Akilam Studio’s Asa Malika Barishman is notable on the Chicago fashion landscape because she creates some of the most deliciously innovative compositions in wearable art. The concept of designer as artist is at the core of all of Akilam Studio’s creations. As a graduate of Columbia College, Asa majored in Art and Design and embraced the function shared by many designers throughout history, as the creators of apparel and accessories that reflect transformations in culture, thinking and behavior during their time.
Her commitment to this premise can be seen in Akilam Studio’s wholehearted dedication to upcycled fashion. Upcycled fashion is the process of converting used materials or textiles into products of better quality, producing unique creations and contributing to a healthy relationship with the environment. “All items are either upcycled or adhere to the Akilam Studio low waste policy”.
Asa’s creations are ‘one of a kind and handmade’. She designs cashmere sweaters with turn of the century buttons, merino wool and cashmere cardigans, lace shirts and dresses, upcycled cashmere fingerless gloves, and adorable ‘funny pants’. The jewelry available include amethyst and fresh water pearl necklaces; sterling silver blue Peruvian opal, London topaz and labradorite hoop earrings; also at hand are hotly desired leather accessories and earrings made from rough cut precious and semiprecious stones, or Swarovski crystal, with new and upcycled leather, finished with 925 sterling silver or 14k gold fill.
The reality is that fashion, as an art, is an important socio-cultural phenomenon which individualizes the female form. Our daily choice of dress subjects us both to be interpreted and to interpret others. That said, Asa approaches her art with everywoman in mind. “The majority of my clients are in their 30s but I have seen my designs on girls as young as 16 and women well into their 60s. My mission is to make clothes that are available for all ages and body types and the clothes themselves are effortless. I feel strongly about creating clothes that look beautiful on a plus-size client as well, because unfortunately not enough designers cater to the plus size woman.” Akilam Studio is also engaged in making creations for the very young with a line of sustainable children’s accessories called ‘little b family’.
Take some time and indulge yourself with the art of fashion. Akilam Studio’s 2013 Collection can be seen in Chicago at TFM’s Spring Fashion Week Event next month.