Lia by Imani Whyte

Imani Lia Whyte
Designer Biography

Harlem native, lover and maker of avant-garde fashion design, Imani Lia Whyte, has been making and designing clothes since the tender age of 10.Declaring to her mother, Debra, that she wanted to be a fashion designer and deciding that she wanted to be in fashion, she began making clothes for herself and friends while participating in fashion shows at church and throughout her native New York. Understanding the impact garments can have on their wearer is Whyte’s key to great design. Her ability to communicate ideas and concepts through extensive research show the importance of glamour in her evening wear. Majoring in Fashion Design and minoring in Accessory Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Whyte is well on her way to becoming the next best American evening wear designer.
“Fashion is truly what I love doing and it just so happens that it pays the bills,” says Whyte as she casually cuts out patterns for her senior collection. When asked her favorite pastime, she shares this: “ I love to create evening gowns and cocktail dresses that add drama and glamour to their wearer.” Interesting concepts, dramatic silhouettes, elaborated patterns, and luxurious materials define Whyte, and let’s not forget glamour!
As one would expect, Whyte is quite the diligent worker. On one of my recent visits to her studio during one of her umpteenth all nighters, I asked if she ever gets tired of doing this. She replied, “ As soon as I think that I am tired, I realize there is nothing else in the world that I would rather be doing.”
She was proclaimed Fashion Forward in the April/May 2009 issue of The South Magazine, which featured select SCAD senior fashion students currently working on their senior collections. Her collection takes inspiration from the mystical fantasy world of the Chronicles of Narnia and late ‘40s and early ‘50s eveningwear. The collection consists of silk evening gowns, silk taffeta cocktail dresses and even a bit of silk faile for good measure. Whyte’s designs make young Hollywood and old ladies that lunch keel over with desire.
This past winter Whyte interned with Tracy Reese. “I was doing everything from dying fabric and trim to conducting sales of luxury merchandise during the annual sample sale.” During the summer of 2007 she was an assistant to Head Women’s Wear designer at Rainforest Inc. From June2004- August 2005 Whyte interned at Birnbaum & Bullock assisting dress and veil makers in finishing garments.

Style File Interview
Interview Conducted by Najee Wilson
Questions from Ike Ude’s Style File: The Worlds Most Elegantly Dressed

Occupation: Fashion Designer & dedicated student

Place of Birth: Midtown, Manhattan

Ideal Place of Residence: New York City

Astrological Sign: Taurus

Current Residence: Savannah, GA/New York, NY

Favorite Job: Designing

What makes a person stylish?
How they carry themselves in whatever they wear.

What is the distinction between style and fashion?
Style is forever, Fashion is ever changing.

What does one become a fashion victim?
When they begin to change there look according to the latest celebrity or trend.

Who is your favorite designer?
Carolina Herrera, Oscar De La Renta, Karl Lagerfeld and, Balenciaga.
Would you ever shoplift an item of clothing that you just had to have?
Not really sure… I doubt it.

What is your favorite phrase?
“There is a thread of Glamour sewn through everything we do.”
-Mark Badgley of Badgley Mischka

What is your favorite artwork?
I am always inspired by art …to choose just one for all time would be unjust and unfair.

Who is your favorite artist?
Again to many to choose from.

What is your favorite architectural structure?
Anything from Baroque or Rococo

What is your favorite color?
I love BRIGHT colors!

What period costume would you most like to wear?
The French Revolution, I loved the way Marie Antoinette dressed.

Stylistically, what is your favorite movie?
I live by The Devil Wears Prada.

What is your greatest weakness when it comes to clothing?
Not looking at prices, when I shop I just dive in.

What is your most prized possession?
My BlackBerry and My sketches.

Which world leader has the most distinctive style?
Queen Elizabeth

For which famous person would you most like to do a style makeover, and what would you do?
Hillary Clinton. I would like to usher her sense of style into 2009.

What attire would you rather be caught dead in?
Perhaps one of my dresses bright pink of course!

What is your style philosophy?
Dress like you don’t care and everyone else will.

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