Words by Tami Tsansai
Photos by Martei Korley
Black Star, Blue Moon is an interesting name for a clothing collection that immediately recalls visions of Afrocentrism, Astrology and a hint of romanticism. When you find out who is behind the collection, the whole picture comes in view.
Fashion designer Mamayashi, a Jamaican-born, New York habitué Rasta, is the daughter of a tailor. Her father’s skill with a needle and thread ignited a love within her for the craft. Like many before her, she started off making doll’s clothing and the passion grew and matured with her over the years. Now 10 years later, she has carved out a niche for herself bringing regal, Rasta-conscious designs to men and women– and a few well known Reggae artists– in Kingston, NYC and across the globe.
We recently had a chat with the designer post-collection launch at Nanook to learn more about the latest of her creative fruits. Pree the images, soak in the vibe and head over to her website (they ship worldwide) to place an order for yourself or that special someone, zeen?
BlackStar BlueMoon, as the name suggests, reflects duality and draws from two very different influences but complement equally dissimilar moods. She explains: “The ‘BlackStar’ segment is inspired by Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line and also refers to Ghana, as such the colors are deep, bold, strong black, green and red as a tribute to Garveyism. While the ‘BlueMoon’ collection has a lighter vibration in terms of the feel and colors used. Whites and off-whites, prints and, of course, blues. It really refers to the feminine, spiritual side of a woman. I wanted to show that as women we can be revolutionary and still quite ethereal.”
Her ideal customer:
There is no real target consumer, it really appeals to anybody who has the confidence and creativity that makes them wanna stand out when they step out.
Her fabrics and accents:
“African prints… and everything is cotton/lycra. I also used zippers, shoelaces and screen prints as embellishments on the clothing.”
Mamayashi’s design process is an interesting technique of instinctive layering, where she begins with an invocation of guidance from the universe and her ancestors before she touches the fabric. The look then meanders into a finished product, evolving with each stitch and addition of fabric or ornament until her intuition lets her know when the piece is done. Every design is a manifestation of gratitude, growth, creativity, love and a declaration of freedom.
She creates clothing because she believes that we all contribute different energies to the society and the universe through the way that we dress. There is always an element of pride and sovereignty in her work. Mamayashi’s designs celebrate the body and its inherent divinity, while paying homage to the leaders who have inspired her on her journey.