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Teen’s clothing line explodes onto the scene

A model displays a custom made dress during the 21Ray’s fashion show held at Quality Education Academy on Thursday June 6. 21Ray’s is a fashion line designed by Rayon Johnson, a former student at QEA.

Teen’s clothing line explodes onto the scene
June 09
10:45 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson

BY TEVIN STINSON 

THE CHRONICLE

Many teenagers have dreams of one day becoming fashion designers, but very few actually see it happen. On the other hand, some teens are bigger doers than dreamers.  Like Rayonna Johnson, who turned that dream into reality before her high school graduation.

Johnson’s clothing line, 21Ray’s exploded on to the scene last Thursday evening during a fashion show held at Quality Education Academy (QEA), where Johnson has been a student since middle school.

From African print skirts and dresses for women and young girls to T-shirts for men and boys, the 21Ray’s collection is sure to have something that will catch your eye. While discussing her journey into the world of fashion, Johnson said as early as elementary school she would sketch drawings of designs.

“I just love fashion. That’s all I can say,” Johnson smiled during an interview with The Chronicle.

“I can’t really remember when I first started, but I do know fashion and art have always been passions of mine,” she said. “I always knew that this is what I wanted to do.”

Soon after receiving a sewing machine, Johnson began to transform her sketches into clothes to wear to school – she even made her own prom dress for junior prom last year. Member of the executive leadership team at QEA Tamara Turner said after seeing Johnson sport some of her original designs to school, she encouraged her to turn her hobby into a business.

“The pieces that she wore to school were very creative,” said Turner. “Our focus here at QEA is business entrepreneurship. After seeing how talented she was and the attention the pieces were getting from her classmates and even some teachers, I knew she could turn this hobby into something more.”

Although she had already made a name for herself in the halls of QEA, leading up to the fashion show Johnson admitted she still didn’t have confidence in herself, but with the support of Turner and her mother Rhonda Flemming, she started to believe in herself.

“I just kept telling her that everything would work out and to continue following her dreams,” said Flemming. “I knew she had the talent to make it happen; she just needed that extra push.”

For more than three months, Johnson sewed dresses, skirts, pants, t-shirts and many more items for her friends to wear during her debut fashion show. During the event held inside the gymnasium, nearly 50 people came to get a sneak peek at what 21Ray’s has to offer.

Aside from the unique designs and patterns, something else that makes Johnson’s line stand out is that many of the pieces can be worn multiple ways. When asked what fashion designers she is inspired by, Johnson said she doesn’t look at other fashion designers.

“I don’t really look at fashion designers, I just look at pieces that I like,” she continued. “I do know there aren’t many black fashion designers and I want to change that narrative.”

With high school in her rearview, this fall Johnson will take her talents to The Art Institute of Charlotte where she will major in fashion and design. Before wrapping up her interview with The Chronicle, Johnson had words of encouragement for those who may be having second thoughts about pursuing their dreams.

“Never give up,” she said. “Whatever you want to do, do it. Even when it seems like it’s impossible, keep trying and keep pushing.”

For more information on 21 Ray’s or to make a purchase, contact Rayonna Johnson by email at raydoublej@nullgmail.com. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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