Student Spotlight: Daynah Grant, Fashion Design, BFA ’22/’23
Daynah Grant is all about standing out and standing for something, fusing her passions for Cosplay, alternative fashion, and social causes through her design projects at WSU. She talks about how she got started, what inspires her, and looking forward to her future career as a professional designer.
Things flowed together
It’s often a role model that inspires young people to pursue creative careers. It’s no wonder that for Daynah, that role model was a superhero who sees the future. “I used to love to watch the show ‘That’s So Raven’ when I was a kid. I thought it was so cool that she was a fashion designer,” says Daynah. After she graduated from high school in 2015, Daynah began to develop her sewing talents by enrolling in an industrial sewing program at Detroit Sew in Pontiac. Participation in that program led to a job, and eventually to her enrolling in fashion design at WSU. Her path to fashion design set off from there. “I never thought that it would come to where I would actually be in college for Fashion Design! But once I learned how to sew, I realized that I actually really love it and it’s my best skill. It all flowed together.”
Daynah has been inspired by Cosplay since she discovered anime. Her excellent sewing skills opened up a world of opportunity for her to express herself and dive into the cosplay community. "Ever since I started watching anime I wanted to cosplay,” Daynah explains. “But I could never do it because costumes are expensive and I didn’t even know where to start. Once I started learning to sew, I realized that I could sew my costumes! I started around 2016 and it just snowballed from there.” Through cosplay, she sees the opportunity for young people to learn a variety of design skills. “When you're a cosplayer you literally become talented in so many different aspects of design - you become a foamsmither, a hair dresser, a makeup artist, and of course a sewer.” She also thinks it’s a great way to feel empowered, go against the grain, and connect with new people. “I like Cosplay because it’s about standing out,” she explains. “It challenges people's views of what's normal and what's not. And it is great when people recognize and connect with a character that I am playing. I feel like I have powers when I wear these costumes!”
Pushing the envelope
Daynah thinks it is important to resist trends. “I understand the need to make money and that fashion is a business, but today what you see is homogeneous and too planned. I feel like there's more that we could do - more envelopes we can push.”
Lately, due to Covid, space constraints and event cancellations are limiting Daynah’s ability to work at the scale and intensity that she usually does. “I usually do spectacular things when it comes to my costume design, and I love doing big projects that no one else is going to do. I haven’t been able to do that this year and I also have less ways to show my work. I miss the events and the chance to walk around and show off my spectacular costumes.”
When it comes to her role as a professional designer, Daynah wants to focus on the genre of alternative fashion and its trend-resisting styles including Goth, Pastel Goth, Lolita, Punk, and vintage. “I love that genre as a whole,” she explains, “because I love when people are able to decide that trends they are not going to follow. You can tell what it is and what it isn’t and it isn’t about following trends.” She also wants to help bring newness and individuality to people through fashion. “I believe that we need to be able to refresh ourselves and be able to break the norm and break the molds that keep us constricted to do the same thing over and over again. I want to be that type of person and that type of designer.”
This semester, Daynah participated in the American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign, sponsored but the WSU Office of VP of Research. She took advantage of the opportunity to donate her skills to a cause by creating an entirely new garment for a silent auction. Shown here is her creative contribution, a jumpsuit design with a a highly tailored, form-fitting torso and adorned with red and blue yarn to represent veins and arteries.
To see more of Daynah’s work find her as Nanasetooo on Instagram and Facebook.