Screening: Ashya’s “Men of Maize”
Camp David partnered with CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad Winners and members Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece of ASHYA to host a special screening of their first experimental short-documentary film, “Men of Maize.”
In their quest for uncovering Mayan spirituality and tradition, Cimone and Annece, two women enthralled by exploration and travel, filled us in on their new collection, how meditation keeps them at bay and the best advice they have ever received.
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YOU TWO SEEM TO BE RIDING THE SAME WAVE. HOW DID YOU CONNECT? WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND ASHYA?
Moya Annece: We studied together at the Fashion Institute of Technology almost 10 years ago. Our initial meeting was in class, we’d chosen each other for a class project and ever since then have remained friends, now business partners
Ashley Cimone: Our friendship is essentially the reason for ASHYA’s existence and the name is representative of that; ASHYA is a combination of our first names: Ashley and Moya.
WHAT INSPIRED "MEN OF MAIZE" AND VISITING GUATEMALA?
We have always been drawn to the history of Mayan civilization and interested in its culture; our previous collection (AW18) was produced in Central America, which lent itself to exploring the region and delving into the tales of the Mayan people.
The “Men of Maize” collection was inspired by Mayan folklore and the intersection of Mayan and Catholic rituals. The most impactful part of our trip was definitely meeting with the Shaman-Priest, Luis Ignacio of Chichicastenango and learning about this unique intersection and how the two worlds co-exist.
YOU WORKED WITH ANTHONY PRINCE, WHAT WAS THE CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?
Anthony Prince has been an integral collaborator since the launch of ASHYA and supported us routinely in helping tell the brand’s story through mostly film and sometimes photography. Our creative process is synergetic, organic, and democratic.
IN WHAT WAY DID YOU WEAVE VISUAL FRAGMENTS FROM GUATEMALA INTO YOUR NEW COLLECTION?
Central America, specifically Guatemala is known for its colorful and intricate textiles, however for “Men of Maize” we wanted to steer in a different direction and speak to the idea of creation within an agricultural society, and the birth of a people which can be reflected in the earthy colors and moody tones of the designs.
HOW DOES LIVING IN NYC INFLUENCE YOUR STYLE?
MA: Just over 15 years ago when I migrated from Jamaica to Brooklyn, New York brands like Baby Phat, Enyce, Apple Bottoms and Jordans were highly coveted in my community. I would say that was my initial touchpoint to fashion & style (through NY’s grit and streetwear culture). I’m still a lover of colors and interesting prints, however it has evolved tremendously into something more sophisticated, yet still fun.
AC: Developing my style was such an exciting and important part of my youth and an expression of my artistry. Although I wasn’t aware of contemporary design in my younger years, I’d find ways to be creative, whether it was cutting up hand-me-downs, painting on sneakers, or convincing my Mom to buy my first pair of heels. NYC has influenced me to settle into myself, refine my eye, yet remain true to my personal sense of style at all times.
HAVE BELT BAGS ALWAYS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE ACCESSORY?
MA: I’ve always been attracted to the overall accessories category, from jewelry to bags to shoes. Belt bags will always hold a special place, especially since our line launched with this accessory item, though we are now expanding into other travel-friendly accessories.
AC: Leather bags are the perfect exploration of applied arts for me. I’ve always been attracted to leather, metal work, and accessories design. We launched specifically with belt bags because we saw a void in the market and felt inclined to respond to this need at the time of conceptualizing the brand.
WHAT TOOLS ARE CRUCIAL TO YOUR ROUTINE?
MA: Most recently the guided meditation app, “Calm” for stress reduction.
AC: Same! Meditation is crucial to my stress management. And notebooks for organization.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?
MA: To love without attachment.
AC: Always make time for self care. You cannot give your all or your best if your cup is always empty.
FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING FROM CAMP DAVID?
Our favorite part of Camp David is the community of people here, we’re constantly meeting entrepreneurs, creatives, etc. which is inspiring and encouraging. And of course, the amenities– it’s a great place for us to build out prototypes with all the available tools and materials, the environment is very much conducive to our design process, especially because it is so well designed itself.
DESCRIBE YOUR NEW COLLECTION IN THREE WORDS–
MA: MEN. OF. MAIZE (haha!).
AC: Warm, Terrestrial, Fluid.
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Ashya offers an unconventional alternative to the traditional handbag while also speaking to the needs of customers in search of sophisticated travel accessories. The label exists to encourage exploration while providing a solution to those looking for a minimalistic and smart daily, local, and global commute.
You can find Ashley and Moya bustling around Camp David’s ground floor, sporting incredible belt bags and most likely Margiela boots.