APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Rukiya McNair: Soulburbia Art Boutique consists of jewelry designs and art work.
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
McNair: I have always been attracted to the color and design of African prints and fabrics. It also connects me to my heritage when I add them to my jewelry. I started using them about a year ago.
APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
McNair: I like it, but at the same time I am torn as to how authentic fabric can be used for nothing more than fashion, when oftentimes it can be considered sacred to the people from which it originated. This is why I choose to use only fair trade fabrics, this way I know that my money is at least going directly to the people who make it.
APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
McNair: I do not think so, I feel as though with the mainstream it is simply a trend. Although I feel that this trend has opened the eyes of some, who truly love African prints and fabrics, and for those people it is not merely a trend.
APiF: What inspires u?
McNair: The world. I love to travel and discover new cultures. Every culture has a beauty that often translates into its fabrics and colors. It inspires me to be original in my designs.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet and why?
McNair: I would have to say a Dashiki print dress I bought from Doris & Doris. I absolutely love it, it is so comfortable and the colors are so vibrant. It is perfect.
APiF: How do you market your designs?
Dashiki Print Dress by Doris&DorisMcNair: I primarily market my designs through social media outlets such as facebook, twitter and tumblr. I am also in the process of visiting boutiques in the area and speaking with them about my jewelry.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
McNair: One day I will feel that I am in a position to give such advice. Right now, I’m just taking it day by day. What I can say is don’t give up. Ever.