Ema Ashley Interview
Waiting to be discovered can only work if you are already working on something. While the name Ema Ashley may be new to you, the era from which she draws inspiration from is many year’s before her time. Due to her vision, coupled with class from the past, Ema Ashley is a name you need to know today; for the future.
I understand that you had your first fashion show at 19. How old were you when you designed your first piece?
I was 17
How would you describe yourself both in your daily life and in design?
Oh, that’s a hard question [pause] well in my daily life I think I’m more reserved. When I’m designing I feel like I show; I don’t know I think I show out more when I’m designing.
So you get to use that as like an outlet?
How would you describe your own personal style versus your design style?
Well, I would say [giggles] um. I know it’s very different. I kind of dress, my style hmm, I don’t even know the word I guess [sigh] I don’t know kind of like I’m on the beach. My design style is retro, classic styles.
How did you know fashion was for you?
Well, I tried it and I realized I was good at it. And that’s pretty much what happened and I just kept practicing it was always something I felt I wouldn’t give up on so, I just kept practicing.
So how supportive has your family been over that past couple years?
Oh, they are really supportive they always figured I would be in like, the fashion industry since I was little. I mean, I wasn’t always too sure about it at first, they’re all really excited but they’re honestly not surprised.
You designed your first piece at 17, tell me about that, what did it look like?
It was um, [laughs] it was ugly, it was a pink sun dress I had to make for class. I mean it was okay, it was a pink sun dress. It took me like, 3 months just to make it. I didn’t like it at first I kept procrastinating I was like “I don’t like it”, I don’t know, it was frustrating. But I still have it.
I’m sure you’ve faced some struggles in your journey, so can you tell me how you overcame them and turned them around to guide you to where you are today?
When I made up my mind what I was going to do and design my collections it took me a long time because I cannot sit still. I always procrastinate so I have a hard time just sitting there and I can’t just sit and sew for a long time. I mean it took me oh my goodness, like six months just to finish my first collection so I had to just make up my mind and kind of tell myself this is for a good cause like I want to do charity events with this; I don’t just want to do it for money. So I had to tell myself this is my passion, I got to put my love and energy into it and when I did that I just started making like three dresses in two days and like, that’s pretty much the only struggle I had and overcame.
That’s a really honorable thing that you’d like to do charity events with this.
Previously you told us that Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor are your inspirations for design, tell me more about this and why they are the inspiration for you.
I just feel like they’re the first two, for me, that I look up to they’re like really classy women and I don’t really care too much about how girls dress these days. I just don’t like how the entertainment industry the way they make models look, I mean I don’t like the trashy looks. I feel like they were in the classiest glamour era for me. I wish it was still here and I want to bring it back. I mean my mom, she’s obsessed with Elizabeth Taylor she has all her movies on DVD and I watch them to find inspiration. I’ve always looked up to them I kind of still feel like they’re alive I have picture of them in my room and stuff.
Do you have a favorite piece? Tell me about it and why it’s your favorite.
Yeah, it’s more of an outfit it’s a skirt with like, a draped overlay top. I don’t know why its my favorite a model (Bailey?) was wearing it on my Instagram. It looks like something Audrey might wear. I just like the way it looks.
What has been your favorite experience in the industry so far doing designs and fashion?
My favorite experience so far has been working with the models because most of them are like, my age you know like building friendships. I have never really been in charge so like having to tell them what to do is, I don’t know at first it’s weird because I don’t want to be bossy but it’s fun. And hearing the directors tell me they love me [giggles] it’s really good to hear that and it makes me want to keep going.
Where do you see yourself going with fashion in the next few years?
Um, eventually I’d like to be in a few stores in the DFW, I would like them to be in the outlet malls or something.
I would wear your dresses.
Thank you, that’s nice.
So The 9’s wants to put you in the spotlight, tell me some interesting things about yourself that you’d like our readers to know about you and or your fashion.[laughs] Well I was in wrestling before I did fashion I wanted to go into UFC.
That’s quite a career change.
Well I did it from middle school until I graduated high school and I was really good at it but my mom was all, you know how they can be.
I’m sure she was like “I’d rather see you on the runway than on a mat.”[laughs] Yeah, yeah that’s how she was and I was like oh my gosh. But I think that’s the only thing about me that’s interesting other than I graduated last year.
If you were to have a piece featured in the article what would it be?
Definitely my favorite and there are a couple others too. There’s a red and white off the shoulder dress I’d like to show and yeah. But I’d like a model to wear it I can’t model my own clothes I feel like I look weird [laughs] I’m too short (5’3”)
Are there any other things that you’d like us to know about your designs?
Yes! Actually my first collection is the one you can see on my Instagram; some of those actually started as scraps or are recycled something used like a t shirt or my sheets. Yeah, a lot of the long dresses are made out of my sheets.
Interviewed By: Ashley Kline
Photographer: Brandon Nalley