Last Friday, still hyped about the Crossing Boundaries show that featured one of my all-time favorite Haitian artists just the day before, I dragged my old roommate Anna to another exciting cultural event in Soho. An N’ Pale, a cafe conversation series hosted by Haiti Cultural Exchange, invited Dayanne Danier, fashion designer of Bien Abiye, to talk about her fashion line and humanitarian work in Haiti.
Regine, founder of HCX and host of the An N’ Pale series, asked Dayanne some great questions that kept us all entertained. In the end, the event was similar to a great conversation between friends, where we all got to interact with the designer.
Raised in Boston, Dayanne was brought up by Haitian parents that instilled in her the importance of good appearance. Her father always made sure that she was “bien abiye” before she left home, and that is what inspired her line. It was not easy for Dayanne to persuade her parents of her career path. Being born in a family full of doctors and engineers, it took a lot of convincing for her parents to allow her to follow her dreams.
The designer was president of the National Honor Society in high school. Her uncle was a graduate of a Civil Engineering program from Harvard, and she had begun applying to different engineering programs herself but did not follow through. After she completed her studies, she began her fashion career working with large apparel companies, such as, Perry Ellis and Philip Van Huesen. These large companies taught her the nature of the fashion business. Her knowledge of the business combined with her artistic skills and values led her to start Bien Abiyé.
Bien Abiyé is for the sophisticated lady. The style is clean and classic. The pieces can be kept in your closet for decades without ever going out of style. Manufactured in the US with high quality fabrics, the clothes are not cheap.
Dayanne skipped the 2013 Spring/Summer to focus on her non-profit organization, Fleur De Vie. She has focused a large chunk of her time traveling to Haiti to work with children. She says that is where the help is needed the most. She shared some heart-felt moments of her time in Haiti, which of course made me tear up. I’m a big baby when it comes to these things.
Haitian model, Anya, modeled some of Dayanne’s pieces for us during the event. Isn’t she gorgeous!?