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Kai Arri Stephens

The Asphalt collection is inspired by the concept of travel and the elements around you as you embark on a road trip. The varying colors of the pavement and the accenting tones from the safety lines are elements you will see in this collection. With an eclectic appeal that pays homage to the generation before and during my time. While also trailblazing with my own tactical approach. 

This collection is meant to empower the customer to explore different possibilities in their every day wardrobe choices.

Designer Interview

I am an African American woman, raised in the 90s, by two mothers. Music was heavily present in the home which led me to take up hip hop dance as my creative outlet. Being raised in a fully feminine household uplifted and cultivated my creativity and has played a large factor in my inspiration and the way I choose my concepts. I was able to define what a feminine presence means to me, which is best represented by the women of the 90s in hip hop culture. They were not stifled by their gender or boxed in; they were able to be feminine with a masculine presence. ​

My aesthetic is urban elevated fashion. I use belting, denim, and cotton fabrication to show how a rough and durable median can be used to create. something seemingly delicate. I enjoy the use of asymmetrical and clean straight lines to create balance. I also plan to incorporate paint and other mixed media materials to experiment with a more earthy approach.  

I am influenced by American designer Jeremy Scott, who is known for blending high fashion with streetstyle. His work as a creative director for Moschino and design collaboration with Adidas has inspired me as a designer and in my own personal aesthetic. June Ambrose has also played an influential role in my life as a creative. She is a costume designer, stylist, and creative director. The fact that she gained her start as a costume designer in the 90s, for hip hop artists and evolved her style to elevate her brand is inspiring. She is currently the creative director for Puma, and her first line launched with them in 2021. It was inspired by basketball and street culture, with an interesting take on bright colors. 

My work is unique because it is intended to bring functionality to high end fashion. Even though I am catering to a casual aesthetic, my designs have more of an elevated approach to streetwear and can be worn for an array of occasions .