Mon | Jun 1, 2020

Aya Wear for Afrocentric fashion options

Published:Thursday | January 10, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Ineedjah goes patriotic in this semi-formal number.
It is off the shoulders for the flirty, girly look.
Christina Hall goes down to earth in this versatile number.
African princesses playing coy.
Afro accessories to complement the Afro look.
Arlene Passley (centre) is the head, neck and shoulders of Aya Wear, located in Boston, Portland. Behind her are Christina Hall (left) and Ineedjah Williams.

Long before the current popularity of all things African, Aya Wear, a fashion line now located in Boston, Portland, has been marketing Afro-centric clothes under the tag line, 'Modern fashions with an African resurgence'.

"I would like people to know that Aya Wear is about empowering young girls and women through African fashion. I'm a fashion designer and stylist, but also a social activist. My mission for the past 10 years has been to create a space where young girls might be able to see themselves in a positive light," Arlene Passley, fashion designer and owner of Aya Wear, told Flair.

A part of the positivity about which Passley spoke is for young people to feel confident about, and to embrace, their African heritage. One way of doing so is to wear African-inspired outfits, such as the ones worn by Ineedjah Williams and Christina Hall on these pages.

"Aya Wear is transformational from the inside out. Our business is about promoting direct trade with the African continent because we are inspired and empowered by our African heritage," Passley also said.

But it is not only about self-confidence and embracing their heritage. The line aims to give young people fashion options, clothes and accessories away from the norm, clothes that make them stand out in a crowd, something with a loud wow factor.

And with the current resurgence of African fashion the world over, due partially to the Black Panther movie and the Black Lives Matter movement, Aya Wear is encouraged and has a range of clothes for any occasion, from the casual to the formal.

"We create beautiful pieces from authentic African fabrics, sourced in the motherland. We are based in Portland, but we enjoy the appreciation of people from all over the world," Passley said.