We had the good fortune of connecting with Kinah Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kinah, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am a born and raised Charlottean although my parents are from smaller towns and very well-rounded families that taught me the value of family and respect. I was always taught to be grateful and respectful. My parents were not too “hip” to the latest trends but did what they could to keep us cute and clothed. Most of the time that meant shopping at off-brand stores and thrift stores but we’d make do with what we got. My father often allowed me to be creative with my ideas by starting me with magazines and boards. I created vision boards for outfits and we’d take them to the stores and shop. I’d say “hey dad, those tops and pants look like this {pointing at my board}.” I’m pretty sure people thought “what kind of school project is she doing?” Because I would literally take my boards with me to the stores. I would also get in a little trouble from time to time for cutting my clothing but I was never made to feel that it was something super terrible. I feel like my parents always knew I was unique and would allow me to be unique without making me feel like it was a bad thing. I know several times I used to wear shirts backward or wear skirts as dresses. They never questioned me on my expression. The respect my parents had for my creativity means everything to me and what I do. To this day my parents are my biggest supporters from cutting up clothing to teaching me the value of thrift pieces they gave me. I’ve learned to value fabrics of all kinds from interior to fashion fabrics. I use them all. I’ve continued my journey of cutting up clothing and began to upcycle clothing and as I continued I began to dig deeper into learning the impact the fashion community has on waste and landfills. This made me want to continue my path of being sustainable by using upcycled fabrics. 75% of my creations currently are made from recycled materials. My goal is to make that 100%.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a Sustainable Designer, I make one-of-a-kind upcycled pieces. I thrift for vintage fabrics as well as take items out of people’s closets and reconstruct them into new pieces. I first started with creating wire jewelry from cable installation copper cables and turned them into beautiful wire-wrapped jewelry pieces. Then when I got into school for fashion design I decided that I’d like to do the same with clothing. I began using old curtains and interior fabrics for my clothing patterns. I honestly loved the weight and feel of the fabrics. Its quality was always sustainable for the many years to come. I love that all the pieces I create are one of a kind from one-of-a-kind fabrics. Like yes, I could make this pattern over again but not in the same materials because I do find and use such unique fabrics. I think my favorite part about what I do is seeing the look of surprise on people’s faces when I explain to them what the piece originally was. I got where I am professionally from practice, understanding, and studying. When I first began sewing it was difficult because you want everything you do to be perfect. But I learned I had to crawl before I walked. I constantly practiced and created. It also wasn’t easy because I kept trying to compare my work to others and I would get frustrated and upset. I had to come to the understanding that my pieces were my own, not something I could compare to anyone else. I call myself the McGuyver of design because I feel that I can create something amazing from anything.
The lessons that I’ve learned are that all things take time. When I started I knew creating clothing was my calling. I worked retail and I would constantly hoover the path to being creative. In the beginning, I downplayed it. I remember having a teacher in school who constantly told us “new techniques and ideas are created every day,” and because of that logic I study, I research trends and styles, then I study how to create the patterns and put them together. Sometimes when I’m in bed I think about a technique and then I think of a way to do it that better suits me. I love studying. I watch videos on how to create different things, I take notes and sometimes I practice on paper and cut it up just to make sure I understand. And if I’m stuck I rewind the videos back until I can grasp them. I want the world to know that I pride myself in taking one man’s trash and turning it into a treasure; and that my brand is an amazing sustainable brand that takes recycling seriously.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I’d start with the side I grew up on, the east side of course. I’d take them to my favorite thrift spots starting with the Goodwill on Sharon Rd. then work my way up to Central Ave and go to Value Village and Salvation Army. Next, I would go to the House of Africa for some stones and jewels and then the Green Apple book store for some book finds. I love the smell of older books; they have that stale but paper smell. Then we would have lunch at Leah and Louise. I absolutely love the restaurant. They have so many amazing unique plates and they always have a drink based on what zodiac sign it is at the moment (which I love) and then check out Good Year to see what artist exhibits are being featured. Lastly, we would head to 1501 to sit out on the patio and discuss the day or talk about all the pieces we thrift and what we will recreate the pieces into.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shoutout to my family and friends. They truly have all helped me along my journey in many different ways. Their continual support and uplifting have always kept me going and creating. Thank you for believing in me

Website: www.thekinahkreative.com

Instagram: thekinah and thekinahkreative

Image Credits
1. Model Godric Photographer Sean Manuel Featured Piece: “Crush Me in Blush” men’s trench Jacket 2.” Back in the Daze ” Model Noel, Photographer Sean Manuel featured pieces: fringe Denim Letterman’s jacket with denim tub top and bishop lace sleeve button down 3. “When I get home ” Model JB photographer Sean Manuel Featured set: “lace me in velvet” lingerie 4. Model Shekinah, photographer Gary Javier featured piece: Laced up blazer 5. “Back in the Daze” Model Noel, Photographer Sean Manuel Featured pieces: De.De. Panel Strapless dress, Hand-dyed Fuzz Love Jacket and Safety Chokes Choker 6. Model Shekinah, Photographer Gary Javier featured piece: Lace-up blazer and upcycle boots

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