Project IMA Designer Highlight: Anta’nia Curtis

An abundance of local talent will be on display tonight at Project IMA – IN:spired. Continuing our preview of several of the designers involved, Pattern sat down with Anta’nia Curtis, a Detroit native and student at the Art Institute, whose ‘Sassy Sailor’ design will mark her runway debut.

How did you get involved with the IMA?

I moved here two years ago to go to the Art Institute. I always saw signs for it, and my teachers and instructors always talked about the IMA, so I joined their email list. I got involved with the show because I thought that, two years into college, I should start getting involved in fashion shows and getting my name out there.

What’s the inspiration for your piece?

A navy sailor look. I love the ’50s; they’re my favorite era. So I saw this sailor dress and I thought, ‘Wow.’ I wanted to change it into something current and sassy and sexy. I love nautical colors — the navy, and the red and white. So I stuck with those colors and began to play them up with some summer elements. I love sweetheart necklines, so it’s strapless, fitted, very flattering to the figure, but still classy.

My model for the show is my assistant manager at White House Black Market. Her name is Veronica. She’s bubbly, and spunky. I’ve always thought her walk deserved to be on the runway. She has this presence that’s very vibrant and warm, so I thought she was just perfect to show off my piece.

So how’d you get stuck on the ’50s?

I just love the cinched waist and full skirts, the cinched waist and fitted through the hips. It’s always captivated me. I’m totally stuck on it — the fabrics, the prints, the polka dots get me every time.

When did you first get interested in fashion design?

I’ve always been interested. When I was a little girl, I was always in my mother’s closet playing dress up. I wanted to be the cutest, the most fashionable, and through high school I started taking classes. It’s a way of expression; I can say what I feel, without really saying anything. So why not do something I love? My mom always told me that if you would do it for free, then go for it! Nothing seems to make me happier than fashion, and I can’t see myself doing anything else.

How has the Art Institute prepared you for an event like Project IMA – IN:spired?

Through the Art Institute, I’ve taken the classes that have given me the skills to present a great piece, to make sure my construction skills are solid. I’ve taken basic classes, like sewing techniques — hand sewing, stitching, couture work, etc., so that’s definitely helped me to prepare for this fashion show.

If you could dress anyone, who would it be?

Beyonce. I’ve always loved her, especially her confidence. Her mom always designed her outfits, so she’s always custom. She’s just fabulous. How could you not love her?

What’s your impression on some of the latest trends from fashion week?

I’m not a trendy person, but I love the peplum and the high-low skirts. My favorite collections were Alexander McQueen and Chanel. I’m really inspired by Chanel because of the simple, classic, clean lines. The intricate details make the looks very feminine. I try to be my own person, my own designer, though. I’m just Anta’nia!

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