DANVILLE, Pa. — If you're a fan of the television show Project Runway, you might be familiar with Ayana Ife of Danville. Ife was the runner-up on the show's 16th season and shared a video to social media after the competition.
"I wasn't as solidified as I am now, but I was still growing, and I was willing to put myself out there, which really helped my career," Ife said.
Ife grew up in upstate New York, but her family moved to Danville during the pandemic. She started sewing when she was six years old.
"I was doing hand-stitching, sewing hats and things for teddy bears, and dresses for my Barbie dolls. From there, I learned how to sew on my mom's old-school treadle sewing machine," Ife said.
Ife now works out of Bucknell University's Small Business Development Center in Danville. She specializes in modest fashion, which is where women wear less skin-revealing clothing. Ife is Muslim and prefers modest fashion herself and says this is an underserved market.
"It could be faith, religion, health, protection from sunlight, age, size, sometimes even safety-related reasons where women want to cover their bodies a little bit more than average," Ife said.
Ife is currently working on her new clothing line Ayana Active, which is modest activewear.
"They're in need of clothing that is fashionable that helps them cover and represent their values, but still be able to participate in current trends," Ife said.
Ife hopes to launch her sportswear line at the end of this year or beginning of next year.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.