Small steps and a big leap into Hartford Fashion Week



Tajah Ramsey took small steps in the world of fashion before taking the big leap of showing her artful fashion creations at Hartford Fashion Week on Saturday.


Ramsey, who will be showing her work as Taj Mirage, started her journey into fashion design as a member of the Fashion Design Club at Central Connecticut State University. From there, she began indulging in some of the local fashion shows and she tried her hand at modeling.


Ramsey’s road toward designing began to pick up speed when a friend bought her henna tattoo kit for her birthday. She started doing henna on her friends. But it wasn’t easy. One of her hands is weaker than the other, she said, so squeezing the tube with one hand and painting with the other became cumbersome.


One day, someone asked for a white henna tattoo. She learned it wasn’t white henna, however, but white paint that was used.


There was an epiphany.


Ramsey realized she could set the henna aside and just paint on people.


Then her creativity turned toward clothing. She started customizing bras, painting symbols for earth, air, water, and fire on the undergarments. “Nothing extravagant.”


She showed these bras at the Fashion Design Club’s annual fashion show. Then the next year, she started to get more and more ambitious.


Then Ramsey found herself one of the artists selected to create garments out of clean trash as part of Hartford’s annual Trashion Fashion show. She made a dress out of trash bags. The following year, she created an homage to Victoria’s Secret wings—also out of trash.


With garbage wings out of the way, Ramsey tried her hand at making wings out of something more beautiful artificial flowers.


“It’s so much fun,” said Ramsey.


Ramsey said her pen name- Taj Mirage—reflects her creative flow. She pictures something that doesn’t exist. Like a mirage. But then she gives it life and makes that mirage real.


Ramsey said she’s “so excited” to be part of Hartford Fashion Week as a designer this year.


When she first started filling out an application as a designer, she doubted whether she belonged. She didn’t design clothes, per se. She designs body art pieces, and she didn’t think she would fit. So, she walked away from the computer.


Later, however, Ramsey received an email from HFW organizer Katrina Orsini (who knew Ramsey from Trashion Fashion and from Ramsey’s modeling efforts at the first two HFWs) if she was going to finish her application.


So, Ramsey finished the application… and was accepted.


Now the pressure is on.


Ramsey will be featured in a presentation, where the models will stand in their garments as guests take an up-close look at her work. Up-close is where Ramsey thinks her pieces will shine. Guests will be able to see the little details that might be missed in the rush of the runway. “You have to take the time to really look,” she said of her pieces.


“I love the interaction,” said Ramsey that a presentation provides.


Taj Mirage will give her fashion presentation at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 21 at the Colt Armory East, 150 Huyshope Ave, Hartford.


For the complete Hartford Fashion Week schedule, go to www.Hartford.Fashion.

Here, model Becca Kearns wears the work of Taj Mirage. Photos by Mike Chaiken