Posts tagged "fashion designer"

Meet Ashaka Givens!

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Feature, Latest | by — January 15, 2020

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Dripping in chic, wrapped in bohemian flare + topped with powerful statements, are all the ingredients poured into each piece created by Brooklyn-based celebrity designer, Ashaka Givens!

From dressing the most influential creatives in the culture to fashion mavens, she has married style + detail into her passion of design! Givens’ love affair with fashion began in high school where she intuitively taught herself how to design women’s clothing and produced her own runway shows! She went on to study fashion design at Buffalo State College and spent a leg of her time there as a student at the Manchester Metropolitan University in England. It was abroad where she honed her tailoring techniques and studied couture design. She further developed her signature style think “funk-meets-sophistication” at the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating with the class of 1996.

The New York native designs have not only been featured on the runways of Mercedez Benz Fashion Week but have also dressed + created custom pieces for tastemakers such as singer Erykah Badu, rapper/actor Common, rapper Missy Elliot, singer Raphael Saadiq, The Roots’ funky drummer, ?uestlove, and Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu! Givens continues to showcase her authentic artistry while giving women the gift of beauty and confidence each and every day!

Our C.O.R.E interns had a chance to chat with designer, Ashaka Givens! Let’s get to know her a little better…

What do you hope to achieve by creating your clothing line?

I hope to make women feel empowered and confident in the things that they wear even if it’s a hat, a dress, whatever it may be, I want them to feel strong and beautiful because that’s what we should feel every day!

How do you reflect your own individuality (along with your clients‘) in the items that you create?

It’s all in how you cut [the fabric]. I always have my hand in the way something drapes or fits on an individual’s body. There’s always a sense of my passion for life and for femininity and for even a little bit of romance woven into my designs.

What are the biggest names you’ve designed for?

Erykah Badu, Wangechi Mutu, a famous artist whose pieces are in the MoMa, the Tate, and a lot of other art museums.

Some others are Common, Raphael Saadiq, and TLC.  Working with people who are worldwide has been a huge honor. There’s so many, but thankfully they have all been incredible and I had an amazing time with all of them. I’ve never had any complaints working with any of them. It’s been a blessing!

How do you keep up with society while also maintaining your style?

Staying in touch with the youth. I ask questions such as “So who’s inspiring you now or who do I need to listen to now?”

What do you think sets you apart from other designers and boutique owners? What makes your designs or your ideas special?

That’s hard to say because it’s me. You know how people make a pot of soup with the same ingredients it turns out so different from each other, that’s essentially what I do. I take different colors, or textures, or fabrics and things that are in right now to make something that stands out from other pieces.

Have you ever had any doubts about becoming a designer or boutique owner?

No, I’ve always been confident. You know what you know. I love to teach from high school level to my oldest student being 60 yrs. old. I know how to design a dress and turn sketches into an actual piece so I was always confident in myself and my abilities.

Were there times of frustration? Yes, times of frustration when I had an idea, but it wasn’t working out, but in the end I always put something together. You have to remember that you’re always learning.

I noticed that in your bio, it talks about you studying abroad in England, so I wanted to know what that was like for you and how it has helped you develop your skills as a designer

Yeah, it was amazing! It was actually my first time on a plane leaving from Buffalo, NY to London. It was awesome, it was a bit of a culture shock. But it was good to live somewhere else where people don’t know you so you can develop a new sense of individuality. It’s like trying a new food, but it’s everything, different culture, new people, etc. Just immersing yourself into a different culture can be great for developing your individuality and exploring yourself.

If you weren’t a boutique owner, what would you be doing instead?

Probably cooking, either that or perfumery not with chemicals, but with essential oils. Maybe that or traveling, like if I had an infinite amount of money I would travel.

As a woman in your position, what advice can you give to young people who want to get where you are?

Never stop learning. Interns, speak up about your interests and be confident about it because that’s what attracts us.

Travel. It opens your whole mind to cultures and ways of doing things. Just emerge yourself in it. Just keep trying until something resonates and you’re like “this lights me up”

I am confident in myself and my abilities and everything that I’ve learned. – Ashaka Givens, an affirmation.

Check out more of Ashaka’s beautifull hand-crafted designs:

Ashaka Givens

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BY: Melanie Santiago and Jada Jackson