Ray Darten x The Local Artistry
Happy New Year, Locals! It's 2017, and The Local Artistry is excited to bring you another blog post! As you may know, we're always looking for new faces to cover and by chance we spotted up-and-coming fashion line, Ray Darten!
Ray Darten is a clothing line from Bakersfield, California that embodies what it is to be classy and afrocentric! Checking out their Instagram wasn't enough, so we got to ask the fashion designer, Yetunde Olukoya, some questions about the struggles of running a brand, Ray Darten's plus-size line, and her reasoning for starting a fun yet challenging career.
Q: What was the inspiration for Ray Darten?
A: "The name Ray Darten is a combination of the names of my 3 kids (my son and twin daughters). I would trace my inspiration and interest in styling all the way back to when I was a kid; I was always putting together paper and tape outfits on my dolls. I carried this passion into motherhood where I continued to use African print known as 'Ankara' to make anything that would come to mind. I remember distinctively when one of my little girls said, 'I wan my buutifu dress too'[!] This [then] led me to start making matching outfits for my girls and I; [it was] something I saw as more than being a hobby. I took the bold step of sharing this passion with the world after my husband pushed me to transition from hobby to career. A leap I finally took last year and, I must say, I love every minute of it."
Q: How do you begin to draft your ideas for your pieces?
A: "I am inspired by my rich Nigerian heritage where our fabrics are primarily sourced, we love the bold bright artistic prints. I also learned to always go around with my drawing pad as the best designs I have come up with come at the most unexpected times."
Q: What has been your highlight since the start of your line?
A: "[It] was having a customer’s daughter try on an outfit and insisting she was not going to take it off. That melted my heart and continues to fuel my drive."
Q: You have a wide range of pieces in your line; what is your favorite piece?
A: "I would say my favorite collection is my Mommy and Me line. The excitement expressed when kids match outfits with their moms is second to none!"
Q: There is quite a limit when it comes to Plus-Size wear. How has Ray Darten made their clothing accessible to Plus-Size Women?
A: "This is a gap we are aware of in the industry and one we strive to close by ensuring most of our outfits have plus sizes. We have sizes ranging from XS to 4X. We continue to be relentless in our pursuit of creating beautiful handcrafted pieces, made of bold Ankara prints, with styles geared towards complimenting each individual's unique beauty."
Q: What's one struggle of owning a fashion line?
A: "The key challenge is finding the right balance between putting a lot of hours to chase my dreams and the full time job of being a mom. The other challenge is fabric sourcing and keeping up with demand."
Q: Ray Darten seems to be pretty successful; what's the next move?
A: "Our next goals include getting on the runway and being a part of an international event."
Q: How can we find you on social media?
A: Website: www.raydarten.com
Facebook: Ray Darten
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