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Nov 14, 2010

Art Institute Designer Feature - Masai Payan

Hailing from El Paso, Texas Masai Payan takes a unique approach with his designs. His fascination with anime and architecture has resulted in a design theory based on the notion that identity is not fixed but composed of many layers.

How did you get started as a designer?

The love began in high school when I became involved in costume design - everything made sense and soon after the passion began for fashion design. I’ve never looked back since.

Tell us about your style and where you draw your influence from?

My design style derives from women who are comfortable with themselves and try new things.

What has being a designer taught you?

Being a designer has taught me that the sky is the limit. You are the creator, and it is all up to you to make it work.

What is on your inspiration board?

The one picture that always makes it there is Mrs. Cate Blanchett. That woman is my ultimate muse.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

The collection is about integrating stereotypical masculine and feminine design details together and psychologically analyzing why the binary oppositions exist and how they can exist together. It is a reflection on how society has separated identity (masculine and feminine) and not taken the opportunity to see that there are many layers hidden underneath each individual person.

Can you tell me a bit about the fabrics you used?

The fabrics used were dupioni silk, organza, chiffon, faux leather, and satin.

Who are your style icons?

Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, and Nicole Kidman.

Where are some of your favorite places to shop?

H&M, Urban Outfitters, and GOODWILL!

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory that you think every girl or guy should have in their closet?

A girl should always have a pair of black high pumps.

What do you think the next fashion trend will be?

The next fashion trend is definitely another hippie movement – loose layered clothing, vintage fabrics, and high heels.

How do you feel art, fashion, and music influence each other?

They are the perfect harmonic trio. You can’t have one without the other.

Where can people purchase your designs?

You can purchase them by special order at

Check out Masai’s You Tube feature

Interview by Nikki Neil, Photos courtesy of Art Institute


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