Atlanta’s own AVNAH designs are elegant, classy, and have reached celebrity status. This Friday her GRACE line will be featured in this season’s Rise NYFW showcase.
Avnah Long has worked as a a seamstress and costume designer within the film and TV industries. She has reached back to her community speaking at her high school and providing fashion shows to help with scholarship funding. She volunteers at the boys and girls club and helps at risk youth and has also participated in fashion shows to stop sex trafficking.
I chatted with the designer about her designs–from sketches to production, her inspirations, and bringing her line to the runway of this February’s NYFW.
You started out crocheting at a young age. When did you realize that you wanted to become a designer?
I realized that I wanted to become a fashion designer in my teens and I would sketch a lot of flats. However in my 20’s when I noticed there wasn’t much of a creative approach to designs in store or off the rack and I decided that I wanted to change that. I didn’t know at the time how much of an impact becoming a fashion designer would make or how God was going to align me with so many people that supported my aesthetics of design.
Your designs have been worn by Kelly Rowland, India Arie, and Elle Varner. How did that feel?
It feels incredible! To have anyone wear my collection makes me feel amazing because they are wearing a design that took time, long nights, and skill to create. They are supporting the brand and myself as a designer, which I greatly appreciate. Having celebrities wear the collection gives that extra motivation to keep being consistent along the journey as they can wear any designer but they have chose the collection or their stylist have chosen the collection and that means the world.
Where did you get the inspiration from with the upcoming release of your line GRACE?
The new collection GRACE was inspired by many elements. Grace is something our Heavenly Father gives us daily that we often take for granted or may not even feel deserving of. Grace is inspired by the first black woman that caught my eye as a teenager with her daring sense of style and aesthetic of dress which is thee Grace Jones. I find myself pushing the limits sometimes as a designer and I feel Grace Jones has paved the way with her bold aesthetics. Also Grace is what we should give ourselves as we are often hard on ourselves. We need to give ourselves grace and be gentle with ourselves. GRACE in ‘24 will be a collection of many elements and dimensions.
What is your most popular outfit that you sell online?
The most popular outfit that I sell online would be the swimwear and more structured pieces. I believe everyone wants and should have a statement piece in their closet and those pieces sell very fast online.
What is your favorite outfit that you produced and why?
My favorite outfit would be the Sheard faux leather designs. They are the designs that were highly sought after early on in my career and they are still requested to this day. They are timeless and I love designing them.
Take me through a day in the life of production from drawing board to final output.
A day in the life of production for me usually begins with a sketch of my designs or visions. Then I start drafting my patterns and grading them for sizing. Most of the time I will do a mock from muslin first to make sure the pattern pieces function properly. Then I begin sewing and production of the garments.
What does it mean to be a part of the RISE showcase and NYFW?
To be a part of the RISE NYFW means a lot as I have worked so hard in this new collection. I feel it’s the perfect platform to show my collection at this time and it’s also a bonus that they are on the CFDA Calendar. I’m excited to be bring AVNAH to New York Fashion Week and feature GRACE on the runway.