I love when creative people do what they love to do. Today I have a little special interview with Angela McKenzie-Smith, an entrepreneur from Arkansas whose mission is “to Empower & Uplift Women around the World through Statement Clothing & Accessories custom made and tailored to their body types.” https://squareup.com/store/anjanell
I think the healthy future for our clothing habits should look exactly like this. Have your own special piece of clothing made with love especially for you and wear it for at least ten years. Rather than having something that every second person has and wear it for a year maximum and then throw it away.
We have our solutions right next to us, we just need to learn to look for them and find them.
However, you can as well practice making your own clothes and Angela has a Youtube channel with some extra tips. I would love to make my own clothes, but I am still afraid of a sewing machine, I am not kidding. And that’s why I asked Angela a few questions on how to get started:
A quick introduction to your sewing background, for how long have you been sewing? How did you learn it?
-I have always had a passion for fashion since I was a little girl. My mom taught me basic hand sewing but I always found myself adding additional “edge” to my garments whether it was taking out hems, adding paint or patches to my pants or even cutting things up; I always wanted to be different and felt that my attire was the best way to switch it up. When college didn’t work out, My Husband (boyfriend at the time) found me a Fashion Design School here in Arkansas. I began Jamileh School of Fashion Design in September 2010 and graduated in October 2011. This school taught me pattern-making, how to use a machine and so much more. It was the best decision I could’ve made and I am so grateful.
I love the idea of sewing and I’ve been taught in school how to use a sewing machine, but I’m still super afraid of doing it. I guess it might be a fear of screwing things up and ruining the fabric. Is it familiar to you? How to overcome this fear? Any other tips for the beginners?
-Oh, yea! I’ve definitely had this fear but that’s the best way to learn…just do it! I suggest getting more fabric than what’s needed just in case you mess up but to also be super observant and careful. Double and triple check your patterns. Put them up against your body and make sure things are right before getting on the machine. Keep in mind it’s also a mindset. As a creative, if you mess up, see if you can make something different with it! It’s never a total loss.
Do you sew your own clothes?
-Yes. Although my clientele is fastly growing, my goal is to wear garments that I design every single day. No one will promote my brand as I will. I am the walking billboard. For formal events that I attend, I will ONLY wear AnJaNell.
What is your favorite piece you made for yourself?
– My favorite piece that I designed for myself is a kente cloth African Print Gown with hand-sewn, draped, gold chains in front revealing a tad bit of cleavage. It’s super flown, has pockets and a split in front. It’s the ultimate statement piece.
What/who is your sewing inspiration? Where do you get your ideas?
-I’m a creative. I don’t draw my Inspiration from one person or even one thing. I see Beauty, Art and Fashion in literally EVERYTHING!
Recommendations on where to look for sewing patterns?
-I don’t purchase a lot of sewing patterns, I either make my own, freestyle or drape. When I do I get them from my local fabric and crafts store.
If I am a complete beginner with what kind of piece of clothes should I start?
-I recommend starting simple with as fewer seams as possible then work your way up. Start with A-line or Circle skirts then maybe a simple top, shorts, pants then bigger things like blazers.
Anything else you would like to add?
-I’m all about a person being themselves. BE YOU! It never goes out of style. Bring your Visions to Life. Trust your intuition and never try to be like or compare yourself to anyone else. We were all born with unique talents and gifts, it’s our job to nurture them.
That was so inspiring that I don’t even have anything to add to that. Just check out Angela’s Youtube channel and let me know what piece of clothes you will sew next. Maybe even share with us a picture or two. Let’s inspire each other 🙂
Cover photo Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash
*This is not sponsored content*