Unapologetic fashion designer Vara Ayanna talks how being raised in Phoenix helped her change the narrative of being a super-lit fashion designer.
Where are you based? I’m based in Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ (Born and raised Phxgirl 4 life.)
Tell us about your upbringing and how it influenced your style? My upbringing was very Afro-centric, art-based and Church-based. My Mother is an artist and my Father is a Laser Engineer – both of my parents were heavily involved in church when I was younger. I grew up very encouraged to express myself and have my own views, despite being so engrossed in the Black church culture because my mother is an artist. Also, my grandmother is a seamstress so I’ve been sewing, designing and making art since the age of about 4. My whole family is artistic.
I even have a little flower pot I handpainted when I was 5. It has ‘Four things you want to be when you grow up’. I put fashion designer on it (HAHA). As far as this influencing my style – I think it made me rebel a lot of my life. I naturally have a rebellious nature so I really want to give that, “I don’t give a f*** (for mom LOL) what you think about me” attitude about my clothing in my own way.
Growing up Black in Arizona definitely influenced my style. I think it really made me see the world in a different way. Being the only Black kid in your class until like 6th grade is super trippy. I lived on the same street all of my baby years so my siblings and I ( I’m the second oldest of 4 Kids. ) got a different view of the world I believe. My parents and grandparents are all from the east coast so that has added to the influence of being
Black, a woman from Arizona and have a whole family of artist all from New York and North Carolina.
One of my biggest influences is music. Music to me changes the world and how we see it. Music influences my clothing more than anything. I love every type of music even country (SOME LOL). My favorite band is My Chemical Romance. I can def sing any part of most any album (haha). I’m influenced by Hip-hop culture & Black culture, as far as favorite Hip-hop artist. I feel like I cannot comment on all of them but I definitely have a lot of artists that I respect, rep and love their music in the Industry. Hip-hop controls the world and everything is influenced by it. That should tell you how much I love anything trap, anything Hip-hop. I’m also influenced by food, traveling, cultures, art, and many other things. I love fashion. I love style and designing.
You’re a pretty dope Fashion Stylist. Why did you feel the need to start a fashion line?Starting my brand was something I’ve always wanted to do. Yes, I am a stylist but I loved designing and always have. I love designing masculine cut clothing and styling as well. I think me becoming a stylist came naturally after I began designing heavily at the age of 15. I remember just loving everything about fashion, playing with scenarios and looks. Organizing my shoots and shows myself helped me become a stylist as well.
Describe your brand in 3 words. Marauders in three words – Super-Lit, Flossy-4-life, Too-Dope LOL!
Who is your customer? My customer is definitely creative. I feel like creatives, artists, music heads; the people who are into how they look and don’t care about pushing the envelope on what they wear. My customer has always been the individuals and elite creative types.
Dream celebrity you would love to see rocking MARAUDER$ World Wide? My dream Celebs to rock Marauders – Obama and Michelle; Bey & Jay, Kanye & Kim, Anna Wintour, Cardi B., Iris Apfel, Kendrick Lamar, Migos, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder and more.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started your collection? I wish I knew how much money, time, and effort I would have had to put into my brands to get them exactly the way I wanted. Fashion is hard. Designing is hard. Being young and chasing your dreams while not knowing what’s going to happen next is hard. I know that it’s all worth it when you get to focus on your art and thrive in the fashion world. I’m very appreciative of the opportunities I have had the pleasure of having so far.
Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie? PUMPKIN!
Vodka or Hennessy? Henny
Any shoutouts? Glory to God, honor to my family, my parents, grandparents and my sibs, Shout out to all friends and to everyone who has supported my efforts thus far.
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