aŠady- A TALK WITH DANA ASADY

Fueled by fortitude, femininity, and fierceness, aŠady is a brand for the everyday woman ready to grab life by its horns–and look good doing it.

The designs are powered by bold cuts coupled with intricate embroidery, adding a delicate touch to our pieces: your invincible shield of confidence. Designer and namesake of the brand, Dana Asady, continues to draw inspiration from past and present. Her work is influenced by timeless shapes with roots in ancient Mesopotamia, where goddesses ruled both love and war simultaneously, married with a modern twist fit for the 21st century woman.

At aŠady, we believe you can be both strong and feminine, any day and anywhere. There is no need for compromise. Our goal is to elevate your style, one daring piece at a time. Our muse is you.

– DANA ASADY

A TALK WITH DANA ASADY, FOUNDER + DESIGNER OF AŠADY

When did you first realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

I started experimenting with fashion and sewing at a very young age. I spent endless hours watching my mom and aunt buy the perfect piece of fabric, measure, cut and sew to create unique pieces. I was 11 years old when I sewed my first outfit. I still remember it vividly: a checkered black and white skirt with a cropped top. It probably looked awful but it felt amazing to wear.

When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?

I don’t come from a trained background in fashion, nor did I have an internship of any sort. I graduated college with a master’s degree in nuclear physics. Later I worked in the technology sector for software and product development for over 12 years. Everything I do today is self taught with a big dose of imagination and creativity.

What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position?

I worked as a quality engineer in a startup company. I doubt I was the most qualified person on the candidate list. However, I do believe my eagerness and hunger for learning played a big role in my placement.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?

I would tell my younger self that failure is another opportunity for learning.

What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?

My biggest rookie mistake was not believing in myself, my talent or my story. I was too hung up on what I can’t do versus focusing on what I can and do very well, which is create a unique vision and execute it.

What is one thing you look at the models for your campaigns?

I tend to be more drawn to women with what society defines as imperfect and ambiguous. Freckles, big hair and big noses in my opinion are part of the human’s beauty story.

What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?

Social media changed the game of interacting and connecting with your clients. Brands went from rigid personas to becoming more approachable and fluid. They began communicating on a personal level to customers, and have fostered an intimate relationship with all kinds of social media users. It’s easier now for brands to communicate what they stand for, what they support, and even give a behind the scenes look at the visionaries that drive them as well. It’s fascinating.

What is your favorite and NON-favorite part about being part of the fashion industry?

I love working, collaborating and being surrounded by creative minds. I am always in awe of others’ creative processes and visions. It keeps me on my toes and inspires me to up my game. On the other hand , I am not a big fan of how fashion dictates what color and style are in or out each season or what’s the best trend to make you look younger. As a designer it puts limitations on my creative process, that’s why I tend to create what i feel in that specific moment. Also, as a consumer I do believe that each one of us have a personal relationship with fashion. I doubt if everyone will feel their best wearing neon colors or cropped tops.

How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?

I want them to feel unapologetic, provocative and assertive while maintaining their romance and femininity. Strong is beautiful and feminine.

Can you tell us how your brand makes a difference in the fashion industry?

My brand brings awareness to traditional artforms that originate from a part of the world that’s largely ignored, or has been painted in a negative light in mainstream media. It’s an intimate look at beauty that has existed in the Middle East and Eastern Europe for centuries that is still worthy of appreciation despite years of war and destruction. It’s meant to find beauty in the rubble, and reintroduce an audience to a region of the globe that’s largely misunderstood.

It’s also meant to redefine femininity and motifs of power. Femininity is not one uniform look. It comes in many shapes, sizes and colours. It can be both smooth and ragged, or traditional or futuristic. Its definition is up to interpretation by both the designer and wearer.

News on the way regarding your next collection?

Currently wrapping up production on my last pieces of my next collection. My focus was to create signature items that can take any basic outfit to the next level statement piece. I am super excited and can’t wait to show it.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a fashion designer?

I find connecting with buyers to be a common pain point to new and upcoming designers. Personally , I call it the graveyard of creativity. I believe new brands and buyers’ worlds are out of sync at the moment, the designer’s world is cutting edge while the buyer’s world is still operating on trades-hows, cold calling and spreadsheets, there has to be another way to break that barrier and make it more mainstream.

There is one important person, in your life, who pushes and motivates you to believe in yourself?

I can’t say there is only one person, in reality there is probably a tribe of people who gives you the confidence boost you need with every challenge. Your partner who can hold down the fort when you are on that business trip, your creative friend who gives their honest opinion with no hold backs and your customer who keeps coming back for more. All of them are of importance to me .

How do you think a big brand should motivate their collaborators and team members?

A brand should always be honest about its vision and mission statement. A brand’s founder should be personable, and keep the story behind the vision personal. They should also not be afraid of nuanced feedback or criticism while still staying true to who they are as a brand and what they represent. Most of all, motivation for me lies in inspiration. A brand should strive to always be innovative and inspired, and collaborators and team members play a big role in driving that inspiration forward. It’s ultimately about fostering an honest connection that makes collaborators happy, comfortable, but most of all proud to be part of the overall vision.

How do you think sustainable can play an important role in the fashion industry?

More than ever, I think it’s become so important to think about our role as both creators and consumers in how we can be more mindful and intentional with our work to drive sustainability forward in order to enjoy these creations for generations to come. Ethically-sourced fabric and labour is one piece of the puzzle. Other methods include minimizing waste and drawing on vintage pieces and fabric for inspiration. Sustainable fashion for me is also about preserving the integrity of artists’ and their vision, all while preserving our planet for the future.

Describe us you as a designer and how your feelings influence the creativity process?

Growing up in a war zone I learned early on to stay positive as much as possible. The full half type of gal. However, when my feelings get the best of me, I find myself by a canvas with a bunch of paint where a flood of emotions turns into artwork.

Would you like to involve other accessories designers in your future projects?

Even though I try to create unique jewelry pieces for some of my looks as it mostly completes the vision, such as our Tali crown which, I find it very joyful to work with other jewelry designers such as Georgina Herrera , her jewelry is very unique and speaks the same language as my designs. My dream is to have the opportunity to work with Dominique Aurientis and Faberge.

What do you think is the main mission of the CO-BRANDING concept ?

Co-Branding is a double edged sword strategy,most of the time it can generate royalty income, sales income, creates customer trust on the product or the service, but also it can be very dangerous if the two brands are not aligned in terms of vision and what they stand for.

How fashion Public Relations agencies can help more the brands and what skills a good fashion PR should have in your opinion?

I think in fashion industry, connections are key. A PR agency should be well-equipped to match emerging designers with opportunities that are the best fit for them and their brand, whether it be through word of mouth, magazine spreads, editorials or retail. I also think PR agencies should do their best to keep their eye out on new opportunities that may help elevate the brands they represent even further. They should also have a thorough understanding of a designer’s mission statement and vision, and that comes with strong communication between PR agencies and the designer.

What designers inspire you and why?

I don’t think anyone can do provocative yet romantic looks better than Alexander McQueen.

There is anyone special who would like to meet in person?

Virgil Abloh , I think we share a lot of career parallels in terms of mixing engineering and science with design and creativity. It will be an honor to learn from him up close.

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your collections online nowadays?

Selling online is a great opportunity to connect with your consumers and to cut back on the middleman fees. However, having an online store does not automatically translate to sails, brands have to be very smart about marketing strategy , finding the best way to drive traffic to a website and to elevate the conversion rate might be a challenge sometimes. Unfortunately, little to none marketing strategy can turn any website to an expensive digital business card.

aŠadyinfluenced by timeless shapes with roots in ancient Mesopotamia

We believe you can be both strong and feminine!