Tuesday, 20 September 2011

DESIGNING WOMAN: Ayanna Dixon reflects on highlights from NY Fashion Week and plots her future

DESTINY'S CHILD: "I’m excited to see my brand grow," says Dixon.

Local TV audiences rooted for her earlier this year on Mission Catwalk’s breakout season (she finished as runner-up) and celebrated with her when she unveiled her first collection at Miami Fashion Week. Now, the adorable young Jamaican designer Ayanna Dixon has set her sights on conquering the Caribbean. She phoned in to TALLAWAH to chat about inspiration, the coolest moment in her life, and watching her brand take off.

With a fashion piece, the average person only sees the fabulous finished product without giving a thought to the sweat and struggle that probably went into its creation. Tell me about your creative process.
Usually, I like to sketch ahead of time for a collection or a client, whatever the case. I like illustrating so I know what’s the best fabric to choose. And then I get the necessary material and supplies before I get down to making my patterns. And then I take it from there.

New York Fashion Week just wrapped presentations of the Spring 2012 collections. Who inspired you and who left you feeling disappointed?
Well, I was really surprised that I liked so many of the collections this year. I really enjoyed the simpler collections like the one by Philip Lim. Donna Karan’s collection, which was inspired by Haiti, had some lovely earth tones. And there were a couple others that had simple, clean lines. I wasn’t really disappointed by anyone. Being a designer, I know they worked very hard on the pieces. And when it comes to fashion, you might not like one particular collection from a designer, but next time he might come up with something that impresses and inspires you.

For you, what was the highlight of being a finalist on Mission Catwalk?
Definitely showing at Miami Fashion Week. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life and the best thing that ever happened to me. It was like that moment when you hear the angels sing. It was breathtaking. When I came off the runway I was so happy, I had to call everyone (Laughs). Also, when I won my first challenge on the show I was very, very happy because it had taken so long for me to finally win a challenge!

You’re 25 now. What did that age seem like a decade ago?
It seemed old (Laughs). But other than that, I didn’t know what I wanted to do [in the future]. I had no idea. I’ve always loved fashion, but I didn’t think I’d become a fashion designer and be at an international Fashion Week. I didn’t yet have that vision for myself.

What can we expect from your line in the new year and beyond?
ASD (asdclothing.com) is my swimsuit and T-shirt line, and I plan to do more in terms of designing the swimsuits and T-shirts and make them more affordable. For my other line, Ayanna Dixon for ASD, I have some really cool ideas that I plan to work on. I’m definitely excited about seeing my brand grow. It was just last year that I started taking fashion designing seriously, and I think that in the short span of time I have achieved a whole lot. And right now I want to keep the momentum going. I hope to be in Trinidad and Barbados in the next six months and then further across the Caribbean so I can be more well-known.

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