safety pins: for the quirky pretty girl

July 6, 2010
One of the summer looks that seems to have everyone all excited is the glammed out kente rockabilly design. The best designs on a everyday wear level that I found has been from designer, Maya Amina Lake. Her line is called Boxing Kitten. Not only does she use her prints for the every day look, but she even has celebs like Alicia Keys, the Knowles sisters, Estelle, Jack Davey, Goapele and Sa-Ra wearing her looks. It was my pleasure to rap with Maya in an interview about her line, her vision for it, and her journey bringing it to life.

Safety Pins: For the quirky pretty girl
Words Iyana Gregory

(Designer, Maya, with Estelle, wearing Boxing Kitten)

Where does the name “Boxing Kitten” come from?
The name came from a very vivid dream I had back in 2005, a friend of mine encouraged me to hold onto the name and as time passed I realized that it was the perfect combination of feminine and masculine, hard and soft, sweet and edgy. It stuck and It truly embodies what the Boxing Kitten woman is about.

(Maya with her models, wearing Boxing Kitten)

How did you get your start?

I started out designing custom garments for friends and family. After doing that for a couple of months I did some work for Sa-Ra creative partners for their video “Feel the Bass”. After that project, I became determined to make Boxing Kitten a clothing line and not just a custom design business. It has become a quirky, cheeky, cohesive collection, and I am extremely proud.

How did you learn about fashion design and veritable wax hollandais prints?

I’m self taught and I have been around textiles my entire life because my mother is a designer as well.

(Jack from J*Davey in Boxing Kitten shorts)

I learned from your website the your lined is driven by the political and cultural climate of the civil rights movement, how did go about researching this time period to draw from?
I graduated with BA in African American studies from Wesleyan University, as a result I have definitely done years of extensive research.

What music/musicians inspire your pieces?
All Rockabilly, Love Wanda Jackson, and many of the artists that perform at your festivals are for sure in my top list of inspiration through music.

(Solange in Boxing Kitten dress)

What is your favorite project your clothes have been a part of?
Hmmmm, that’s a tough one! I would have to say all the projects that Boxing Kitten has been able to be apart of have been totally inspiring in every way, I love to see peoples different interpretation of the brand.

What are your goals now for the future of your business?
At some point I would love for Boxing Kitten to be a household name, and to continue to really empower those that wear the pieces.

What advise do you want to give to upcoming designers and entrepreneur that want to work outside the norm?
Go with your gut! Trends fade so stay true to who you are and what your aesthetic is.