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Beauty in Imperfection

SCAD fashion grad finds freedom in letting go

Women's wear designer and recent SCAD graduate E’Naiyah S. Frazier discovered her love for denim when she tried on her first pair of Billie jeans while working at J. Crew. It’s not the easiest material to work with, but E’Naiyah was passionate and determined not only to elevate the utilitarian fabric, but also to focus on sustainability in her process.

Inspired by J. Crew’s support of the Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program, she chose to work with recycled and donated denim to create her thesis collection Imperfect 001.   

Some of her professors weren’t so sure about her choice of materials. E’Naiyah says, “I originally wanted to develop a sustainable collection using materials such as hemp, linen and organic cottons with traditional silhouettes, but my professor in that particular class thought it wasn’t exciting or pushing me enough creatively. A friend of mine told the professor that I had previously done a sustainable denim project after learning about Blue Jean Go Green. And after they saw that project, they encouraged me to pursue denim.” 

Renowned Danish designer and Associate Chair, School of Fashion at SCAD, Peter Jensen recognized E’Naiyah’s talent and encouraged her to continue with her chosen path. He says, "E'Naiyah was in the first class I ever taught at SCAD. She was fairly new to fashion, but she understood, as any good student does, what it means to love and have a passion for one's collection and work, how to bring it forward within the framework of her ideas. E'Naiyah created a strong, personal, and forward-thinking senior collection showing her depth as a designer. We are so proud of E'Naiyah's accomplishments, she will be a bright star in the fashion sky!"

E’Naiyah shares that Peter Jensen’s advice was to “let it go and be free”. It took a minute for that guidance to become clear, but when it did, it resonated deeply. “His creative advice pushed me beyond what I thought I knew. When I took his advice to let it go, I found the beauty in my work and creativity. When I took his advice to be free, I released myself from being my biggest critic of my work.” 

Peter’s words inspired E’Naiyah to embrace imperfections. She relates to the Japanese art of kinsugi, a technique used to repair broken ceramics with gold, and wabi-sabi, a philosophy of finding beauty in what is natural, flaws and all.   

Propelled by the innovation of conceptual designers like Guo Pei and Junya Wantanbe, E’Naiyah’s treatment of denim in her work is completely unique and nearly unrepeatable. Hand dyeing, distressing, draping, and sculpting as she creates makes each piece delightfully bespoke.

“All the dyeing and manipulation is done by me on my small patio. It’s all really trial and error. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” she admits. “But even if it doesn’t, I find a way to incorporate it.” 

A 2022 SCAD graduate, E’Naiyah has already racked up an impressive list of awards and accomplishments. She is a 2021 CFDA Fashion Future Graduate and Fashion Forward winner, a 2021 National Black Arts Festival winner and was recently featured in Vogue Italia for her thesis collection.

She creates with size inclusivity and sustainability as core to her practice and from that, she designs incredible, wearable works of art.  

E’Naiyah credits her grandmother Carolyn for her creative abilities and her mother Teshia, for allowing her to express her creative freedom in every aspect of life.

IG @e.shatia_

  • Designer E'Naiyah Frazier photo: Michele Sheetz Photography