Meet Tina Knowles Lawson, the mother of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles. Beyond being the mother of this celebrity duo, she is an entrepreneur who created successful clothing lines like the House of Deréon, Deréon, and Miss Tina.
Affectionately called “Miss Tina,” Lawson grew up in “a real small town” in Galveston, Texas, during the 1950s. The last of seven siblings, she grew up in an entrepreneurial family – her father was a longshoreman, while her mother was a seamstress.
At a very young age, Lawson picked up dressmaking, creating sparkly stage outfits for her Supremes-inspired singing group while in high school, according to the New York Times. However, she invented herself as a makeup artist for Shiseido Cosmetics when she moved to California at the age of 19.
A year later at Shiseido Cosmetics, she returned to Texas after her parents fell ill. According to the Times, her then-husband, Matthew Knowles, a former Xerox executive, assisted her to open a 12-seat hair salon in Houston called Headliners. The salon would go on to help the Knowles family afford an upper-class lifestyle.
Lawson returned to dressmaking following the formation of Destiny Child, which catapulted her daughter Beyoncé to success. According to the Times, she designed cutaway Boy Scout uniforms, barely-there camouflage hot pants, and Tarzan-like fur sheaths for the group to wear onstage.
She soon became a fashion sensation in the US, leading to the launch of House of Deréon, a trendy, low-priced clothing brand she named after her mother (Beyonce’s grandmother).
She continued to create showstoppers for Beyoncé, even though she later became a solo artist. In 2005, she designed the black brocade ball gown Beyoncé wore for the 2005 Academy Awards.
However, in 2009, Lawson closed down all her fashion businesses after filing for divorce from Mr. Knowles after 33 years of marriage.
“I kind of lost myself,” she told the Times, “All these things that I love — going to art shows, reading art books, going out dancing — I had stopped. That’s not really loving yourself, if you’re not taking care of yourself in terms of your needs and what makes you happy.”
Although she was not expecting to find love again, she met Richard Lawson, an actor who has appeared in movies including For Colored Girls, Poltergeist, and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. They subsequently tied the knot in 2013, according to Oprah Daily.
She also resumed her self-imposed break from fashion to design the outfit Solange wore in her music video, “Cranes in the Sky,” and the one she wore to former President Barack Obama’s farewell party at the White House.