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''I don't like to do the same thing over and over,'' he says with a smile. ''I love change.''

Among his pet projects is Pooch Décor, a line inspired by his own lovable -- and well-loved -- pets. As he chats in his living room, dogs Cricket and Taylor are constant companions, along with his cat, Logo. The memory of his first dog, the late Pica, remains strong as well. His pets aren't just inspirational, they help Supon keep control of his life.

''Pets aren't an accessory for me,'' he says. ''I always get so mad when people think that pets are a toy or a fashion accessory. They keep me calm, they force me to go out and play, and they take the stress away.''

With his sparkling sense of style and playfulness, Supon is not just a designer who makes his home in an unlikely city.

He's simply an original.

METRO WEEKLY: You grew up in Thailand, but you also went to high school in Northern Virginia -- you're kind of a local boy as well. How did you end up coming to this area?

SUPON PHORNIRUNLIT: I came here because my parents wanted me to have the education abroad. At that time, we had a cousin who happened to be living in Alexandria, so my parents sent me to live here. I went to T.C. Williams high school. Then I went to NOVA -- Northern Virginia Community College -- for two years.

I had been doing some acting in Thailand. And it went a little overboard because I started to skip school. I saw acting as a full-time thing. My parents did not want me doing that, to drop out of school [to become an actor]. I think that's one of the reasons why they wanted to send me over here, because then I would have to really stay in school.

MW: How old were you?

SUPON: About 17 -- it was my last year of high school.

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