COLUMBIA — New York fashion designer Dayanne Danier is in Columbia to meet with Stephens College fashion students.
Danier knew she wanted to be a fashion designer at age nine. Now, she has a ready-to-wear collection for women: Bien Abyé, which means "well-dressed."
"It's all about women who are aware of their lifestyle and want to portray a positive image," Danier said.
Danier is of Haitian decent, but she grew up near Boston and is a first-generation American. As a designer, Danier attributes her use of color to her Haitian background.
"The one thing I strongly believe in is be as creative as you can possibly be," Danier said. "My creative side was like, 'I want something that no one could ever tell me a formula to it, so I wanted to do fashion.'"
Danier emphasized the importance of clothing and the statement a wardrobe makes, even for her.
"Bien Abyé by Dayanne Danier — I am the brand," she said. "Whenever I step outside my house, I need to make sure that I look correct; I'm a walking billboard."
With fashion icons in mind such as Brigitte Nielsen and Princess Diana, and favorite designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Diane Von Furstenberg, Danier created the Bien Abyé collection with great attention to detail, vibrant color and clean tailoring.
The staple piece that Danier said every woman must have is the "magic blazer." She said this will help women as we "segue back into a more dressy society."
"The blazer is that one thing that makes you look appropriate at all times," Danier said.
Aside from her professionalism in fashion design, Danier is a philanthropist. She traveled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to help with the relief effort, and she taught sewing to Haitian educators, so they could teach sewing to their students.
"It's not just about fashion. I'm very big on social responsibility," Danier said. "Too often, people don't make time for those important things like giving back to the community and connection with the younger generation."
She made her own connection Friday in Fleming Studio at Stephens College, as she met with a group of fashion students. Jackie Hyman, a senior fashion communication major, was among them.
"It's always really great to be able to speak with someone who has been in the industry for a long time, getting some advice about interviews and what she really looks for in a potential intern," Hyman said.
Danier's visit will continue Saturday with individual critiques of students' career sportswear designs.