LaDonna Davis, owner and designer of the Fashion Brand “And She Saw Stars” is a phenomenal example of multi-talent. LaDonna demonstrates an innate ability to transfer productivity from one norm to the next. Even more intriguing, is that LaDonna derives creative concepts from experiences that may seem impartial to the creative psyche. However, Vancouver Fashion Week has allowed us the opportunity to connect with LaDonna, and offered us the chance to dig a little deeper pertaining to this self made Aerospace Engineer turned Fashion Designer.
With such an interesting brand name I am sure many have asked but, how did it come about?
The original name I started out with was Stargazer Creations, and at the time, it seemed to be a promising choice. I loved it, but throughout the course of my experiences my interests have changed a bit. At the time I was doing herbal products like infused vinegar and herbal teas, but also working full time as an Aerospace Engineer, hence the interest in space and stars. I was moving on to the next journey in my life and Stargazer Creations had to be put aside until that career came to an end. I switched careers in 2013, pursued my love of fashion design, and reworked my internal compass for a career as a designer. I still wanted to go with the theme of stars again so Stargazer Creations became the inspiration for the name “’And She Saw Stars’. And that’s me. I see stars. Literally and figuratively.
I see that you actually tackle many creative art forms outside of fashion.
What fuels you to be a part of such an artistic community?
I am used to having many interests and I always pursue my passions and follow my heart. It’s a way of expressing myself and my moods. I love color and I love fashion. It’s difficult when I was working as an engineer to strictly only do engineering. I needed a more creative outlet and so I would take to the art schools and study watercolor, mixed media, intuitive painting, pastels, drawing, cooking, and other fun topics. I’ve actually just finished my first appearance on a cooking show, ‘Allergy Actress Cooking’, which is a show on YouTube produced by Mary Beth Eversole. I was able to showcase my Colorwheel Cooking, something I’ve developed over years of working with color and art. It’s cooking using color as the focus to bring fun and healing into your meals. I’m hoping to generate interest in that work. I also do fashion photography which has been published in iMirage magazine, and my photography has received rave reviews for the perspectives and moments I capture through my camera. I truly love it. I’ve actually started turning some of my photography into mixed media works and also have developed mixed media collages that I’ve turned into cards and other items on my Etsy shop, And She Saw Stars. I love taking the output of one passion and turning it into something new when combined with another love. I’ve used my photography to create textiles for fashion and I hope to see more of this in the future. Seeing my artistic efforts come forward keeps me going and growing.
From as far back as you can recall, what sparked your interest in becoming a designer?
I’ve been interested in fashion since I was a child. My mom did fashion design having studied French Dressmaking at the Academy of Nvart in Detroit during the ’60s. She taught me how to sew and I grew up learning about styling, fashion, color, and design. I’ve always had an interest in fashion and now I’m pursuing it.
Who has been the biggest influence pertaining to your fashion career
and what is the best advice you have received thus far?
My Mom for sure. As I mentioned earlier, she taught me how to sew but also bought me my first sewing machine at the age of 13. She has seen me depart from the US Air Force after 17 years of service, leaving as a LtCol, and turning my eyes towards a career in fashion design after all my time as an engineer. She’s very proud of me especially after completing my Associates in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, and tackling advanced studies in Pattern Making at the Academy of Couture Arts in Los Angeles. I must admit that aside from my Mom, storytelling has been my driving force. I was sketching costumes for characters I was developing and noticed I was spending a ton of time doing it. I figured I needed to study fashion but I wanted to do it so I could tell stories via print, photography, and film. I didn’t know exactly what to call it at the time. Mind you, this was in 2011. The same day I thought about it I came across photographer Kirsty Mitchell who operates out of the UK. Her Wonderland Series became a big ‘Rumplestiltskin’ in my face in that I wanted to tell stories via photography with emphasis on Myth and Faery. You can see some of my own work in my Gallery Pics that capture Faery from my runway photography. It’s really cutting edge and insightful!
So what is next for you and your brand?
Well I’ll be showing for LA Fashion Week this Fall along with FashionNXT in Portland. I’m going to continue to showcase my recycled couture in FashionNXT, but I’m considering doing something different for LA Fashion Week. I’m still considering my options so we’ll see what comes out. I’ve developed some work using mixed media and I’ve started dubbing years beginning with 2017. I’m calling 2017 The Year of the Man. It’s new work, but also using my eye for what I see through trend. I go to a lot of shows and I also shop a fair amount. I blog about the things I encounter all the time and now I’ve turned this love into my own trend analysis that I hope to produce annually. The first year, Year of the Man (2017), will be free of charge. It can be used for more than just fashion design as it also touches on interior design and other markets too. The way it’s designed, it can be used with other trend analysis books or simply used by itself. I’ve dubbed years out to 2020, for instance, 2018 is the Year of Color to which we can already see hints of that, which I call ‘seedings’, even now. I expect 2017 to really be a great year to watch. I’ve been attending expos such as the Licensing Expo In Las Vegas, and I’m looking to license out my artwork and get a Branding Agency involved. And She Saw Stars has always been somewhat of an umbrella for all of my potential outlets. I would love to have a small modeling agency that captures new talent and develops them. I’ve had tons of luck with students who I’ve worked with and whose work I’ve seen evolve over a short period of time working with me. It’s very rewarding. I’m planning to attend my first MAGIC! Expo this August as well. I have one buyer, Chad Horton of Horton Berner Fashion Group, already interested in my lines from Vancouver Fashion Week. I’m going to see what I might be able to find with regards to manufacturers and sourcing. I’m nervous, but really excited as I think I will acquire many resources there.
And lastly, one article of clothing every woman should own?
I’d recommend owning The Little Green Dress over the ever-so-known Little Black Dress (LBD). If I recall correctly The Little Green Dress used to be very popular back in the 50’s. I think every woman should own a Little ‘your favorite color’ Dress. Every woman should have a ‘hot little number’ dress in their closet. It’s very empowering and sensual for the feminine psyche and helps set your ‘inner girl’ off for a great night/afternoon out. Besides that, I wouldn’t be caught dead without a jewelry box that dripped with a copious amount of baubles such as bracelets, bands, armlets, rings, earrings, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Wearing a series of wristlets, bands, bracelets on one wrist is too hot and fun for girl power. It takes you very far when you’re out and helps you to feel very chic. I have several leather bands, woven ties, and the like that I love putting on, and it’s always best to go with one wrist versus donning both wrists in my opinion. It can be daunting with too much on unless you want to do too much on one wrist and then go up to 2 on the other. Everyone knows asymmetry is in *winkwink*.
LaDonna Davis of “And She Saw Stars”