5 Minutes With Designer Laiana
Jun 11, 2021
Introduction & Interview by Caroline Skou
Shop the Rainbow Collection
As a NYC-based team, we love seeing the city come together in June to celebrate the best New York has to offer: diversity, hope & love! And after a year of celebrating apart, we can’t wait to be together this year to celebrate! In honor of Pride, we will be celebrating the LGBTQ+ community with the Limited Edition Rainbow Collection designed by our graphic designer, Laiana.
For this edition of the Class of Now series, I interviewed Laiana about her inspiration and design process while developing this collection!
Could you talk about your inspiration for The Rainbow Collection?
I consider myself to be a bibliophile, even if the stack of books that I have yet to read much outweighs the stack that I have read (upside-down face emoji). I've come to realize that this love comes from the love of stories. I always say that we are made up of the stories that make up our lives and the ones we read or watch. As a designer, one of the philosophies that guide my design work is the idea that design is the wrapping up of stories in visual ways. All that to say that my main inspiration for the Rainbow Collection was the stories of the LGTBQ+ community and the voices of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Stormé Delarverie, Josef Kohout, Josephine Baker, Virginia Woolf, and so many others.
Could you walk us through your design process?
Every time I sit down to create, I always start with a blank page in my sketchbook. This process is usually just a loose way to get something on paper. My pages get filled up first with anything I've heard during a briefing meeting so I don't forget specific requests. From there, I start sketching ideas and jotting down any other noteworthy things I may come across during research. For the Rainbow Collection, it was really important to me to understand all of the symbols associated with this movement, where they came from, and what they mean. Understanding the context is so important in really being mindful of how we use these historically charged symbols. After some research and sketching, I got to work on creating mockups and prepping pieces to share with the entire team for review. Feedback is one of the most important aspects of design. For this collection, my initial mockups included rainbows that came out of clouds. After a round of feedback, we decided to edit the image down to a more simplistic representation and so our Rainbow Collection was born!:)
What do you hope comes from sharing this collection with everyone?
I hope that this collection can serve as a vehicle through which constructive conversations can arise around the importance of diversity and inclusivity in our society. Like every KYLE CAVAN piece, The Rainbow Collection was designed to be worn long after June as a constant celebration of love, diversity, and PRIDE in ourselves. It is my hope that the rainbow necklace can serve as a reminder that the fight for social justice is an everyday, tireless task.
Resources for further education:
Instagram: @impact @pinkmantaray @aliforneycenter @sfqp @rhdmorrishome @translawcenter @emergency_release_fund @matthew.blaise
To Watch: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette I Am Divine I Am Not Your Negro The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson To Listen: PRIDE hosted by Levi Chambers on Spotify Being Seen on Apple Podcasts The Sound of Pride: Stonewall at 50
Thanks Laiana for taking the time to interview! And don't forget to shop the Rainbow Collection!