Former dancer Karolyne Ashley has transitioned over to fashion design. A native of Nashville, Tenn., she got her inspiration there, where there was plenty of stage production and dance. Now, she will be showing at Fashion Week with a new collection called “Muted Oasis.” She sits down with ro and draws out tips for inspiring designers, what sparked her interest in fashion and for whom she would love to design. –tammie reed
Karolyne, tell us what sparked your interest in fashion design?
My love of fashion came through my involvement with dance and the performing arts. I grew up performing on stage and rubbing shoulders with great people, great music and amazing performers. My love for performing arts had a substantial influence on my personality and creative expression. While touring as a background dancer for international music artists at the age of 12, I began to take note of my style and unique eye for fashion.
What five tips can you give aspiring designers trying to make a name for themselves?
Study your craft, be a student of your work and the industry. Talent only takes you so far in this industry. You must know your stuff! Your execution should back up your creativity 100 percent.
Know yourself, find out what makes you tick, what you like, what makes you excited and begin to create upon those things that drive you.
Do an internship with a designer or in a fashion house. Getting first-hand, industry knowledge is quintessential.
Travel outside of your world. Study abroad or seek opportunities that will take you out of your natural habitat. This expands you as a person and opens your eyes to creativity that would be otherwise untapped. We live in a global society. It is beautiful, and there is so much that we can learn and see outside of the U.S.
Lastly, just do it!! Fashion is no job for the weak at heart. You must think early on that “you being you is the best thing that could ever happen to fashion!” There are people waiting for clothes specifically like the ones in your sketchbook. You must share your talent with the world. This confidence and understanding of why you create is a necessity to carry you through the heartaches of breaking into the industry.
What would you consider your signature style?
I am known most for the use of bright, bold colors and whimsical garment constructions. I love experimenting with proportion and creating new shapes that transform into beautiful evening looks.
Who would you love to design for?
I would love to be the designer for the next royal wedding, and I would love to dress Beyonce! She is amazing and does great work. She is a true chameleon when it comes to fashion. When she wears it, the world sees it, and she flaunts it. I love her energy and the passion that she has for her craft.
Internationally driven by my world explorations and vivid scenes of tropical waters and safari landscapes inspire the Muted Oasis collection. I also gained inspiration from watercolor paintings. The name Muted Oasis stemmed from the myriad of colors that make up ocean waters. The color pattern of the line ranges from the pastels to illuminating bright colors and gold metallic accents.
For more information, visit www.KarolyneAshley.com.