Designer - Yoga Apparel Brand
Thoraya is a graphic/clothing designer from San Diego, CA. She's the founder of Arima Yoga Wear, a yoga lifestyle apparel brand.
What's your story?
I think there are so many different ways to connect with people. Of course, there are the more common ways like asking each other questions, finding something in common, or finding connections through mutual friends - basically anything that consists of verbal communication or the aid of someone else. But imagine trying to make a connection with someone without being able to speak, and not having anyone to help you. It wouldn’t be impossible. You’d just have to get a little creative.
When I was 9 years old I started my first day of 4th grade. I didn’t speak English and I didn’t know anyone. It was definitely a frustrating time, but not as frustrating as you’d think. Considering my limitations, on the 2nd day of school I quickly found the best way to connect with someone: to make them smile about something that they found worth sharing.
I had just showed the kid next to me the trick where you pretend to take your thumb off and his reaction will stick with me forever. His mouth dropped, then he smiled. There were multiple hand gestures to do it again, followed by him screaming at his friends to come look. This went on for a couple of months. If I wasn't sharing something cool, I was trying to think of something cool to share.
If I could pinpoint one moment in my life where I started creating, it would be then. I didn’t know it then, but looking back now I think I found my true passion in life in those short few months: creating and sharing.
What's your creative process?
Well, it definitely starts with some sort of inspiration, followed by hours of obsession to make it come to life. If someone were to tell me that I had to set aside one hour a day for an entire week to bring a certain idea of mine to life, I would consider it a form of torture. If I am truly inspired, every hour of my day will be spent working towards it until it is finished. No breaks, just create.
What makes your work unique?
I really do think that what makes my work unique is exactly what makes everyone else’s work unique: the fact that I take a certain piece of inspiration from one source and connect it to the many other pieces from other sources to make something uniquely mine. It is very unlikely that all the pieces to my puzzle are exactly the same as someone else’s.
Everything I create is so greatly based on the reaction of my audience. After a couple of years of testing out different production techniques, I have found a process that brings audience inspired creations to market very quickly.
For example, if I woke up this morning and found that 60% of my audience was buzzing about a new tan crop top with a mandala design, I would spend the entire day sketching up a design, choosing different length crop tops and shades of tan fabrics. And most likely, I would have it up for sale within a few days. On the other hand, a big name brand would not be able to bring something so specifically inspired by an audience to market that quickly.
What advice do you have for other aspiring graphic designers?
To find their way of connecting with people while keeping one thing in mind: that it should be fun to share for both you and the person you are sharing it with. This means finding a balance between what you love to make and what your audience would love to see.
Where can we find your work?
Hey, do you know someone who loves yoga?
Support Thoraya and show your yoga-loving friend you care about them by sharing this interview:
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