Meet Ayanna James Kimani who counts Insecure, Issa Rae & Tiffany Hadish as her clients and also a whole cache of Balmain and Jacquemus.
Encapsulating a scene, mood, and character as complex, relatable and hilarious as Issa Rae in HBO’s Insecure in one sweatshirt seems damn near impossible for, well, all of us. Not for costume designer Ayanna James Kimani though—she seemingly oozes the skill of finding the perfect outfit from her pores. She’ll credit her curiosity to find and desire to champion unknown (on a mass scale that is) designers to her knack for dressing the insanely popular show’s cast in a scene-complimenting wardrobe. And to the red carpet where she styles names like Tiffany Haddish and Issa Rae. It’s that same fun sartorial sense she’s transfixed within her own personal wardrobe.
At Kimani’s Los Angeles home—one she shares with her newly wed husband (you HAVE to see their two weddings!)—she pours a glass of Hennessy and coke into glasses gifted by Rae. Things only get better from there! As we were sifting through her racks of Balmain and Jacquemus, we often got sidetracked talking about the best Jamaican food in L.A and our favorite things about Toronto. See, Kimani had a long stint in Toronto by way of Jamaica, and lived in New York and Florida before finally settling on the West Coast—to work as a stylist and a wardrobe PA, before meeting Deniese Davis, Rae’s co-producer and landing the gig at Insecure. Those influences are ever present in her personal style.