Today we’re featuring Barbadian fashion design company Ashlar Designs as we continue to help you get Styled for Crop Over. Ashlar specialises in the creation of clothing and a wide range of accessories.
We had a chat with owner and lead designer Sharlene Maynard who is pictured below in the Natasha necklace from the Sparkles line. She conceptualised and founded the business in 2001.
- What inspired you to start the company?
I was exposed to dressmaking, sewing and crocheting from a young age and believe that fashion has always been in my blood. My grandmother was a seamstress by trade and my mother would make all my school uniforms, sleepwear and any other items of clothing I needed.
My first serious attempt at designing and sewing happened by chance during my early twenties. In the days leading up to an important social event, I envisioned the perfect outfit but could not find what I wanted in any of the local stores. It was only after many disappointing trips to town that I decided to make the outfit myself. Many hours and numerous needle pricks later, I had created my first dress which in my eyes was the perfect masterpiece.
I soon realised that I would also need accessories to compliment my look. Looking through some photos online I found some ideas for creating my own jewellery and set about making my first pair of earrings and matching bracelet. The positive feedback and encouragement I received from friends and family inspired me to pursue my love for fashion and eventually led me along the inevitable path of starting my own company. A few years later, Ashlar Designs was born.
- Tell me a bit more about Sharlene.
As owner and founder of Ashlar Designs, I am the face and heartbeat of the company. I am a 31 year old native of Barbados, with formal training in Management, Architecture, Interior Decorating and Construction. My experience and background in these areas helped me to develop a unique approach to fashion design and mould Ashlar Designs into the company it is today.
- Tell me about the products you offer.
Currently we offer women’s jewellery, custom clothing, swimwear and accessories (handbags, belts, beach wraps). All of our pieces are customizable.
- Which items are the most popular?
From the Bright Lights Line, the Starburst Earrings and Circles Necklaces are the favourites.
These earrings come in several sizes – from small for the more conservative to extra-large for those of you who aren’t afraid to let your jewellery do the talking for you!
They also come in many colours inclusive of the entire gamut of neon colours (yellow, green, orange and pink) and your more traditional colours such as white, black, purple, grey, sky blue and olive.
The Circles necklace is our most popular necklace, available for $45 and in the same colours as the Starburst earrings, although neon pink seems to be a favourite.
- Tell me about the Bright Lights Line which is especially for Crop Over.
The Bright Lights Line is a collection of unique necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from neon ribbons, fabric and thread. By combining the traditional method of crochet with the use of vibrant neon colours, we have put a modern and trendy twist on an old classic to create the beautiful and eye catching ‘Bright Lights’ Line. This line is also very affordable with prices ranging from BDS$10.00 to BDS$65.00.
- What kind of woman do you cater to?
Ashlar is not merely a brand; it represents a way of life and is the outward expression of a design philosophy inspired by uniqueness, confidence, sophistication and style. I create for the person who wants to stand out and demand attention, without being crude, too risqué or distasteful. Customers can be assured of getting a one of a kind piece handcrafted piece that will never be duplicated. This is the hallmark of my design philosophy.
The quintessential Ashlar client is fashion-conscious, progressive and refuses to be constrained by fashion trends or fads. Ashlar caters to the up and coming business person who has a flare for classic yet modern style. The distinctive mixture of simplicity, clean lines and elegance with a hint of fun and youthfulness are what set Ashlar apart. The modern yet timelessness of the pieces I create transcend time periods, ages and trends.
- How is your personal style manifested in the pieces you create?
My personal fashion sense is a blend of simplicity, timeless elegance and a hint of subtle sexiness. I strongly believe in creating clean, stylish and unique clothing accentuated by bold, striking accessories. I embrace the use of both conventional and unusual colours and patterns and tend to create pieces that capture the vibrancy of colours. In this way you can get so much out of your clothing.
- What would you say are some current jewellery trends?
Current jewellery trends include of course, neon jewellery. This trend has been around for a while now and it continues to be popular. Natural stones are gorgeous and incredibly popular for summer. Feathers, chains and vintage pieces are also on trend right now. Vintage/Antique styled jewellery is making a huge comeback – such as lace and pearls. The Boho/Hippie style is also big for summer and this encompasses the above mentioned materials such as wood, stones and feathers. This summer is all about making a statement.
9) Any advice for women on how to use accessories to amp up their outfits?
Statement pieces are a strong part of my fashion philosophy and I believe in letting the pieces speak for themselves. Every woman should have at least three extravagant statement clothing pieces in their wardrobe along with a mixture of minimalistic and intricately-designed accessories. Clothing should be designed in such a way that they can be accessorised easily to change the look. Accessories are where I go all out. I don’t believe in holding back on the accessories. Jewellery should be fun, flirty, unique and memorable.
I strongly believe that people should wear clothes and accessories that complement their bodies, accentuate their sense of style and allow them to feel confident. Too many people make the mistake of mindlessly following trends and indulging in fads that don’t flatter.
- Where can we find your products?
My products can be found on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/AshlarDesigns , Instagram page – @AshlarDesigns and also on our website – www.ashlardesigns.com You can also call us direct at 253-4656 or email us to place an order at firstname.lastname@example.org
This summer Ashlar is working with the Soca Chippers Foreday Morning Band. The models are pictured below wearing earrings from the Bright Lights Line.