Latoya Grindley, Staff Reporter
From as early as she could make a decision for her career path, Alia Orane knew that whatever course she took, it would feature an artistic element.
After completing studies in art school studying Graphic Designing with a minor in textiles, Orane decided that sitting around a desk all day was just not her desire anymore. And so she ventured into what would have given her the flexibility she craved for while earning.
"When I thought about my future, textiles appealed to me more. I bought a lot of bags when I was in university and so I was like why not make some handbags? I wanted to create something Caribbean, giving persons different options when buying handbags."
In 2005, Orane started to design and create handbags under the name Alia Michele. Each piece and collection, she noted, is inspired by various happenings and encounters she has had.
"It is people really. Some are close to me and then there are just people who I may pass on the street. People who have impacted me and my surroundings inspire me."
Apart from the custom lining which is a staple inside all her creations, Orane said that one thing that is easily picked up in her lines, is that there are not trend based.
"I never follow trends, especially with colours. I am never shy with colours and don't ever follow colour trends. I aim to be different and go with bright and vibrant pieces."
Starting out with mostly creating clutches, Orane says her line has evolved into mostly everyday-wear bags, catering to the 'dare to be different' kind of woman.
"I cater to women who want to be the centre of attention and just stand out."
With a number of collections under her belt since she first started, Orane said that she has now added a new element to her career portfolio.
This, she said, came out of a desire to reinject some life to her creative flow.
"I had decided not to do bags anymore as the passion was fading, and so in August, I started to do personal and fashion styling. I have always loved fashion and have always been very quick with finding things for people."
Putting her bag line on pause was not necessarily the easiest thing for the designer, but in the end the break was well needed.
"It was difficult to take that leap as I was changing a plan I had made and started when I was younger. I was also thinking about my life and where I thought I should have been by now at my age and also what others would think of my decision. But I took a leap of faith and got over my fears."
Staying in the artistic sphere, Orane says both styling and creating bags result in the same sense of satisfaction.
Never losing her touch to design bags, the creative bug bit Orane in December when she was asked to present some pieces at a local show that month. With a positive reception and feedback, the designer has decided to present between one and two collections per year.
The first for 2013 is expected to be released in June.
"My June collection, which I haven't named as yet, will feature a lot of natural pieces which are found here in Jamaica."
As a local designer, the bubbly one said that the support of local pieces by locals has grown in comparison to previous years. The perception that people now have about locally made pieces has contributed to this change, according to her.
"People are starting to support local talent by buying authentic Jamaican things. There are some really good items that are being created by Jamaicans."
One of the drawbacks, however, for the designer is the unavailability of certain materials.
"A lot of times, materials that I want to use are not readily available in Jamaica and that becomes most difficult," she highlighted.
Cemented in the creative and artistic world, Orane is focused on making people look and feel good, whether through her specially created bags or by bringing life and personality to her clients' wardrobes.
Alia Orane can be contacted at 384-7579. You can also visit style.aliamichele.com and facebook.com/aliamichelestyle