Some designers do not know how to sew, sketch or tell you the way a fabric will function on the body. Fashion designer Ashaka Givens is not one of those designers. Thanks to the powerful women in her family, the upstate New York native learned very early on how to use a sewing machine and make her own clothes, watched fashion shows at her mom’s side, and eventually attended one of the most prestigious fashion institutions in the country – New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. And since then, she has been designing a career in fashion that is completely her own.


Today, Ashaka works with Grammy award-winning artists, such as Erykah Badu, creates custom gowns for brides, dresses celebrities for red carpet events, serves as costume director for film and TV projects and designs her own line of clothing and accessories. On this episode, she talks about advice for remaining relevant in the fashion industry, the importance of expansion and why being a fashion alchemist sets you apart.


On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why knowing the basics of design help you be a far better asset to your client.
  • How you take this glam idea down into an actual physical garment.
  • The importance of being open to opportunities that feels right.
  • Knowing the art of professionalism.
  • Why you can’t get caught up in the social media hype
  • The dangers of being mediocre.
  • Mistakes are good.
  • Her advice for young designers.


VISIT Ashaka at


FOLLOW Ashaka at…
Instagram: @ashakagivens
Facebook: @ashakagivens


Style with Elsa Klench
Lorraine West
Erykah Badu
“So Long” by Erykah Badu
Paper magazine
Project Runway
Julie Dash
Kendra Foster
D’Angelo’s Black Messiah
Nzingha Stewart
NAACP Awards
Vertimay Groover?
James Baldwin
Maya Angelou
A Noble Savage (vintage clothing store)
Maya Penn
Agape Spiritual Center


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[Music: “Someone Else’s Memories” by Revolution Void]