Today we’d like to introduce you to Dasia Williams.
Hi Dasia, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In 2004 on America’s Next Top Model, Tocara Jones was my favorite model on the show, and she was considered a plus-size model. At the time, I was only seven, so compared to the other girls, she did look plus size my eyes as well. Today, I am 24 years of age and am now aware that Tocara only wore a size 12, which is my size today. I say all that to say that growing up, I always looked at myself as plus size, I was always bigger than my friends, but not fat, but bigger than them and more on the curvy side. Today, a lot more women look the way I look, and that has changed the consideration of being plus size if you wear a 12. However, no one has normalized their fit or the make of the clothes. Every pair of jeans I have ever purchased did not fit my waist, and why would it, I have a 30 waist and a 52 hip. I taught myself how to sew by hand just enough to close the gap in my jeans. After college, I became more aware of my style, my keen sense to fashion trends, and how I would be able to pull such trends off. This led me to an overuse of safety pins and hand sewing.
Eventually, in February 2020 I bought a sewing machine and begin altering my own clothes, with no prior knowledge of how to use a sewing machine. My birthday is 2/6, and I went to fashion week, and my gift to myself was to learn to make my own outfit because everywhere I looked, no one sold the correct sizing. This later bought me to creating my own custom wardrobe brand, specializing in pants, jackets, and dresses. I released my clothing “lorddkw” to the public in June, only five months after purchasing the machine. I built my skill up all throughout the COVID quarantine, purchasing fabrics, overall teaching myself to sew. I am a visual person, and I learn from trial and error. With that said, I don’t know how to use patterns, I am very unaware of fabric types, I don’t know how to draw so I never sketch and overall the basics of sewing one would learn through a class. This is why I find my brand and skill to be so unique, not only because I taught myself and practically mastered it in less than a month, the lack of basics gives my brand a more edgy and unfinished look, which I love most.
One could consider my brand edgy streetwear with a rockstar twist, and it is also gender-neutral. This is another key point that led me into sewing, a lot of my clothes are originally men’s, and not only did I need to make it fit me in a flattering way, I wanted it to be known that it was revamped men’s and that anyone can pull off any look, you just need a little fixing. My overall dreams and goals are to have my own alterations shop, like your neighborhood cleaners, but black-owned, along with an area for customs. As a designer, I have prided myself on being different, I try not to follow the trends and make what many are selling, but more what catches my eye. A lot of brands follow trends for sales, whereas my brand is an exact reputation of my style, which is where my motto comes in “I don’t sell clothes. I sell style.”
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
“I don’t know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world” Vivienne Westwood. My only two bumps in my road are finances and time — because I am financing my brand alone, I still work a 7-3. I am full-time 1st-grade teacher, which takes up more of my time than you think. When starting a brand, one must be aware that you rarely see an ROI within your first year. But for me, because I don’t have an inheritance, and I pay for everything on my own, I see less of a return than one could think. I use upholstery fabrics, outdoor fabrics, overall more durable fabrics that start at $35 a yard. I have to hope that this $50 fabric I just purchased won’t go to waste. While I mainly talk positively about being self-taught, it too has its cons. Because I am a trial and error learner, I have wasted a lot of resources simply practicing and messing up items that I didn’t intentionally want to mess up. A lot of times, I come across a custom request that I think I can fulfill, and I actually can’t because of one minor basic step that you would learn in a Sewing 101 class at college that I didn’t learn.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
What sets me apart from others is my journey. I am from North Philadelphia and I graduated college in May 2019 with a degree in Business. I moved to Charlotte on my own for a job and lost that job within two weeks of relocating. A sane person would have moved back home immediately, but I considered myself a risk-taker, and that would have been too easy for me. So I stayed, and it led me to dive deeper into my fashion lifestyle by working at Nordstroms. In my time at Nordstrom, I began unofficially styling customers and began to study the alterations department. After Charlotte, I stayed in Philly for a while during COVID, unemployed, no money, which had me depressed, but also turned on my creative light. Eventually, my impulse kicked in, and I decided to take a trip to LA, never been before, and I thought it would inspire me more, and boy, did it! I planned to go to LA for a week and stayed for three months. I went with no more than my sewing machine and a week’s worth of clothes. I spent a lot of time studying the arts in LA, underground brands, the overall vibe of the real city.
This was the best three months I had ever spent in my life, but it had to come to an end before I ended up sleeping on the streets. Before I left LA, I wanted to come to Atlanta for a week, and before I booked my flight, something told me to upload my resume on indeed. Within three days of doing so, I got the teaching job I am currently at. I ended up flying to Philly, packed as much that would fit into my suitcase and took my talents to Atlanta. I am specifically known for my departures, I have lived in three cities in two years, without friends or family. I have never moved somewhere with the adequate funds in my bank account, but I always make it work. My professional and personal life are completely intertwined because my profession is sewing, which can be done anywhere with a table. My personal life is traveling, and all you need is a flight and hotel to do such. I think my nomad lifestyle has influenced me to chase my dreams harder than the next but has also gave me faith and confidence in myself that I will ALWAYS land on my feet.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Something that would surprise most people is that I am completely unaware of fashion history. A typical designer could tell you ten high fashion, well-known designers that have inspired them. I cannot. When I was at fashion week, I was working directly with the headlining designer, and I had no clue who he was. I may have been the only person in the room who didn’t know who he was. Some would be ashamed of that, but I’m not. I am not into fashion for others, but fashion for myself, so I don’t know many designers, and I don’t have a designer who I consider to have influenced my style.
- Dresses: 100
- Pants: 150
- Jackets: 100
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.lorddkw.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorddasia/?hl=en
Every image – Dasia Williams