When it comes to making history in the Carolinas, Ayoka Lucas has a starring role. As the visionary behind Charleston Fashion Week, Ayoka has created something so noteworthy, magazine editors and esteemed fashion leaders, including the creator of New York Fashion Week Fern Mallis, come from all over the country, just to experience the southeast’s premiere fashion event. Her work as the style director at large for two regional publications combined with her dedication to Charleston Fashion Week has created a scene, fashionably speaking, in the Southeast. So where does she go from here?
Where did you grow up? Have you always wanted to work in fashion?
I grew up in Charleston, SC. Was born in NYC. I originally wanted to be a supermodel (this was during their heyday). I did some modeling but the truth is I was not model height but I couldn’t imagine a world without fashion so I found another way into this industry. Inspired by unapproved watching of MTV and obsessively collecting fashion Mags. I had fashion stars in my eyes at a very young age!
Why the move to NYC? Do you love it so far?
I had a purpose in Charleston. My main reason for moving back and staying as long as I did was to raise my son. As a single parent I couldn’t have had this career without my mother’s generosity and endless help! I always dreamed of moving back to NYC ever since I was pre-teen. This was the goal but I chose to put it off for 19 years to raise my son. Best decision I ever made. However I still had lots of vision and dreams. So thanks to the encouragement of my mother who told me to stop complaining about the lack of a fashion world in Charleston and be a Pioneer, I did just that. I directed my energy toward being a part of cultivating my fashion dream in Charleston and an active contributor to the community. Now that my son is in college and I have been blessed to be apart of the incredible progressiveness of Charleston fashion culture, I’ve served my purpose. There is a new crop of visionaries now and I’m off to get back to my dream and a new project… ME!
How do you describe your personal style?
I’m very eclectic! Like Chaka Khan… I’m every woman! I would describe my style as glam rock with a touch of B-girl. I crave glamour but I also have a little punk rocker in me. Growing up in the era of the breakers and hip hop pioneers… I have a little of that aesthetic also. My Style Crushes are Erykah Badu, Blondie (Debbie Harry), Victoria Beckham (Ultra Glam), Alexa Chung (love good tomboy style), Solange (My favorite Knowles) and Leigh Lezark from the DJ crew The Misshapes. I dress my mood! Rule of thumb: On bad days dress up!
Who would you consider the greatest style icon of all time?
The greatest of all time may be yet to come. However I think Ms. Piggy should never be overlooked! She encompasses all of the great style icons! Yes a muppet! I seriously consider her as a part of style culture along with the usual suspects: Audrey Hepburn, Bianca Jagger, Diana Ross, Edie Sedgwick, Bridget Bardot, and Jackie Kennedy. Besides, have you seen who has been designing for her over the years? Now that’s iconic!
Who do you think will be the next greatest style icon?
You are so young but have had a tremendous career already. Creating Charleston Fashion Week is MAJOR so where do you go from here? How do you top that or do you even try?
Wow! Thank you! Of course you ALWAYS try! For me you top it by moving to the fashion capital of the world. NYC!
What are the three most important factors someone should have if they want a career in fashion?
Thorough knowledge about the industry, sense of style over fashion and a sense of humor.
The above interview is an excerpt from Ayoka’s interview in STYLE: The Winter Book 2014