"I have ancestors that sewed, and I want them to live through me," says 26-year-old designer Bianca Cooper.
For Bianca Cooper, clothes are about much more than just fashion. They are a way to connect to her roots. "I have ancestors that sewed," she told Creative Loafing Atlanta, "and I want them to live through me."
The 26-year-old, who is both Native American and African, was motivated to sew because she wanted to make her own graduation dress when she earned her communications degree from Kennesaw State University in 2013.
What started off as a personal pursuit, using sewing tips from a family friend and seamstress, quickly turned into a budding fashion business, BIYUNKA.
BIYUNKA launched at the top of 2016 featuring jumpsuits, jerseys, and culottes in sturdy fabrics, oversized silhouettes, and minimalist cuts—the kind of clothes you'd find on a Williamsburg artist, except they're coming out of Atlanta.
Bianca, who is a Berlin-born army brat, moved to Atlanta after graduation to jump start her career, although the goal is for BIYUNKA to travel much further. She wants to create clothes that can be passed down through generations to build her ancestral culture, which is Native American and African.
She also has plans to pass on her knowledge by introducing underprivileged youth to sewing and design as a creative outlet.
BIYUNKA's next collection will be released this summer, but you can check out current pieces at biyunka.bigcartel.com.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.