Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a multicultural biracial artist living in Brooklyn, New York. I work in the fashion industry as a designer for womens’ intimates apparel. I appreciate garments with attention to fine details, and working with lingerie allows me the opportunity to bring that appreciation to life.
Why do you sew?
My parents are both Muslim, and in the Quran, it is believed everyone is born with a gift. During a time when I was experiencing a tremendous amount of self-doubt my father said to me “You have gifts, that is not a question and to deny them is to deny their existence.” It is something that touched me deeply and has stayed with me. I sew because it is within me to do so.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
I like to create playlists that correspond to the four seasons to listen while I sew. These really help to set a tone for me to work. Now that it’s spring, I have one called ‘Warm Weather’ on repeat; it has a mix of upbeat songs and jazzy French tunes. I also recently learned of the “Love to Sew” podcast and I love it! The podcast has a lighthearted feel that puts me in a cheerful mood when sewing.
What is your first memory of beauty?
I grew up in Upstate New York in a home that my parents built on acres of land. A forest laid to one side of the house and on the other a vast field of tall grass. At the crack of dawn, a thick layer of fog blanketed the field, and the stems of grass just barely peeked over the top. The early sunlight would give a soft mauve hue to the wispy grey-white fog. I still remember the smell of the wet grass and the cool chill of the morning air, while gazing in awe at the dreamy world lying just beyond our home. It is an image I will never forget.
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
As the child of an immigrant mother, this has always been a difficult question for me to answer- mainly because I do not readily identify home as one specific place the way others might. That said, I cannot think of home without thinking of West Africa. I was born in Burkina Faso, and my mother’s home is in Ghana; growing up, we would constantly travel between those countries and our home upstate. This has caused the idea of home to be more of a ‘feeling’ rather than a ‘place’ for me. I would consider everywhere I’ve lived to be a part of that feeling, and that experience has inspired me by immersing me in so many cultures.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
I recently finished ‘Words Apart, ’a book of poetry by Jonas Mekas, and a new favorite of mine. The prose takes the form of a diary, reflecting the journalistic nature of his films. Each word is its own line, and I find it’s a great way for the reader to pause, breathe, and consider the full meaning of each word before moving on to the next. His poetry focuses on an appreciation for the beauty found in life’s everyday moments, which resonates strongly with me. I’m excited to read his following book, “Message Ahead.”
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
I’ve always been making things for as long as I can remember- from paper dolls, to “mud pies,” to fantastical drawings of dragons with three heads. I suppose my first step into fashion was a cat outfit I would wear back in first grade. With a pair of scissors, I fashioned my mother’s pantyhose into a bodysuit, then crafted shoes out of paper and duct tape. I then made paper whiskers and a pantyhose tail to complete the look. This was no Halloween costume but was something I had considered an ‘everyday’ look. It was a bit of a phase that I’m sure my mother was happy to see me grow out of!
Who are your muses and inspiration?
My twin sister Lisa is my forever muse. I am my most creative self whenever I am around her, or even just when speaking on the phone (as we do every day). We are very close, and the bond we share brings out the best in both of us. It is difficult to put into words how she inspires me, but just by simply existing in this world with me, she does.
It’s not just my sister who inspires me. Within fashion, I find a lot of inspiration in vintage clothing. They’re beautiful artifacts of their time and provide a great record of the efforts and skills of others. No matter the era, you will always find items with stunning detail and craftmanship. I see that in the world around us too, in the small moments that make up my day to day. How the trees line my block, how the sidewalk seems to shimmer or even how the sound of my little brother laughing makes me feel.
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
I’ve always had confidence in my work, but haven’t always had the self-esteem to really put myself out there. I’m fortunate to now have a small circle of creative friends who constantly inspire me and support me to have more confidence in myself as an artist/designer. I also recently joined the sewing community on Instagram, through my account sewing.archives. I started this as a way to meet other sewists and to create a personal space to express myself. The people here have been so welcoming and encouraging, I’m happy to have connected with them!
How important is it to make something with your hands?
I feel blessed to have the ability to imagine something and then create it using my own hands. It is not a gift I take for granted. Having the capability of making my dreams into something tangible is a skill I hope to spend my life refining and improving.
What does success mean to you?
Success is knowing how to advocate for myself. It is being able to see the abundance in my life and appreciate it. And each time I am able to bring my dreams to life, I consider it to be a success.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
With my love for earth tones, I chose a rich CHOCOLATE brown linen in a heavyweight softened finish. I have always believed if you listen closely, the fabric will tell you exactly what it wants to be. When the fabric arrived, I felt the soft drape in my hand despite its heavier weight and knew right away I would make a casual summer suit. I made the set using two vintage patterns in my stash; McCall’s 4671 for an oversized blazer and Vogue 1379 to create a matching pair of pleated shorts.