Asha Daniels' latest collection, "Afropunk," is not for the wallflower woman. "I design for women who are not afraid to wear something that will stand out and draw attention," Asha explains. "Afropunk" began with a request and a vision. Read on to hear from the designer her inspiration behind the collection.
Niyah// So the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2016 collection is “AfroPunk,” [an annual music festival held in Paris, NYC, and Atlanta, that celebrates art, black culture, music, and individuality]. Can you tell me how you came about this idea for a fashion line and what your brainstorming process was like once you had this idea as your foundation?
Asha// My girlfriend, Julietta who is very eccentric and has a cool sense of style, wanted me to make some custom pieces because she was going to New York for the MTV awards. She was also attending the AfroPunk fest. It was a great challenge to create something for this festival that still fits my brand and her style. So I started sketching some ideas, and did some research on Afropunk and realized it was the perfect fit for my brand. After coming up with a lot of sketches, I decided to turn it into a collection. I thought this would be a good way to showcase the many layers of black people and this subculture of Afropunk that not many people outside of our culture even know about.
Niyah// What was the most challenging part of creating this collection?
Asha// I had a lot of fun doing this collection! Obviously, there are many challenging parts to creating any collection. What I spent the most time and effort into was the hand detailing. It was a balancing act to mix these intricate details with the quilted pattern and not have it look too much or too little. I needed the perfect balance. I had to keep putting on and taking away for each piece to achieve that equilibrium.
Niyah// Who do you envision wearing this collection? Who would be your ideal client?
Asha// My ideal client is a woman that is a fashion innovator. She’s not afraid to wear something that will stand out and draw attention. She’s a woman who loves her curves and is sexy, but also has a very serious side to her and her career. The girl that I design for is a girl who has many layers to her. She’s sexy, intelligent, a nurturer, spiritual, but also goes to the club. She’s not afraid of being more than one thing and being things that may contradict each other.
"She’s sexy, intelligent, a nurturer, spiritual, but also goes to the club."
Niyah// How has this collection been received?
Asha// People really respond well to it. I wanted to see if I could make a heavily afrocentric collection that would translate to different cultures. Models from different backgrounds tell me that they love it. It was received very well at the fashion show. Older audiences from different backgrounds tell me they love it. An older woman wanted to buy my dashiki, which was awesome. I love that this subculture [Afropunk] has been able to inspire many different backgrounds. The collection has been featured in Polly magazine.
Niyah// What is your personal favorite piece from the collection, and how would you style it for everyday?
Asha// The pyramid separates because that look is so killer. I like to dress intimating which is how that look comes off. I love how it moves when I walk. I like that the seprates can be worn with other pieces in the collection as well, which makes it easy to dress down.
Niyah// You did an editorial shoot for the collection that had a “Vampire” theme. The images are beautiful! How did you come up with this creative spread and how does it tie back into the “Afropunk theme?”
Asha//The collection has a dark edge to it with the leather, dark red color scheme, plaid, etc. So I thought it would be cool to do a punk, vampire-esque vibe that would stand out with Spring Grove Cemetery’s background.
Niyah// So what’s coming next? Any exciting projects you can give us a hint on?
Asha// Project Runway All Star’s premiered February 11th. I think that will be a surprising & fun watch. The group challenge episode will be really interesting. There's a ton of drama of course- if anyone remembers my last season's group challenge.