Meet Asanyah Davidson, fashion entrepreneur

By Nicol Harris CNW contributor

CNW recently caught up with Asanyah Davidson a fashion designer/entrepreneur based in Miami, yet still calls Jamaica home.

CNW: Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Davidson: That’s a long one. From Clarendon, Jamaica. I took my first international flight on my own at 7, and I’ve been traveling ever since. I still call Jamaica home, and South Florida my base.  I love all things design related, not just fashion. I love to travel, good food and great conversation. I love design and the way a designer’s mind works. I spent several years in the industry in New York and after completing my graduate degree in London, I returned to the States and worked at Macy’s Florida Division as an assistant buyer. During that time, I also started teaching at Miami International University of Art & Design and Broward Community College while working on my own mini collections. I most recently took my love of teaching and knowledge of fashion to West Africa where I taught at schools in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. That year on the Continent allowed me to learn extensively about native techniques and the ever-popular Ankara fabrics. I love mentoring and sharing my passion for design with students. My areas of interest are education, global studies, design and fashion as communication. I have a M.A. Design Studies from Central Saint Martins London, England, B.S. International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries from F.I.T., I had the chance to study abroad in Polimoda, Florence, Italy. I have a A.A.S Fashion Design from F.I.T., and I attend Design and Architecture Senior High.

CNW: None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Davidson: First and foremost, my grandmother. I lost her very early in life, but she had a significant influence on me. The matriarch of our family, a talented seamstress, and a disciplined woman. In no order, my friends, who are all quite talented and exceptional in their own way and always provide support and encouraged me to challenge myself.  I have moved so many times, and as a result, I’ve collected a diverse group of Besties, and they’ve all helped me grow in one way or another. My cousins, who were like brothers and sisters growing up.  My mentors, men, and women who champion me when I’m not in the room. 

CNW: What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

Davidson: Becoming Chairperson of Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade College was a great moment but I’m most proud of the amazing faculty of the staff there, and I’m proud of what we’re building and the kind of opportunity we’re creating for our students. One of the goals this year was to get the students more involved in community events and 6 of our students created work to benefit Susan G. Komen which was really great. Not only because the gowns they made were beautiful but because it took the hard work of our faculty and staff to make it happen. I am most proud of how we work together to make our program a success.  

CNW: Tell us about the work you did in West Africa…

Davidson: Through past connections, I was able to find a college in Nigeria to teach fashion, while there I was able to travel to Morocco and South Africa between classes. I got to know the local culture in Lagos, make some amazing new friends and really enjoy the people there. It’s always interesting to compare cultures, there are more similarities than differences once you get down to it. That opportunity lead to another, and I was invited to teach in Ghana soon after. Ghana feels like an extension of Jamaica, the music, the people and the food felt so familiar, they love all things Jamaican, and I made more great friends. The students in both countries were amazing. The way they took the knowledge I shared and translated it into their own, their use of color and textiles is truly impressive, and I still order dresses from former students, in part to support them as designers and also to showcase the talent coming out of Africa. 

CNW: Must Read book?

Davidson: Wow, I can name one of the most influential in my approach to life and my understanding of people, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. 

CNW: What is one thing people may be surprised to find out about you?

Davidson: I’ve been boxing for about 8 years now. I love science and therefore Sci-fi. Vegan for 5 years in January 2019.

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