Daniel Paige Toney ’11 — known professionally as Daniel Paige — grew up in what he describes as a “teeny, tiny little town about 30 minutes south of Lynchburg,” but these days he can be found in Los Angeles, working on fashion and costume designs for Queen Latifah, Madonna, and others in showbiz.
He also teaches fashion illustration at Otis College of Art and Design in L.A.
Toney thought he’d be a biomedical science major and eventually a plastic surgeon. First, he applied to large colleges, but admits that when he visited it was “a little overwhelming.” Some friends recommended he check out Lynchburg.
“I loved it,” Toney said. “The campus was gorgeous. It was smaller. Everyone was incredibly nice, incredibly personable. And so I kind of made the decision right there on the spot that I would come here.”
Toney enrolled, but after taking a drawing elective his sophomore year, he changed his major. Early in the semester, his art professor asked about his major. When he said biomedical science, she said he had the ability and talent and recommended he try graphic design instead.
Toney changed his major and, as a graphic design student, he designed a line of surfboards that was later produced by a California company. He also designed gowns made from fabric, VHS tape, CDs, and trash bags. Later, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and his work has been featured in Vogue magazine.
He credits his art professors with encouraging him and even helping him settle on an MFA program.
“I’m glad I went to that smaller kind of private school before I made the leap to going to a really big city and a really big program,” he said. “I feel like I had all the tools I needed.”