a dress,’ then she contacted me when she went to the Emmy awards,” Knowles said.

Having an early passion in theater combined with growing up in greater Springfield exposed Knowles to a handful of people who had experience in costuming. She noted that the close-knit nature of this field in the area and the state made it easier for her to forge connections.

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She credits these mentors with encouraging her to start working on random projects that she said fed her creative spirit, including musicals at her high school and designing costumes for the synchronized skating team Ice Force in Dayton.

“Those little projects … let me grow up to be the ‘big fish in the little pond.’ It made it so when I was ready, I could handle the massive ocean that is Los Angeles,” Knowles said.

She currently works as a freelancer and assistant costume designer in Southern California and is employed at the South Coast Repertory, a Tony-award winning theater in Orange County, with some of her work being featured in their stage production of “The Monster Builder.”

Sensing that freelancing will be in her foreseeable future in the industry, Knowles said she’s unsure where this career path will take her and would love to flourish in the theater scene.

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“I love theater, that is where my roots are and I have both my degrees in theater,” she said.

She has done some television and commercial work in Los Angeles and she said she would also like to take on more of those projects.

Speaking on the contributions that Clark County has had on her career, Knowles said that because she grew up in Springfield she will always have a lot of Ohio in her blood.

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