by MIKE CHAIKEN
A touch of South Africa has touched down in the Farmington Valley, offering a line of original styles from veteran fashion designer Brenda Quin.
Quin had already made her name in South Africa before arriving in the states, where she has opened Diva USA, which is located at 166 Albany Turnpike, Collinsville.
Back in South Africa, Quin spent 27 years as a fashion designer, where she was known as the “Queen of Color.” This was an acknowledgement of her use of vibrant fabric hues and bold patterns.
Quin said her “journey in fashion has been an exciting and interesting one; (I have) showcased (my) designs in Malta at the President’s Verdala Summer Palace residence and twice at African Fashion Week London.”
Additionally, she said, she “showcased at South Africa MTN Fashion Week, which was (my) first big show, where (I) received a standing ovation for (my) collection.”
Quin has received accolades such as “Best Woman’s Wear Collection” in 2016 and 2018 at Durban Fashion Fair. Quin said that is the biggest fashion event in Durban. From there, she went on to exhibit her collection at SA Fashion Week in Gauteng.
Other acknowledgments of her design expertise in the states include a commission to design 21 pink outfits for the Ndlovu Youth Choir’s performances on “America’s Got Talent” competition. The choir finished in the top 10. She also has dressed many Miss South Africa contestants and has dressed Miss World contestants.
Diva USA, her new venture in the United States, is a clothing boutique and gift shop. The clothing for women is all her own work, and she offers selections for “casual to smart” occasions. All the clothing is made in South Africa and shipped to the US.
Quin also emphasized her efforts to embrace physical diversity.
“(I am) passionate about dressing woman of all shapes and sizes,” said Quin. “(I believe) we are all beautiful unique individual and (I love) to empower woman through dress, bringing out their best attributes . By doing that it helps every woman to walk with confidence, (I believe) sometimes we all just need a little help and guidance, nothing makes (me) happier than being able to see a client transform and walk out the store happy.”
Shoppers also will find “a wonderful selection of handmade ceramics, which are beautifully curated,” said Quin. “With each piece bought, you are definitely purchasing a piece of art, which is totally useable in your everyday life.”
Quin also noted her charitable endeavors. She said the store is “a big supporter of Woza Moya an income generation project of The Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust, which assists over 350 crafters impacted by HIV/AIDS helping each person earn a sustainable income. There is a wonderful collection of handmade beaded jewelry on offer from these very talented crafters.”
This collection from Brenda Quin celebrates Esther Mahlangu, which Quin said is one of South Africa’s most famous artists.
“Aged 83 and considered a national treasure, she has devoted her life to sharing her cultural heritage with the world through her vibrant, geometric and symmetrical abstract paintings and murals in the Ndebele tradition. Among South Africa’s most famous living artists, she has exhibited in some of the world’s most respected museums and counts celebrities Usher, Swizz Beatz, John Legend and Oprah Winfrey as collectors. She was the first person to transfer the time-honored Ndebele style of painting from the wall to canvas, effectively promoting and preserving the art form. Thanks to sales of her artworks ranging from $3,000 to $30,000 and mural commissions, she spends much of her time working on community projects in Mabhokovillage in Mpumalanga province teaching boys and girls painting and beadwork – techniques that were passed down to her from her mother and grandmother – so they can teach their children one day, having set up her own art school in the backyard of her home.”