Accented Glory's visionary had the pleasure of connecting with high end fashion designer Avnah Long, back in 2013. Our sister organization The Vine Events featured her for a "Black History In The Making" article. Our visionary and Avnah are from the same home town in North Carolina! Avnah now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she launched her crochet swimwear and clothing line brand AVNAH Collection.
Her designs have been worn by various celebrities, such as Kelly Rowland and Cynthia Bailey. She has also been a featured designer during New York Fashion Week (NYFW)! We're thankful that she granted us an interview where she shares about her experience as a natural in fashion. Check out her interview below!
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
I began my career in fashion as a crochet designer creating swimwear and clothing pieces, but I was inspired to expand my fashion line actually from my great grandmother Ida Davis that use to sew herself. I use to watch her as a child sew little thing around the house. Starting as a crochet designer was good for me, but it took a long time to make certain pieces as my visions grew. So, I started teaching myself how to sew. As I began designing pieces by using a sewing machine, it opened up a whole world for me as a designer. I was able to put pieces together faster than it would take me to crochet by hand and I was able to incorporate structure, play with fabrics and use other elements that allowed me to create a line that was diverse.
Being a featured designer during NYFW is an amazing accomplishment! What impact has it had on your career?
Being a featured designer during NYFW is always an awesome experience in itself, because the platform is so great. I was able to present my collection on a platform where many people in the audience is of some influence in the fashion industry. I meet a lot of people who connected me with textile suppliers, buyers, and gave me great feedback on the line in general. All of that is important when you're building a brand.
Share with us about your natural hair journey. What kind of experience has it been?
My natural hair journey started in 2003, when I decided to do my big chop. It was also around the same time that I opened my first salon in Atlanta. Many people don't know that I am a Master Cosmetologist and hair was my first passion. As my hair grew out some, I went through the twa (teeny weeny afro) phase until I could maintain my twist outs. Then I decided to loc my hair. I had locs for five year and I've big chopped three times since then. Now I'm just letting it grow out. I shampoo and sometimes co-wash, I use a shea butter mixture and I keep it braided up for protective styling. If I do wear it out, it's usually pulled back into a puff or I'm wearing it out in an afro.
With celebrities like Taraji P Henson embracing their natural hair, do you think it'll have an influence on the fashion world? Will we see more naturals on the runway?
I think a lot of celebrities and people in general are finally starting to embrace their hair. I am seeing more people on the runways wearing their natural hair and I actually tell many of my models not to straighten their hair for my shows. For the longest time people thought you had to have straight hair to look presentable, tamed, or well put together. Now we are loving and embracing the hair we were born with. Our hair is beautiful! There are so many textures and to have healthy hair that is thick, soft, curly, and can be styled beautifully is more important to a lot of people than being over processed with chemicals.
What's next for AVNAH Collection?
I have so many projects that I am working on including an accessories line. The accessory line includes neck pieces and I'm currently creating the beauty bangles. I'm also revamping the online store to make it easier for customers to purchase. I'm just having fun creatively right now. Whatever God puts in my spirit to create is what I'm working on. It's so much better for me right now to do it this way. I'm just in a really good spot right now with my brand and I'm excited to share the accessory line with my customers.
Avnah Long of AVNAH Collection
Cierra has been a part of Accented Glory since its launch in June 2013. Outside of being an "Accessory Diva", she's a millennial who's currently navigating adulthood. Click Not One Of Your Little Friends to check out her podcast!