Cartooning always seemed too stiff to Akira Burgess. He knew he loved art even as a kid in Columbus, but he had too many ideas for something so repetitive, so he abandoned his plans for a career in animation.

Cartooning always seemed too stiff to Akira Burgess. He knew he loved art even as a kid in Columbus, but he had too many ideas for something so repetitive, so he abandoned his plans for a career in animation.

Now, the designer hardly ever sketches. Instead, he draws ideas for drape garments directly from the source.

"A lot of my inspiration comes from just strong women in general," Burgess said. "That's kind of why I started. I like women with goals ... But at the same time, I think that they could look sexy as well."

And he's designing with women's favorites in mind, including plans to make handbags and matching, custom shoes from the sole up, which he's dabbled in before.

Burgess launched his clothing line about a year ago. Since then he's expanded his designs - custom orders under the Akira Takashi label, a couture Kimono House collection and Ichirou menswear - but most of his pieces are individually made for his models at shows.

Akira Burgess

Label: Akira Takashi

Web: myspace.com/akiratakashi

Available: Online

Style: Statement pieces in classic designs with updated materials

All of his many ventures are self-taught from the makeshift studio he's set up at home, from sewing to deconstructing garments to see how they're made. But he'll get an inside perspective through upcoming classes at the Illinois Institute of Art.

In the meantime, he's holding off on a more public debut. "There's a lot of things I want to concentrate on ... before I really throw myself out there and be like, 'Oh yeah, now I'm in stores.' And there's a lot of things I want to perfect beforehand."