We had the good fortune of connecting with Ciara-Chyanne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ciara-Chyanne, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
When trying to determine if you should keep going or give up, I always think about a baby when it begins to learn how to walk. Babies will fall several times before it masters having balance and reaching their final destination without hitting the floor over and over again. My point is, you’ll never be successful at something unless you try until you make it. The only way you won’t make it is if you give up. I look at failure as an asset. When you fail, you learn what not to do the next time or you learn how to improve what you are already doing. In this case, I couldn’t give up on my dream of being a fashion designer even if I wanted to. There is no plan B for me. I feel I was called to the fashion industry for a specific purpose and I am now walking in the very thing I once prayed for.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a self taught Ready-To-Wear fashion designer from Watts (born and raised in Los Angeles). I took my very first fashion design course in high school at the age of 15 designing dresses and later became fascinated with styling then falling back in love with design. I did not take the traditional route like most designers receiving a degree in fashion design. I created my own curriculum and took extended courses from Woodbury University, OTIS College of Art and Design and FIDM. I moved to Alabama and attended business school at the illustrious HBC Tuskegee University receiving my Bachelor of Science in Sales & Marketing. I started my first business when I was 18 tie dyeing and embellishing denim and selling handmade jewelry out my dorm room. I later started an online boutique while learning the ins and outs of running an e-commerce store. Shortly after graduating from college I began working as a freelance product stylist for Hautelook, Nordstrom Rack, and then Amazon. I worked several jobs in the fashion Industry from showroom rep, to a visual merchandiser, to a sales associate, to a buyer. It wasn’t until one season while working at Amazon I realized styling no longer fulfilled me and it was my dream to start designing so I began to take it serious. I started designing my first collection and caught a flight to the garment district in NYC to meet some pattern makers. A year later after trying out for the Project Runway casting I realized that I may have jumped into the industry a little too soon with no real design experience. I decided to start applying for corporate design jobs which was a challenge because they all wanted to know if I had a design degree. After fasting and praying, 6 months later I was hired at one of the United States top apparel manufacturing companies as a design assistant. Shortly after, I was promoted to sample room coordinator and later promoted to a Junior Associate Designer. Designing for another brand really helped me put a lot into perspective while learning how to produce garments internationally. I discovered my passion for colors and texture which is apart of my brand identity now. I have a very versatile aesthetic but I love designing for those who want to wear pieces that have all eyes on them when they walk into a room without them looking like they are trying too hard. All pieces from my brand @CiaraChyanne_ are ethically designed and produced in Los Angeles. In 2019 I started my podcast “Fashioned In Faith” (streaming on ApplePodcast, Spotify, Podbean) sharing my journey and personal experiences on building my career as a designer and growing my faith. I remember when there were times I felt I had no mentor to help guide me or a friend by my side through the seasons of growth and personal development, so I became that for others. @FashionedInFaith isn’t just a podcast but an expanded platform offering services such as pattern and sample resource list and webinar courses to educate others on the process from designing to developing to producing. After being laid off from my 9-5 corporate design job this Spring due to COVID-19 and this pandemic we are currently in, I decided to put all of my time and energy into finishing my newest collection. In December of 2019 I took a missions trip to Ethiopia and partnered with 2 non profit organizations Operation Life Center Ministries and Noahs Ark working with women who are HIV Positive and have been forced into prostitution. I decided to name this collection after the city I visited for 2 weeks in Ethiopia named Addis Ababa which is “New Flower” I felt this name was appropriate because I am now in a season where some doors are closing and new ones are being opened which is a direct representation of a flower dyeing and new flowers being birthed. The first release of the “New Flower” collection inspired by the colors, art, love, and culture of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will be live September 15th, 2020 on www.CiaraChyanne.com I will also be selling the “100% cotton Addis Affirmation Unisex t-shirt” giving a portion of the profits to the non-profits project helping the women and their families. This project is very dear to me because I made a promise to myself after leaving Ethiopia, that I would not just continue to design clothes but put a purpose behind it and do something meaningful to impact other peoples lives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m kinda a square. The things I use to find fun no longer interest me. As I approach 27 years old I would find things like wine tasting fun. I am semi adventurous so finding a deal on groupon to go horse back riding is ideal for me. I’m a foodie so I like to hit all the cool and modernly decorated restaurants in LA especially a rooftop with a view. I’m a sucker for a nice view. Watching the sun set is actually one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy going to art galleries and exhibits to find inspiration. Renting a boat at the beach and going for a cruise is something I also love to do. But to be completely honest when people come to town I always promise them I’ll show them a good time but I always end up working because I’m naturally a workaholic. 9/10 I’m sourcing fabrics and materials and having meetings with my manufacturer and intern.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My foundation and my rock, God deserves all the glory for my successes in life. I’ve learned to walk by faith and not by sight. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I began to trust God completely and allow him to lead me in my career and he has showed me numerous visions of what my future holds. Ultimately he is the one who created me and I had to realize he has the blueprint I should be following. This is why I seek him for direction in my career. After a missions trip to Ethiopia December of 2019 God revealed to me that I was placed here on Earth to do more than design clothes and every day is a journey while living out my purpose. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their continuous support throughout the years. If it wasn’t for them confirming my gifts and talents I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Mental, spiritual, and financial support from loved ones have kept me afloat and I am very appreciative.
Other: Instagram @CiaraChyanne_ @FashionedInFaith @_Ara_Anne (personal page)