It’s been a known fact for years that fashion is art. To know art is to know fashion. To create is to feel. This is especially true for Emani Childs, a creative director out of the beautiful Harlem, NYC. “Sometimes it’s not me designing a piece. I’ll more so try to make art and make it into clothing“. You’ll often find Childs in her office putting together what is wearable art. When you view clothing as art, your view on fashion shifts from being something trendy to something that is personal to the creator’s heart that you now get to wear.
I’ll have to say, after taking a break from interviewing and focusing solely on my writing pieces, it was great to sit and chat with a fellow female creative. “I try to keep it as original as possible and I feel like designing is such a small word. It’s more than that. That’s what keeps me going. I like to make art pieces and it just so happens that I can fuck with it and make it clothing“. She’s right. We tend to put a box on things once we put a single title to it and after that, it HAS to fall under those guidelines. We’ve seen this recent change of wording in the music industry when rappers stopped calling themselves rappers and began going by artists. Photographers are now creative directors. Just like our art, we don’t want to be limited to one specific definition.
At a young age, Emani saw so much versatility from her mother who was a model. “I stepped into everything. I would make pillows when I was younger. Style my mom before she would go out. It started there, it really started with my mom. Now looking back, it really took off in middle school“. Growing up in NYC is a luxury for fashion kids. Seeing the different cultures and styles, being around the self expression and openness, and just being able to see the creative outlets at such a young age can have a positive impact on young creatives. “I had a lot of hands on work. We had sewing machines, a basement full of fabrics. We were located in Chelsea and you’re a few blocks away from thousands of fabric stores. You walk outside and see so many outfits. You see 13 different cultures and 13 different stores that represent a different place in the world. I get amused by it“.
Now one thing we did have in common was being excited to pick out our outfits for the next day. “That’s what makes me happy. Getting dressed in the morning“. Were you also one of those kids that was always doing something different with their look? “Oh my goodness! I would go from bangs with blonde streaks to putting pink in my hair when I go tired of that. When I came back from China, I cut all my hair off. Full pixie mode. I’ve gone through every hairstyle you can think of. I went through goth, girly girl, bohemian. I tested all the waters“. Working in fashion is truly an art. You’re constantly evolving, constantly finding what you like, expressing yourself in different styles. It’s an art.
We started to chat about current fashion houses, designers, etc. We both came to the conclusion that Alexander Wang has been showing out with their designs since 2017. “If I could work with people back then, I’d work with John Galliano and Alexander Wang“. Seeing A.Wang transition into this all black clothes phase has been eye catching which we agreed on. “When you’re young, we’re not looking at all black clothes like ‘oh that’s it!’. We want everything that colorful and flashy. We want that brand name displayed right in the chest. When you grow up, less is more“.
“I want people to step out for their comfort zone. When I make pieces, sometimes I look back at them like ‘woah, I would never wear this’. I frame it. I make some pieces that I wouldn’t personally wear just because it’s not for me. I want people to look at my clothes like ‘I wouldn’t have done that but I can do it or I can wear it. A lot of people make the same stuff over and over again. I want people to step out their comfort zone“, Childs said when asked about what she wants her presence in the industry to shift. I couldn’t agree more. We see a lot of repetition and it’s time we shift from that and go back to when designers were doing outside of the box pieces.
With her line quickly preparing to release, Emani is all set in the designing department for EMAHN. “We’re just going step by step creating samples for everything. Everyone wants the barbed wire bathing suits. I want to do a little show in September. You guys will see the samples that’s ready to be put out”. After we closed out the interview, we sat and chatted about women in fashion and even set some plans to visit one another. I know, the Pisces in me jumped out but the connection was definitely a lasting one which isn’t rare when I do my interviews.
We’re in full support of Emani and her upcoming line EMAHN. If you’d like to keep up with Emani and all she’s doing, follow her via Instagram at @ayisha.mia.