As you all know GLAM Life Blog attended Funkshion as media this year. While we were out and about shmoozing with some of South Florida’s finest, we met Haitian fashion designer Dayanne Danier. Our latest Real Life Glam interview is with Dayanne and she shares her experiences as a designer for her clothing line Bien Abye by Dayanne Danier, what she thinks every woman should have in her closet, and one big tip to make it in the fashion industry!
GLB: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
DD: I am the fashion designer of a women’s ready to wear collection called Bien Abyé (which means “Well Dressed” in French Creole). It is a line that consists of tailored silhouettes with unique feminine twists that show a strong attention to detail. My focus is to create styles that make a woman look graceful by allowing her to project her inner beauty.
I grew up in Massachusetts and studied fashion design at Massachusetts College of Art. Prior to designing my own collection, I worked in the fashion industry for over a decade designing for large companies like Perry Ellis and Phillip Van Heusen.
GLB: When did you decide to become a fashion designer? Why?
DD: I decided to become a fashion designer at a very young age. Growing up, image was very big in my family. Every time we went out, my dad would stress the need to be “Bien Abyé”. The combination of being creative as a child, coupled with my parental emphasis on imaging, set the path of being a designer.
GLB: What were some of the biggest struggles you had to overcome when you first became a fashion designer? How did you overcome them?
DD: One of the biggest struggles I had to overcome is getting the brand Bien Abyé out there. Being a fashion designer means nothing if people don’t know you exist. At the same time, marketing is a big challenge with any business and as an emerging designer; it can be rough when you are competing with large brands that have huge marketing budgets. I don’t know if I would necessarily say I have overcome it, but I am definitely making strides with all the shows and interviews.
GLB: What’s the best/worst thing about being a designer?
DD: The best thing about being a designer is watching the transformation a client goes through when they are dressed in Bien Abyé. The positive reaction, the new attitude, the boost of moral; she feels like she can run the world. And that is an amazing accomplishment.
To me, there are no worst things. There are definitely challenges like every career, but overall, it is fabulous making people feel good about [the way they look] and when people look good, they feel good!
GLB: What would you say is your biggest personal success so far?
DD: My biggest personal success was my first solo fashion show during New York fashion week where I presented Spring/Summer 2012. I have done many shows before in the past, but this show was all me. Doing a solo show, the pressure is on to present a stunning collection that captivates your audience. And with this season, I did just that. The venue was amazing, Samsung Experience Room, the models were great to work with and the audience loved the line. I couldn’t have asked for a better first time solo show.
GLB: If you could design an outfit for anyone who would it be?
DD: I always love getting asked this question; it would be Michelle Obama. She has been a muse of mine for years and she represents the lifestyle of the women I design for: A woman who is active at her home, at work, and in her community and who needs to make a strong impression.
GLB: How would you describe your style?
DD: My personal style I would say is tailored and chic. I love looking put together and in vogue but not too trendy. I guess that helps when I am designing. I [like to] create pieces that I wouldn’t mind in my personal wardrobe and that can be worn anywhere.
GLB: What’s one thing that you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
DD: Every woman should have the perfect blazer/jacket in her wardrobe. It is the one piece that you can throw on and always look put together. It can go with jeans, with a leather skirt, a nice trouser, everything. Whether it is a trendy blazer made out of a printed fabric or a solid that has details
GLB: Do you have any upcoming events that you’re excited about?
DD: Yes, the first week of June, New York will be hosting Caribbean Tourism week, a fashion show with designers from each of the islands in the Caribbean is included in the list of activities. Being that I am of Haitian decent, I will be presenting my Spring/Summer collection. It will be great!
GLB: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing instead?
DD: Wow, that is a hard question because I have so many interests. When I was younger it was either fashion or computer engineer. Now, I guess it would be a full time philanthropist, although I do this in my spare time now. I really enjoy helping those in need and giving back to my community is a strong focus of mine.
GLB: Where can we find you online?
GLB: Do you have any tips for someone trying to make it as a fashion designer?
DD: The one big tip I would say is to be patient. It’s a hard business and things don’t happen overnight. Even if the press paints a picture of instant stardom, in reality, there are years of hard work behind the story. So stay true to you and be patient…. It will come.
Photo Credit (All): Kelly Spear