Interview with Jamaican Fashion designer Asanyah A. Davidson

This week we  have a conversation with  Jamaican Fashion designer Asanyah A. Davidson. Born in Clarendon, Jamaica Asanyah is ready to make her mark on the fashion world with recent release of  her own label Circa24. Asanyah spent several years in the fashion industry and completed her MA in Design Studies at Central St Martins in London England.

Tell us the meaning of your first name?
According to my mother its bad luck to tell anyone the meaning of my name (wives tales) but I will tell you it can mean anything from “The one” to “God is listening” depending on what part of Africa you are from;-)

What inspired you to create Circa24 and where does the name come from?
I’ve been in the fashion industry for years and always wanted to do my own line but the timing never seemed right and I didn’t think I was ready till now.  The name is part my philosophy and part homage to my grandmother. “Circa” refers to the seeds that are planted and come to fruition later, good and bad.  My grandmother was born 1924 and its because of her that I have an appreciation for the art of sewing.

How many lines of clothing do you currently have under the label?
CIRCA24 EVO is the first but I also had a bag line I collaborated with a fellow Jamaican on called ROCUS

You recently launched a swimsuit line. What was the inspiration behind the line?
Well the entire collection both swim and apparel was inspired by Pam Grier of the Blaxploitation movies of the 70’s. Her characters were always strong, no nonsense and bad ass! What better inspiration for my line?

When did you first fall in love with fashion?
When I made my first garment in high school. I wasn’t sure till them if fashion was for me but the look of joy on my classmates face when she tried it on and baught it from me… “my heart skipped a beat and I was smitten for real” Fashion has the power to make people see themselves differently..I saw that then.

In your bio information you mention” Jamaica” fashion. What is ““Jamaican” fashion and how is it different from others?
Jamaican fashion is vibrant but more importantly Jamaican men and women are vibrant and classy. I love to see the ladies get ready for church or a simple gathering. They take time with their appearance in an age of jeans and a t-shirt.

How would you describe your own personal style?
Simple, classic, vibrant and comfortable. I find that it always shows when women are uncomfortable in their clothes. I’m a bit fanatical about not spending money on things aren’t comfortable..though all should have and expiration hour on them.

Describe your fashion mission?
To make being chic a trend.  I want women to feel comfortable and sexy in well fitting clothes..not overtly tight or loose clothing that broadcast the wrong message about their level of class of style. And to become fashion name that brings honor to Jamaica.

Which designers do you love right now?
Wow, that’s hard for me, I just finishing watching shows and I have to say I love L.A.M.B. and Diane Von Furstenburg for women and Oswald Botenage for men (he is amazing!!!!)

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more of us wore?
Well fitting pants. Go find a tailor get a couple pairs made if you can’t find a brand that works for you. It makes a huge difference.

Any plans to start a male line?
YES!! As soon as I get the women’s line running smoothly I want to do a men’s line that include sport coats and well tailored pants for men that have more than the average white male…lol  I style men and one of the hardest areas to find good fit are in pants.

Anything we should look out for from you in the coming weeks/months/year?
Working a Fall collection but I’m already excited about Spring 2012! Circa24 Swimwear is going to be HOT next season too.

A phrase you use far too often?
“There are no problems, just solutions.”

What food brings your comfort when you are disappointed?
lol…that list is long but a staple is a cup of tea, Excelsior Crackers and Guava jam.  It use to be Jamaican Chicken Soup (reminded me of my grandmother) but I gave up chicken earlier this year.

Fashion tip for the season?
Lace!! it’s all about lace, cutout lace to be precise which we see a lot of in the islands, think of those linen table clothes with the cut out embroidery, get one or two classic pieces for your wardrobe.

In a nutshell, your philosophy is?
My friend Cai shared this with me once and it stuck. “Always dress like you have somewhere better to be.” 

Thanks for the interview. Any closing thoughts?
In this day and age of budgeting. Spend your money on quality pieces. Spend money on a tailor to have old pieces adjusted. And if you don’t LOVE IT, leave it in the store.



About the author

Denise Lee