APiF: Please introduce your business and designs.
Neith Rasuten: My name is Neith Rasuten. I have been creating unique fashion designs for over fifteen years. My love of the creative process and the art of fashion design has been a driving force in my career.
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African prints and fabrics?
Neith: My family is originally from Haiti and spent a number of years in Chad, Central Africa. My grandmother fell in love with the unique ways the women there wore their prints. There is a lot of folding and twisting to bring the beauty out in the fabric. I am proud of my heritage and rich culture, and would like to share its uniqueness with the world.
APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints / Fabric trend?
Neith: I would like to see more traditional fabric coming from Africa than the Netherlands or other nations producing our fabric. However, I am inspired by the artist and what he sees when designing the textile. This gives me cues on what I will focus on; and I try to bring that out of the fabric when making a garment or accessory.
APiF: African Prints in the fashion industry – why now?
Neith: African print has always been part of the fashion industry,but I do not think it was being promoted like it is today. There is African cloth that is just embroidered and the color is not vibrant, it’s more subtle. I have been using this kind of fabric to make dress shirts and business suits for clients, who wanted to wear their traditional garb in non-traditional styles.
APiF: What inspires u?
Neith: I am inspired by cultures from around the world: Traditional garb given a modern edge then recreated in textiles you might not normally see them created in; architectural design shapes and colors in nature; reviewing what has been done before and making it modern or giving it a twist. It really never gets old for me.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Neith: I have so many pieces that I absolutely love! If I had to pick one piece it would be my tunic dresses with an obi belt and hand bag to complete the look.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Neith: Network! You will not survive if you do not speak to people and share what you are doing and who you are. People want to find connection with you and what you are doing. Fortunately, for new designers there is a wealth of internet platforms from which to reach people and find customers. So, you will need to not only be creative, but be able to explain your process as well.