NOW FUNDING: Send hennaflower to Africa Fashion Week NY!

27 03 2012

The always lovely Miss Robin Shumays – New York-based fashion designer, Middle Eastern dancer, and brand new mommy – recently kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to relaunch her gorgeous fashion line hennaflower and take it to Africa Fashion Week NY this coming July!

Robin puts passion into everything she does, and this chance to bring her line to life in a new way is such an important one. hennaflower is an original couture party dress line with a fun, flirty, ethnic edge that stems from her love of Indian, Middle Eastern, and African culture and textiles. Robin’s first pieces were a cross between Bollywood and Old Hollywood, and she is now dreaming up the line’s return with a new collection that marries Africa and French can-can dancers! We really want to see how it will turn out – and you can help!

Her campaign is a relatively quick one, so please check it out by CLICKING HERE – your contributions will go towards the entrance fee for the fashion show, fabric and notions to finish the collection, new photos, a new website and promotional materials in preparation for the show. There are some really fantastic rewards like hennaflower headbands and scarflettes and opportunities for exposure on the hennaflower website and lookbook. And if you can’t contribute, PLEASE share share share the link! In crowdfunding as in most of life’s efforts – every little bit helps!

We asked Robin a few questions about herself, what this opportunity means to her, and for recommendations on some of her favorite things – check it out!

1. Describe yourself in three words: GO!
Giggly, goofy, craftabulous

2. What is unique about hennaflower?
hennaflower is unique in the way it seamlessly (no pun) blends together ethnic sensibilities and textiles with a modern, urban, girly girl style.

3. What do you hope to achieve with this relaunch of the line?
Well, I had a pretty exciting upward trajectory my first year and then I took an extensive break to focus on being a mommy. Now it’s just really time for me to get back to work. I spent all of 2011 thinking about designing and sewing; I mean pretty much everyday, while nursing, while taking her out for walks, while changing her diaper, all the time! I had all of these ideas and I couldn’t wait to get them out. Relaunching is almost like giving birth again in a way. Mostly importantly though, is that everything I’m doing now has a new focus. It’s all for my daughter, Mehrunnisa. I want to become successful for her and make her proud.

Robin dancing with Arab music & dance ensemble, Zikrayat

Robin with daughter Mehrunnisa

4. Why is making it to Africa Fashion Week so important to you?
Oh, its super important to me. First, it’s a huge show, it will be my first of such size and because hennaflower has ethnic flavor, it will be my chance to market what I do directly to buyers who are looking for something with that edge. Second, it is such a unique opportunity for designers of color to showcase their work all together in one place, so I’m looking forward to meeting them and networking with some of the amazing talent in my community. Third, being a new mommy is super rewarding, but getting out of the house most days is a major accomplishment, hahaha! Presenting at a show like this will prove to myself that I can be a super mommy and do anything in I set my mind to!

5. What or who are your biggest influences?
My husband Sami. He gives me so much support and encouragement and he truly believes in my talent. He’s also my Tim Gunn. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve asked his advice and he’s said “that’s great, but make it like this. Or that sucks, try this instead” and he’s been totally correct! My other influences fashion wise are Manish Arora, Betsey Johnson, and of course my sewing teacher, designer Sumie Tachibana. Sumie is truly one of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for her. Another great influence is Bollywood. I’ve been a Bollywood junkie since 2002.

BONUS! Recommend 1 thing you love that we should check out for each of these categories:

a) MUSIC! Ok, shameless plug. My husband and I co-run an Arabic music and dance ensemble called Zikrayat. We are just about to start a bi-weekly gig at Katra Lounge starting on April 10. If anyone would love to hear some great live Arabic music and see some awesome bellydancers, come out to the show. You might catch me dancing at a future gig.

b) DANCE! Wow, this is really hard for me because I just made one shameless plug, but since our group is both a music and dance ensemble, I’m going to have to make another, hehehe… One of my favorite dancers in the world of bellydance is Mariyah. She’s worked with Zikrayat since 2008. She’s always phenomenal, and always wonderful to work with. Here’s a clip! Ok, I know I was only supposed to name one, but since it was a plug, I feel compelled to name another more neutral recommendation. One of my favorite dancers of classical Indian dance is Sonali Skandan. She is doing a performance in April, she is amazing. Check it out!

c) FILM! I’m really into 1930’s musicals. First, a lot of the dialog in some of those films was kinda dirty (I mean, not dirty by today’s standards, but definitely dirty for what you’d expect in the 1930’s). A really cool film I saw from that era was “Fashions of 1934.” It features dance numbers by the great Busby Berkeley (Sami, my husband, always jokes that Busby must have been doing acid to have come up with those crazy dance formations), and Bette Davis, who plays a young fashion designer.

d) PLACES TO GO IN NYC! Dotted around Brooklyn and Queens are these stores called “Save A Thon.” As a designer who lives kinda far out in Queens, this is a great resource for me to get fabric (super cheap!) and other sewing notions without having to go into Manhattan. They also sell sewing machines and have beginner sewing classes. You wont find high-quality silks there, but they have just about everything else!

Stay in touch with Robin – like hennaflower and Zikrayat on Facebook and spread her campaign around!


– audrey leopard

* all photos courtesy of robin shumays



3 responses

28 03 2012

Robin is a dedicated person in all she does! She is bright and always smiles and that comes across in her work & art! I wish her the best of luck.

Angela, designer

30 03 2012

Robin is an incredible talent waiting to be tapped and marketed!

18 07 2012
Robin Shumays

Hi All, here is the video of the show!

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