We had the good fortune of connecting with Cymphoni Laster Yancy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cymphoni, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I fell in love with Fashion at 12 years old. Exposure to television shows like Fashion Trance, Project Runway, The Look for Less, and America’s Next Top Model showed me the beauty of garments and self-expression through fashion. I immediately figured out where I wanted to go to college and decided that was going to be my life. Once, I was close to graduating high school, that shifted. I applied to SCAD Atlanta and Georgia State University. I knew that my family would not be able to afford SCAD, so I declined my acceptance and attended Georgia State. At Georgia State, I had a conversation with a sorority sister, who advised me to study Textiles since I was interested in being a designer. I fell in love with the art form and learned how I could incorporate the art of textiles into fashion design. I interned with an upcoming designer and before I knew it I was working an event at NYFW! After studying fine arts, interning with a fashion designer, and working an event at New York Fashion Week, I learned the things I did not like about the industry. I graduated with no intent of working in the fashion industry. After a few years of working in finance, I was unhappy. A former classmate introduced me to a local fashion manufacturer and I gained the opportunity to switch careers. This career move actually became highly beneficial because at the time I was working on launching my own fashion brand. With the access I had to a local manufacturer, I launched my fashion brand, Runi in the fall of 2019.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It has been a full circle journey becoming a fashion designer. It was something I wanted pursue since childhood and even though my life changed in more ways than expected, the fact that I still ended up here seems like destiny to me. I am inspired by nature because it brings me joy and peace in life. Reflecting the beauty of the planet in my garments is important to my creative process. I got to where I am by never giving up on my purpose. It was not easy. I have been an administrative assistant, art show curator, graphic designer, and many other things only to end up a fashion designer on the other side. I love being a creative entrepreneur and helping others realize their goals and dreams, and at some point, I had to put that energy into my own endeavors. I have learned that being true to yourself will resonate with the right people. Finding the right customer, being authentic in your journey, and having patience with the process of learning and growing as an artist and entrepreneur will take you further than you could imagine. I want the world to know that my brand is for people who are intentional about the clothing they choose to wear and how they present themselves in the world through fashion. I make clothing for people who live life beautifully and with intention.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Eating is one of my favorite things to do in Atlanta. The first place I would take someone in Atlanta is Buford Highway! I feel like the Chamblee/Brookhaven/Doraville area of the city is one of the most diverse and interesting places to try food from other cultures! Next I would recommend Castleberry Hill. Some of the most beautiful art, whether on the street or in the gallery can be viewed in Castleberry Hill. I would also recommend Little Five Points again for it’s beautiful alternative, thrifty, and artistic vibe. I would also plan a trip about an hour north of the city to the Dahlonega/Helen area of North Georgia mountains, where there is beautiful scenery, lots of nature, and lots of wineries! It’s the perfect place to get away from the city vibes and just relax.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shout out, my family & friends who support my dreams both with emotional and financial support by buying our garments and helping us out with photoshoots by being models and photographers. My business partner, Rubi Martinez! My business mentor/industry partner, Torey Rose of FAM USA.
Photographer, Brenton Yancy Models: Zuri Laster, Alyx Zibman, Jeffery Marano, Courtney Brown, Nisha Chun-Smith, Vanessa Villalobos