I remember the first time I met her at the Fashion Week San Diego internship last year. Having worked at countless events together, we were able to still stay in touch even after the internship ended.
Now, I find myself sitting across from her once again, this time in a little corner at Chula Vista’s The Nest on Third sipping on our drinks, mine a Mocha Frapp and hers a Mexican Hot Chocolate. Dressed in a green plaid button up, cropped skinny jeans, and a pair of adorable DVF strappy heels, it felt nice to be able to spend some time with a good friend as well as a fellow creative again.
With that being said, get to know the maker behind the dress.
Tell me a little more about yourself.
I’m Chyna Barron, and I’m currently getting my degree in Fashion Fibers and Materials at Cal State LA. I’m interested in women’s clothing, predominately in couture because I like to handcraft everything. The more I find myself deeper in the fashion world, the more I love the intricate details.
What’s your personal style?
I try to not follow what everyone’s wearing. If I do, it has to be different. I don’t want to be wearing something to eventually see someone else wearing something just like it.
I like old glam as well, like the kind found in old westerns. My family is also very classic, so I like that, too, but there are times where I go way left.
Any style icons?
Not really. Probably Rihanna, though, because she’s completely herself and doesn’t compromise with anyone.
How would you describe a Chyna Barron garment?
Right now, I like to create garments that are whimsical, fun, and exciting. I feel like, as women, we all have different hats and personalities, and I don’t know, when I get dressed, that’s an adventure in itself. I want the people who wear my designs to feel like they’re having fun while wearing something that’s a little different from the norm.
What currently inspires you?
I’d like to reference Asian Art, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. I also like anything whimsical, unique, and bright colors.
Are you making a collection yet?
No, not really. Right now I am making a collection, but it’s more like me trying to perfect the craft. I’m really meticulous, so I want to make sure I got all the basics down first before putting one out there.
I know that summer is just around the corner, so instead of creating a collection, I’ve been creating garments that you can wear throughout the summertime.
Ultimately, as I gather more resources and become more comfortable, I’ll create a collection and everything will go forward from there.
Are there any designers you look up to?
Yes! I love Elle Saab. I recently saw her latest resort collection, and I love how similar our aesthetics are. She is very fancy and delicate while not being boring. I also like DVF a lot, too.
I also like Moschino’s latest collection where everything looks like wearable art, but Elle Saab and DVF are my top two.
When did you first know you wanted to be a designer?
Well, a designer is defined as someone who designs art for a purpose. I don’t know why I’m remembering this now, but I first drew a portrait of my granddad when I was four. In a sense, I feel like I’ve been pursuing art my entire life. I’m lucky to have my whole family supporting me.
I’ve dabbled in different mediums like tattooing and painting, but I noticed that I’ve always been drawn to the human body. After interning at Fashion Week San Diego, everything came together.
I feel like I’ve been pursuing it forever, but it’s only making sense now.
When making the dress I wore to the Spring Showcase, can you tell me your thinking process?
Obviously you were my inspiration. Based on our relationship since the internship, I noticed your different styles, so I tried to create something you’d be comfortable in while keeping it you. With this dress, I knew that you like vintage, classic clothing, and I like lace, so I wanted to figure out how I could combine all three. I initially drew a lot of sketches before showing them to you.
When we were going over it, I kept thinking, “what if she doesn’t like it?” But it turned out so well.
It was a good process since you’re my first client. I found out that it can take a little bit longer than expected since it wouldn’t look exactly like the sketches. Like for example, I added the lining and the collar. What’s funny is that I didn’t follow a pattern for the collar, so that turned out to be interesting.
Also, Coachella was going on around that time, so I wanted to create a dress that was still on trend but different.
Were there any challenges?
Oh yeah. The collar. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. I don’t get conventional materials since it’s what I’m attracted to, so it makes it complicated. I also wanted it to look clean and perfect as possible, so I tend to put more pressure on myself.
Another would be adjusting the dress because taking it apart was more tedious than making it.
How long did it take?
I guess…if I worked on it nonstop, I’d say 5 days. But since I had school, it took a little longer.
I feel like taking time management classes would help me become better, but overall I think I’m doing good.
What were the materials you used?
Lots of lace and a holographic-y polyester for the lining.
If you could give some words of advice to aspiring designers, what would it be?
I would say…stay true to your aesthetic. Be open to advice and constructive criticism.
Work, work, work. Practice, practice, practice.
Take it seriously. I feel like if you really work at your craft, you’ll have more respect from everyone than those who don’t. I guess that’s why I love couture pieces because having done it myself, I know how hard it is to create a beautiful garment.
Also, don’t be discouraged. There’s a lot of dirt in the fashion industry and lot of people can steal from you. But the thing is, they’re just making a copy- you should take pride in being the original. I used to be scared of posting up my designs, but doing that only held me back.
Save up your money because materials can be expensive. I started by going to thrift stores and making my way up as I go.
Last but not least is to have fun with it.
Find Chyna on the web: Instagram