Now Fashion Week around the world has started, who better to feature this month than a designer who had a fabulous 2012 – Prajje 1983. Haitian born, Prajje Jean Baptiste graduated from MassArt and started his own fashion line in 2003.
Last year included a feature in Elle magazine and “Good Morning America,” a trip to Africa for the Arise magazine fashion show and a contestant on the Sundance Channel’s “All On The Line,” a reality show helping designers launch their careers. Amour Creole just had to connect with Prajje to see what is in store for 2013.
AC: When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in Haiti and things were not always easy. I didn’t have anyone in my family who made clothes. I just enjoyed making dolls clothes. I had more dolls than GI. Joes. Although, typical Haitian parents, they wanted me to be a lawyer, but when I moved to the US, I realized fashion was an option.
AC: What was your inspiration for Spring 2013?
“La Perle Des Antilles”is more edited and less theatrical than my past collections, “Peasant I and II”. I feel there is a need to show a different vision of Haiti; especially when I think of the market place. People look down on the market people but these people are actually the beauty of country, the strength of Haiti. These women are so strong, bold, and colorful people. Rather than selling the market, I want to sell the market dream within all women. Even if she is not from Haiti, I want my clients to wear these clothes feeling they all have the Haitian in them. Carry a little of that inside you when you walk down 5th avenue you have a story, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a way of being. My style is Haiti!
AC: Your last few collections were inspired by Haiti, what aspect of the culture inspires so much?
I was raised by all women: nanny, cousin, aunts, grandma. All these women were strong in their own way. There is something beautiful about that. I want to bring back the “Pearl of the Island” statement because Haiti is a beautiful country. And people don’t get to see that. Haiti needs a break.
AC: What are some of the challenges you face being a designer?
Finance is definitely one! It is hard doing things on your own. Everything you produced, you work for it. No one does anything for you, especially when you have a fulltime job, and you need to keep going. Staying strong at all times can be a challenge.
AC: Who is your ideal client?
I have an obsession with Rihanna. She is like my evil twin sister. She is edgy; my girl knows how to dress. And I can’t forget, Kerry Washington. I don’t have an age range, they are young, and they are doing great things and looking amazing.
AC: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
2012 was planting seed and the tree grew. Now it is time for harvest. I feel like 2013 is where the big fuss is going to be: online store, award nomination, Arise fashion show again, new business team. The best is yet to come.
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