A trip to Detroit one weekend sparked the creation of a quirky skirt pattern.
Jaya Iyer, the creator of Svaha, a STEAM clothing brand, was visiting Michigan from D.C. for a weekend with friends, and drove up to the Detroit Zoo’s water tower. The tower’s design sparked the inspiration for a new collection. And the lack of women’s STEAM clothing fueled this latest fashion collection highlighting one of Michigan’s favorite attractions.
Who is Jaya Iyer?
With tailoring in her family background, Iyer was destined to become a fashion designer. Her grandparents had a tailor school in Iyer’s native India. She was able to get hands-on experience when she visited them on summer vacations as a young girl and began to sew outfits for her dolls.
Iyer eventually studied fashion and worked in the apparel industry in India before she moved to the U.S., where she studied fashion merchandising before entering academia to teach fashion buying. Iyer also worked as a fashion buyer for Think Geek, a former brand.
Iyer decided it was time to take a break from work and spend more time with her children. In that process, she discovered there was no STEAM-related clothing for her little girl who dreamed of being an astronaut.
“My first design was an astronaut, an astronaut on a pink T-shirt because my daughter loves pink,” Iyer said. “Then I was like, ‘You know what? It’s so rare to see even a boy’s pink T-shirt. What if a boy likes pink and cars? There’s really nothing wrong with that.’ So then I said, I really need to do something that gets rid of all of this gender stereotype that is in clothing. My son loves wearing bright colors, so why should he only have to choose between red, blue, gray and black, kind of colors?”
What is Svaha USA?
Svaha USA was born in 2015, with a mission to fight against stereotypical gender norms displayed in children’s clothing, while also creating STEAM-related fashion apparel for little girls and boys who want to wear clothing that reflects their passions.
“You like to wear clothes that show what you love, but really there (was) no clothing at that time that showed that,” she said, about the lack of children’s apparel that transcends gender norms.
Iyer said that the majority of her fashion collections for Svaha are inspired by her customers.
“We pick a science topic, engineering topic, technology topic or a math topic and we come up with design ideas,” she said. “It’s usually, I look at what my customers are asking for, and I come up with ideas.”
Fashion inspired by Detroit Zoo
Iyer describes herself as someone who is always looking for ideas, and as soon as she saw the Detroit Zoo water tower during a weekend trip to Detroit, her mind went into brainstorming mode.
“I immediately took out my phone and I took the picture and I said, ‘OK, this has to be on a dress,’ ” she said. “But then of course I didn’t want to make the design exactly like what it was, so I had my designer pick some different animals but got inspired by the water tank that we saw.”
Iyer said her customers in metro Detroit were super excited to see the designs.
“Many of my customers had told us about how amazing the zoo is,” she said. “How amazing the management there is and actually does a lot of work for animal preservation and they really care about all the animals that are there.”
Svaha typically drops collections that include dresses, skirts and leggings.
“I want my brand to always stand for making people feel confident, comfortable and just being a part of the design process,” she adds.
The Detroit Zoo-inspired collection is available on the Svaha website and comes in a maxi skirt.
Source : Freep