SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A 20-year-old Savannah College of Arts and Design fashion student says recent life experiences helped inspire her second fashion collection, which she calls “Reclaimed.”
Amari Moneé Washington released her latest designs on Dec. 12.
“I’ve been through heartbreak, familial things and just trying to find my place in the world and establish myself as a young woman,” Washington told WSAV NOW.
“Through the process of healing, dealing with all of those things and then recognizing how much life can change in a year, this past year has been a huge blessing,” she shared. “It’s kind of opened my eyes in a lot of ways to be able to work through those things.”
The eight bold pieces featured in Washington’s “Reclaimed” collection, she says, tell a story of the restorative process she underwent following a difficult couple of years.
“During that time, I definitely wanted to work through it and put it to use with my designs and really let people see that side of me,” she said.
The skilled designer says the goal with her colorful, voluminous designs is to embody luxury and high fashion.
“In today’s world, everything’s just so used to being fast, fast, fast, and kind of…buy something, you get it instantly, and I think that’s taken the art away from fashion,” said Washington, who first began sewing her own clothing at 8 years old.
“My whole brand is centered around custom pieces or pieces you can’t just buy off the rack, so I want [people] to feel the time that went into it, the love that went into it, the passion that’s behind it,” she said.
Washington collaborated with a friend on creating a fashion film to showcase the unique pieces, using Savannah’s First African Baptist Church, where her father serves as a minister, as a backdrop.
“My whole life I’ve grown up in the church, and my faith is definitely the most important thing to me, so staying connected to God and keeping my faith strong is what keeps me grounded always,” Washington said, adding that her beliefs influenced the title of her latest designs.
“That’s something that God and I discussed, and [“Reclaimed”] is the name he gave me for the collection,” she said.
The fashion designer, whose work has been previously featured in Savannah Arts Academy’s Junk 2 Funk fashion show, says she enjoys experimenting with different movements, textures and colors in her creations.
“Playing on the woman’s silhouette, embracing her body and her curves and kind of showing off but not too much — that’s kind of the dynamics I like to play off of,” Washington said.
The SCAD sophomore says her dream is to see her designs take center stage at Paris Fashion Week and featured at the Met Gala. Until then, she follows the advice she shares with other young entrepreneurs: trust the process.
“People are so used to things moving fast and instantly, especially with the younger generation, and that’s even something I’ve had to work on is having patience,” Washington said.
“Not everything is instantaneous; what you want, you’re going to get in the season that you need it and not always when you want it, so trust the process,” she said.
You can view Washington’s latest collection, “Reclaimed,” by visiting her website at this link.