I was so happy to be included in Shades of Oklahoma Magazine by the fashion editor, Kay Wallace.
Here's her article:
Designs of Mystery
BET’s Rip the Runway inspired us to take notice of Black designers. From clothing and costumes to accessories and jewelry, Blacks (or African Americans) have always been in the design game.
Need we forget Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, personal seamstress and dressmaker to First Lady Mary Lincoln; Ann Lowe, designer of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown; 1970’s Jewelry designer icon, Art Smith; and Zelda Wynn Valdes who designed the original iconic Playboy Bunny suit (just to name a few).
My research for this article took me on a journey where I found innumerable and phenomenal talented designers in all facets of the business (past and present). Women’s ready-to-wear designer, Tracey Reese; fashion nomad, Patrick Robinson; leather good designer twins Dexter and Byron Pert; jewelry designers Billie Hilliard, Vauje, Melanie McPherson and Areeayl Goodwin; fashion British designers Carly Cushnie and Martine Rose; b.Michael of b.Michael America, Stephen Burrows and the legendary Oswald Boateng.
I could go on and on but as I sit and think how proud I am of the representation in the industry, nationally and internationally; my curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask the question; Are there any current Oklahoma designers that also represents in this pool of fashion and jewelry couture?
Recently, I read a quote by an unknown author, ‘be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.’ That describes Amber Brown, owner of Mystery Maracuja. Her story is a story of ambition and desire, and although her business is young, her intricate detail in jewelry design exemplifies something of a mature nature. Her story in her words:
“Creativity has always been a part of my life. From sketch sessions at home with my siblings to trips to the art galleries of Oklahoma City, I’ve always gravitated toward artistic experiences. As a child I sketched and painted super heroes and fashionable ladies. Later, I entered the craft world through crochet and picked up (and put down) different craft techniques along the way. During this time, my father introduced me to Adobe Photoshop and I began learning how to create artwork on computers. Before I left Del City High School, I was deciding between applying to art school or pursuing art in college. Practicality won, and I choose the science degree and kept crafting as a hobby.
In 2005, I met a girl wearing a necklace that looked like a bunch of grapes. After that, I sought out someone to teach me how to make jewelry. An eccentric bead shop owner in Houston taught me how to make earrings and I was hooked. By 2007, I opened an online shop on Etsy called Amber Dawn Accessories to finance my love for beads. “Bead all you can and sell the rest,” is what we say. During this time, I became an avid fan of Project Runway. I could not get enough of the magical moments of turning fabric into wonderful creations, so I bought a sewing machine. I tried sewing in my high school home economics class, but the defeat of a sad looking quilt turned me all the way off. I was so inspired by the show that I was willing to try again. Then my long-time friend, the super craft diva, master of all crafts invited me to the Houston International Quilt show, where I fell in love with the textiles of Africa.
Fast forward to 2012, after many projects, classes, and experience and I went into business with a new name: Mystery Maracuja. A mystery is something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain. People often describe me as mysterious. It is just my personality. Maracuja is the Portuguese and German word for the fruit of the Passion flower, commonly called Passion Fruit. I first heard this word when I visited my family in Germany, and I just love the way it sounds. Under this name I create custom gifts and digital artwork. Since my creativity flows out into different mediums, I selected a name that allowed some flexibility. I’ve tried to incorporate my equally talented sisters: Athena designed the logo; Antoinette offers constructive criticism; and Antigone is my go to model. Although all of my sisters and my cousin Courtney have generously contributed pictures to my website and social media. Since we began Mystery Maracuja, I’ve done craft shows, conferences, charity events, fashion shows, taught lessons, and had a spot in a boutique!
It brings me joy to now be able to combine my sewing, embroidery, and jewelry making skills into cherished keepsakes bestowed with love. Currently, I’m continuing to channel my inspiration from color, art, nature, and music into learning new techniques and making new items. Ultimately, I simply enjoy the act of creating and the gratification of the finished creation.
So I continue to create!
Fashion and Beauty Editor
Owner My Second Closet