CREATIVE SPACE #2 of 2021 (uploaded January 20th 2021)
CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Antiguanice.com. Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It continues to expand across other media platforms (which can be viewed on AntiguanWriter on YouTube). CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean author, journalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer.
Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on January 20th 2021 in the Daily Observer: DO CREATIVE SPACE Miranda Askie Designs
Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.
If you would like to be featured or to sponsor (i.e. advertise with) a future installment of the jhohadli.wordpress.com online edition of CREATIVE SPACE and/or CREATIVE SPACE on YouTube, BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.
CREATIVE SPACE: Miranda Askie Designs: Not Cookie Cutter
Miranda Askie and her business partner – not twin but younger by one year – sister Marleen spent their early years in Dominica. She remembers their seamstress mother, and earliest fashion influence, indulging the fashion games they played in their yard in Portsmouth.
They also grew up and live here in their dad’s birthplace, Antigua. And COVID realities resulted in the sisters once again bringing fashion home, with the relocation in 2020 of their business to their front yard on Manix Drive in Potters.
Miranda and Marleen, also known as fitness gurus, have had their foot in fashion for some years. Miranda, more specifically, has made a name for herself as a jewelry, clothing, bag, and soon to be, shoe designer. The one time and still some time model describes her aesthetic as bold, and, from her signature half-necklaces to her colourful fabric choices and how she makes white anything but boring, who can argue.
“I don’t limit my thought process when I’m being creative.”
She’s creating more than ever, while becoming more active on social media, increasingly orienting her online presence toward the still growing business, which has a loyal client base at home and in the diaspora. Earlier outlets were in Sugar Ridge, the old airport, and Redcliffe Quay. Miranda and I talk about the potential integration of culture, tourism, branding, and development that could have been at the new (as of 2015) airport and how, instead, the move from the old V.C. Bird terminal effectively saw many local businesses left behind. She suggests that the last open store area travelers walk through before departure could have been “one store and all you get is local, a local marketplace, right at the airport; (but) they had no wish…they did not care about the local people.”
Many artists have lamented that the local environment is not enabling, and the airport saga is but one example. Miranda makes a more current comparison with Trinidad where a COVID relief grant programme was put in place for those working in the creative arts.
But innovators make a way and Miranda continues to do just that.
“The plan was to stay in Redcliffe Quay and I was going to teach classes in jewelry making and wholesale jewelry parts…but then COVID happened.” It was her sister’s idea to take the business home rather than continue to rent in town in a lockdown. There’s an Antiguan-ism that seems fashion appropriate here, every spoil ah wan style, because the sisters have an alluring home base with a yoga studio upstairs and Miranda Askie Designs downstairs. “I’m very comfortable,” Miranda said, but not too comfortable (“I still get dressed like I’m going to work”).
Miranda’s designs, and I speak from experience, have the power to make women say wow, I want that, I want to be that – elegant, bold, and 100 percent Caribbean.
She has no doubt that her clothing and accessories make women feel special, accounting for why women in one of the fashion capitals of the world, New York, still send home for Miranda Askie originals and set up salons for her to meet and show to potential clients among their network. And Miranda is not too precious to design to client needs – a practical seamstress sensibility (“I design what I think they will like”) mixing with her creativity (“I’m just doing me”) – even sending pictures of new designs out for client feedback.
Miranda’s grounding in fashion has been a mix of exposure (e.g. a 2017 exchange in China), apprenticeship (with Antigua’s premier fashion guru, Calvin S.), courses (in fashion and jewelry making), inspiration (“when you’re creating, you’re seeing something else”), finding her aesthetic (“I like asymmetrical”), and her own je ne sais quoi. And now, on a new path, hoping to attract a team to assist and guide her, she said, with a sense of excitement and the uncertainty of discovery, “The possibilities, of creative arts, (are) endless.”
Several other times I wore Miranda Askie Designs.
Immediately above – top to bottom: Skirt worn at the Women of Wadadli Awards (2020), Necklace worn at the launch of my book Musical Youth (2014), and Necklace and Jacket worn at the Brooklyn Book Fair (2015).
Below: Some of the fashion shoot images above are by Emanuel Dasaliuc. Below are more images shot by Emanuel Dascaliuc.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing or excerpting with link and credit is okay. But for re-publication of CREATIVE SPACE or any other content on this site contact Joanne – also use this link to contact Joanne for appearances (reading, speaking, discussions), workshops/courses, writing, editing, or other offered service.
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