The name of her brand (UFascinateMe) is hard to forget too. The second time I saw one of Dawn’s designs, I recognized it as hers immediately, because they are just so unique.
Think of a traditional European “fascinator”, the kind worn to royal weddings and other auspicious events, but with an Afrofuturist slant.
I met Dawn at “Before The Ball”, a pre event leading up to The Black Diamond Ball, and I just had to know more about the woman behind these walking art pieces.
How did you get started in fashion design, what was your first creation?
My interest in fashion design was a natural growth in my career. I began my venture in the arts as a visual artist. The need to be a “paid” artist pushed me towards makeup artistry. Because my passion had become my work in a sense, I wanted to separate the art from hustle! So, I started designing jewelry on the side and made a promise to myself to only focus on the art of it. It naturally grew into the need to create different “things” people could wear. I discovered fascinators by chance one day while working a shoot and became intrigued. My first fascinator was a peacock feather fascinator. It was actually the first one that I sold on my etsy store, so I took it as a hint from the universe to continue. From there it has naturally progressed into Wearable Art as I began to blend the skills I had acquired over the years working in different mediums.
Who are you designing for? What kind of person wears UFascinateMe?
I don’t design for anyone in particular. I make my pieces like how I paint, through feelings and what mood I am in. I often play the same genre of music until I am done. I just focus on what I want to express. I never really know exactly how any piece will turn out. I think anyone who wants to “spice up” an occasion, will want to wear a piece from UFascinateMe. They are definitely not wall blending accessories.
What cultural reference points do you use in the creation of the masks, that seem to have become your signature pieces?
The collection this year was based on afrofuturism and the need to create androgynous accessories that males could wear. It began, funny enough, over a Facebook discussion on the direction of male clothing. My point in this discussion was that in North America, there are strong gender lines on what is acceptable clothing for men and women, yet across the world men have been in varying forms of dresses and accessories for generations. So I naturally felt inclined to walk my talk and began exploring tribal jewelry of African descent. I designed a collection that I felt was modern and contemporary. I was very inspired particularly by the Samburu and Masai Tribes.
Can you talk a bit about what goes into making one of your designs?
It really depends on what I am making. I am a sculptural artist and I like to build on top of things to create a full image. I have learned the importance of a patient hand over the years. It can range between days to weeks depending on the project. The uniqueness of the UFascinateMe brand isn't only in the design but the materials. I often begin a project sourcing materials that inspire me and this really is what takes up the largest chunk of time. Once I have all materials in hand, the build goes quite fast. This latest collection was very much inspired by ribbons and different forms of trim. I wanted to emulate the details and materials of traditional tribal accessories but in a more contemporary sense. Something easily worn. So I began looking into different types of ribbon and cords. So much of my design time is in the materials used. It is kind of where I can control the uniqueness of my brand.
Do you think wearable art is a trend we’ll be seeing more of, and why?
100%. Art is a means of expression and Wearable Art has always been around. Social media has created a greater platform for it to be seen and it has also created the evergoing need to create more and more eye catching images. Lady Gaga is a prime example of how Wearable Art can capture an audience by first glance. I believe that this is a trend that will continue to grow as fashion evolves as well!
Find out more at: www.UFascinateMe.com