Who am I as a designer?

I have always had a worldly point of view when it came to style. As a young girl, my parents encouraged me to discover new cultures and flavors, which later translated into my love of clothing and styles of dress. I admired everything from bindis, to kimonos to daishikis to kilts. Always curious, as a child I made it my life’s mission to become a great student of the world. I never have been afraid to try new things. I was the student in the 90s who wore an afro, and thigh highs. I fell in love with bohemian skirts and peasant tops. There was something about the mystery and romance of a head scarf and wearing silver wire arm bands. I wore them on my calves and thighs. I was quickly dubbed “The Warrior Princess” or the “The Amazon”. I wore crocheted tops and swirling skirts. Adornments on my forearms and heavily jeweled fingers, it’s no wonder why “Gypsy” became my nickname. I have truly lived up to that name. The free spirit and collection of memories has always motivated me to design and create from a new perspective.

I have watched my parents work hard my entire life. My parents taught me to work hard for what I want. They also taught me to go out and discover and learn, whatever my heart desired. I watched my mother create and sew clothing for our family. I was always fascinated with how she would put together fabric and patterns in order to create an outfit. She was magic. I wanted to be just like her. One day she helped me to design and create a night gown with a piece of tropical print floral fabric and I was hooked. From the moment on, I designed everything. I learned the beauty of creation from my mom. The ingenuity of transforming one material and it into something else is my first love. The thrill of that alchemy courses through my bones. My dad, is a man who does everything meticulously. I always admired how perfect his measurements were or how comfortable he was when it came to any mathematical equation. He would be so innovative when it came to “Macguyvering” any thing around the house. My father would get a book and study whatever he wanted to learn and then later, execute. One time, my father fixed a pair of my heels, with a nail, spatula, and a hammer! I became fascinated with how things work after that. I, at the moment, decided that having “no prior knowledge” would never hold me back from gaining that knowledge. I was voracious when it came to learning. Knowledge has become the banner in emblazoned on my heart. I learned how to decide for myself who and what I am from my father. Mediocrity is never an option. I am the embodiment Ngozo Saba. I am Kujichagulia.

Entering into Pratt Institute completely changed my life. I was introduced to a bevy of students who were just like me. The art world of Pratt encouraged me to travel even more and I learned from others the true sense of being an artist. Classes in photography, light/color/design, painting, 3D sculpting etc further shaped my world into one where design knows no bounds. Art is truly transformative. I am borne anew every time an idea springs to mind. I’m a serial creator. A divine producer. I have had several people in my life tell me that I would venture into the world of fashion and art. Wonderful friends like Zsatinae Slaughter and Calvin Lyte planted seeds in my head that I did not know would ever sprout. I never believed until Pratt. But, as your heart’s desires will do, the creativity in me shone through and I have found my true North.

Divine and Sugar, and RockCandy Unlimited are just the beginning…

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