I first met designer Imani Whyte during New York Fashion Week through my friend Najee Wilson. Whyte showed my some photos of her work, and I was hooked. I knew I had to bring it straight to you. Here is an interview I did with the designer, and when you get done reading it, go support her Facebook page.
When did you become interested in fashion? I became interested in fashion design at the tender age of 10 years old. I was taking a Saturday art class & child modeling when I realized that this is my dream and I wanted to pursue fashion design as a long term career.
Where did you study or were you self-taught? I am a self-taught seamstress. I already knew how to draw BUT I wouldn’t be the designer I am today without honing my skills in High School at the High School of Fashion Industries and continuing my education at The Savannah College of Art & Design, The University of Creative Careers (SCAD).
How did you hone your craft? Honestly, I am a bit of a procrastinator however; I am a hard worker. Not to mention, I am diligent and a bit of a perfectionist. Overall, I want the best for myself and what I do in fashion: therefore, I continue to work hard. Practice makes perfect!
What was your inspiration for this collection? 2010- The African Fabrics were a constant inspiration. I always seek to make every woman feel royal; so I did modern day clothes & silhouettes with a twist of royalty, elegance and class.
2011- I saw the Georgia O’Keeffe painting, Red Canna and all I thought about was passion. There was a reserved sexiness about it. Nature was a great inspiration because there are so many great shapes and colors. With that painting becoming my main inspiration I looked at other beautiful and exotic flowers paired with 17th century corseting and large skirts to come up with this satin and tulle filled collection.
What are your plans for the future? Do you see stores, fashion shows, or market appointments in your future? I see all of these in my future, the very near one actually. I am a fashion show veteran, which is why I haven’t participated in a fashion show in about 4 months. I was burnt-out and needed to regroup. Currently we are developing an online boutique that will have a capsule collection on sale online early next summer. I look forward to doing traveling trunk shows because I love to be in touch one on one with the client. I will also be back on the fashion show circuit by next fall.
Where can people buy your items? Right now I do everything by special order. You can email me at ImaniLia@ImaniLia.com to place an order or inquire about anything you see.