Janaya Hampton created her fashion line Asterisk The Brand with a mindset of creativity and freedom of expression making a way into the field of fashion. I caught up with Janaya and we discussed her influences, key advice for starting a fashion line, and how mistakes led to success.
What inspired you to start Asterisk The Brand?
JH:” I started Asterisk*The Brand right after I graduated from Howard University in 2017. I was initially inspired to get into the field of fashion after I read Sophia Amoruso’s Girl Boss. I didn’t know exactly what direction I wanted to go with it, and I kept my burning desire to do this as a secret for a long time. What really pushed me to start was not having a lot of money to buy the clothes that I really wanted, so I decided I could make them with yarn and crochet needle like I had done in the past. Then my baby was born! lol”
What do you love most about being a designer?
JH: “I love the nonverbal freedom of expression that comes with being a designer. I was a journalism major in school, and I love writing. But there is something special about being able to express yourself abstractly and artistically. “
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
JH: “yes, yes, and HELL THEEE F*** YES. I’ve made so many “mistakes” that put me right where I needed to be. I’ve been so strong and wrong that and experienced beautiful things from it. I feel like my biggest “mistake” was thinking I could scale my business model effectively in a year while hand making everything and modeling a lot on the side. But it lead me to over-working myself, quitting, finding my passion again, and then meeting some people that really pointed me in the right direction.”
What is the best advice you have for someone with a passion or interest in designing?
JH: “Do your research and never look to someone else for guidance on early stage designs. Get everything down on paper, finalize it mentally, then ask for constructive criticism. Don’t let people kill your creations before they are even born.”
Tell us a typical day for you.
JH: “A typical day for me is never typical lol. I’m always doing something different. But right now I do a lot of my design work on the weekends. I’ll wake up and work out, draw 5 off the top of the head sketches just to keep my brain creative, look and see what orders I need to fulfill, do them, ship and repeat. When I’m not in a fulfilling process I’m making mood boards or planning shoots most days.”
Any designers or influencers you would like to work with in the future?
JH: “Omg yes! Of course I want to work with Virgil, I mean what designer today wouldn’t want to? I would like to work with a lot of small designers in the Los Angles area run by women like Matte Brand, Adriana Sahar Shop, and Grayscale.”
What is your go-to when you need inspiration?
JH: “I like looking on Pinterest or just any particular person that may be my style muse at the time.”
In moments of adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
JH: “GOD. MOM. ME. in that order. lol. Whenever I’m going through something I have to talk to God and my mom about it. Then I address myself so that I can fully evaluate the situation.”
Name your greatest success so far in your business.
JH: “One of my greatest successes was selling out all of my items at one of my first pop-up shops!”
What can we expect from you in 2019?
JH: “You all can expect a lot more content and organized collections this year. I’m working with manufacturers now, so I’m moving away from just yarn and crochet products. I will still keep those but I want to expand my style for the brand! I’m really excited!”