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Welcome to the Am.A-line Chronicles!

Updated: Apr 2


 

Hey everyone, welcome to Am.A-line Chronicles. This page functions just as any other blog does. However, our main focus is to highlight men in our community. Later on, we’ll also be bringing the ladies of our community into the conversation as well.


Chronicles helps shed light on our community and share success stories (or ongoing journeys) of fellow entrepreneurs, business minded folk, and creatives. For this season, we’ve focused on the journey of a man to reach the place where he thrives most. It ties in with the inspiration for the spring/summer collection…. Flourish. We’re exploring how these men reached the levels they have and what adversities they’ve gone through, or continue to go through, in order to thrive and flourish in their environment.


As we dive into their journey, we hope you find something in their story that inspires you. But first, we have to introduce you to the one who started it all…our founder, designer, and creative director.

 

Meet Ayana.


 The brain behind it all. You may have read our about page and gotten to know a little about her, but there are a few things you didn’t know. Here’s a little bit more of her journey and how she got to where she is today.


AC: What would you say has pushed you to reach the place you are now?


  A: I truly believe that the creative block I had pushed me into the place I am now. I know it may sound crazy, but I do. If it weren’t for that block and feeling like I haven’t done anything in the field I truly wanted to be, I wouldn’t have thrown myself into manufacturing, or the first step of just jumping into my first trade show at MAGIC. Did I know what I was doing when I got there?? Of course not. All I knew was that I wanted to learn as much as I could and look for someone who could possibly make the designs I had in mind. And from that point on, I have learned so much and taken leaps of faith to be where I am today.

A woman, the designer Ayana, sitting in chair in front of a dress form and degree.

 AC: What have you gone through that you would say helped shape you today?


 A: It’s tough to answer this question, especially because I can’t say that I’ve gone through the worst things imaginable to shape me into the person I am today. But, I have learned a lot through my experiences that have helped shape me.


I’ve worked many positions where I didn’t get paid and have had to scrounge change to get gas. But I did what I had to do until I finally found a position that paid. I worked for a photography firm for a while and then moved into funeral service to help with the family business. All of that amounted to about three years of no real creativity. But I learned key management skills, financial budgeting, and so many other things from that time that I’ve carried into the present.


I found that when you think about things and start getting down, especially looking at what you haven’t accomplished, there’s so much you’re missing. I realized when I opened my eyes, that I actually have accomplished so much that others my age may not have. So it was a learning moment in disguise. That wherever the journey takes you, it’s a staircase to your next level. There shouldn’t be moments to regret or feel behind because you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and you will get to wherever you’re headed.


So I’d say that the experiences I’ve had have made me grateful for the things I have and the places I’ve been. In a way, it’s my testimony to share; and, sharing with one another to help one another is definitely deeply ingrained in me.


 AC: What made you choose menswear over womenswear?


 A: I actually like to design for both, but I definitely have more of a passion for menswear. I’ve always enjoyed designing unorthodox looks, but I’d say I really started designing men’s clothing back in high school. Once I got to college and took history of costume, I definitely became more intrigued. To find that menswear hadn’t changed very much since the 1800’s spoke volumes to me. I wanted to change the aesthetic of menswear; and, still do. But now, you see more and more of that happening and more unisex garments being made as well. However, it hasn’t changed my goal or my passion.


I decided to launch my brand with a men’s line because I wanted to be clear that this is my focus. To launch a men’s line created by a woman; and, also to enter a market that has a need for something different. The women’s market is ever-evolving and heavily saturated. Not only that, but you don’t see a whole lot of women designing men’s clothing, although we do tend to style it very well. I know I’m not the only female men’s designer or brand owner, but I would like to also inspire others to design where their passion leads them.


 AC: Where do you thrive most?


 A: Where I thrive isn’t necessarily in a place, but in a state of mind or being. I continuously look for the depth of something. That something can be in inspiration, relationships, and various connections. I embrace what some people may not feel comfortable expressing in order to find a way to connect to the person or the situation. Honestly, I can be an awkward person when approached by someone I’m not ready to be approached by. But once I recognize that moment of depth, I dive into it. That’s where I’d say I thrive.


 AC: How do you define your style?


 A: My personal style, for me is hard to define. My brother likes to call it country-punk, I guess because I like a little comfort with quite a bit of edge. But when it comes to professional style, can you really define that?


 My design style, however, I have coined “flexistental”. Meaning that how the wearer tends to convey themselves can be by the clothes being worn or wearing the person in them. The question I usually pose is, what comes first, your essence or existence? In conjunction with flexistential, I also tend to design transitional clothing that can be worn from day to night, work to play, etc. There should be a multi-purpose to your clothing and I believe we should be comfortable in them.


 AC: What impact do you hope to make?


A: There are a few areas I’d like to impact. First and foremost, I’d like to make an impact in my community. I have multiple communities in reality, but at the moment I’m mainly focused on the greater Cincinnati area. Other communities would be: my home state area of Northern Virginia, the black community, the women’s community, as well as the people who like me just moved here. There is so much going on out in the world, that we all need to come together. But you have to start small in order to make bigger impacts.

The second area I’d like to impact would be to aid in the efforts of saving our environment. There’s a lot that goes into this, but if I can make tiny steps in my daily life, as well as business life, I’m going to try.


The last area that I hope to impact most are the kids coming up behind us, maybe even my own peers. I want to inspire them to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves. No matter what outside pressures are there, I hope to help them find and keep the courage to be authentically themselves. It will be hard work, but it will be worth it. They’re our future. Shoot, I mean you could say we all are our future. They just have more time to make a greater impact.

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