On The Rise With Dareyna Swann…The Clothing Designer & Author Talks Living Her Purpose, Style Tips, And Surviving The Fashion Industry


  • Company: Swarey Designs Inc.
  • Founder: Dareyna Swann
  • Niche: Fashion Industry / Clothing Design
  • Location: New York City
  • Connect with Dareyna: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Our next Nautie Girl, Dareyna Swann is the quintessential hustlapreneur! After spending over 10 years working within the fashion industry learning and honing her craft, Dareyna decided to step out on faith to make her dream of heading her own fashion empire a reality. While pursuing her passion as the founder and designer of Swarey Designs, Dareyna also managed to publish her first book, and to create the fly sneaker loving blog, KickPassion.blogspot.comJoin us as we get to know Dareyna, the inspiration behind her movement, and how she finally found the courage to pursue it all.  

Dareyna, please tell us about yourself and your brand in (4) sentences.

I’m a laid back fashionista from Queens, and the founder/designer of Swarey Designs. The name “Swarey” is derived from a combination of my last and first name. The “SWA” comes from Swann which is my last name, and the “REY” comes from the three middle letters of my first name, Dareyna. Swarey Designs is an urban chic sportswear brand for the customer that lives a fast paced lifestyle and needs comfortable, yet fashion forward items they can be dressed up or down in a hurry.

What career field were you in prior to branching out and how long did you work in other jobs before stepping out to start Swarey Designs?

I have been in the fashion field since high school. I attended The High School of Fashion Industries, and I interned for Baby Phat while in high school. I then went on to attend the Wood Tobe-Coburn School for college. I’ve worked in the industry for about 10 years off and on as an Assistant Designer / Associate designer. I’ve worked for brands like Nike Brand, Ecko Unltd , House of Dereon (Beyonce’s Line), Akademiks (girl’s licensed products), and a bunch of others. I’ve even worked on private freelance projects for a reality show personality on a popular reality show…(unfortunately, I can’t disclose who though). However, outside of the industry when there weren’t many fashion jobs available at my level, I worked as an assistant teacher and I’ve even worked for music marketing companies promoting unsigned music artists.

What was your “breaking point” when you knew that it was time for you to finally do your own thing?

Where should I start?..(Lol)..Well, while I was working in a school as an assistant teacher, I was also working on my brand part time. However, I felt in a way like I was giving up. Then I got offered the opportunity to create a jacket for rap artist Lil Kim, and it opened my eyes back up to the fact that I needed to get back on track with fashion. The feeling that I felt when Lil Kim wore my jacket on stage was unexplainable. It just reminded me of why I loved fashion so much, and it put me back in the zone.

Entertainer Lil Kim In A Custom Swarey Designs Jacket
From there, the school that I was working at was rumored to be closing down due to a lack of funding. When this occurred, I felt like it was a sign that fashion was where I needed to devote my energy full time. Every time that I tried to give fashion a break, it would always pull me back in. I was then offered a position as a design assistant at an outerwear company through a friend, and it was at this company that I finally reached my breaking point. It was a place filled with negative energy, miserable, and insecure people. I also experienced racism towards myself and a co-worker. I was eventually laid off within a year, and it was the happiest that I had felt in a long time. I was let go for no reason at all, and the person who let me go was upset because I wasn’t mad or angry about it…(Lol..isn’t that crazy?). I was laid off in May, so this all actually happened just a few months back. At that point, I told myself that would be the last time that I had to deal with power tripping folks. From there, I just hit the ground running. Since then, I’ve released my self-published book, “The Ugly Truth: Working In The Fashion Industry & Tips For Survival,” I’ve shown a collection for fashion week, and I was recently filmed for a fashion documentary. It’s just time for me to do my own thing. It has been a bit of a scary, yet exciting journey. Scary, in the sense that I’m wandering out into the unknown..finding my way. Yet, I know that God is leading my path.

What has been the best part about stepping out and running your own business?

I would have to say that the best part is seeing my ideas that I draw on paper come to life. I also love hearing people’s feedback on it all. Most importantly….freedom.

Everyone wants to wear the crown, but we know that it’s definitely not easy being the Queen! So, how do you manage to stay motivated when things get rough?

I love quotes. So, I find inspiration in quotes to keep me motivated. While, keeping myself motivated, I love to inspire others. So, I post my favorite quotes a lot on my social networks with hopes that they will inspire others as they have inspired me. I keep God close. I’m not a religious person, but I am very spiritual. I also try to keep positive energy and people around me. You also just have to remind yourself why your doing what your doing, and it keeps you going no matter how rough things get.

Sassy, Black Ink Crew, Sassy & Puma

          Sassy of VH1’s Black Ink Crew in Swarey Designs

What is the one thing that you think that an entrepreneur has to be armed with in order to succeed?

I would definitely say time management. Timing is everything! Everything is based around deadlines, the right moments, etc. There will be times when you feel as if you have a thousand things to do, but you just have to prioritize. Make a list for yourself putting priorities at the top, and then cross them off as you complete them so that you don’t go crazy.

If there was one thing that you could change about the fashion industry’s perception of women of color, what would it be?

Honestly, I’m not sure how I could change their perception of us as I feel that the industry is just very racist in some areas of it. I do feel that they have this perception that black women all have attitudes. I’ve experienced this on so many different levels. For example, the last place that I worked had an issue with me speaking up for myself. Actually, they felt that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all. Meanwhile, they felt that they could speak to me however they wanted to, because I was quiet and just did my work. However, I’m no pushover. So, if I was spoken to disrespectfully, I stood my ground professionally. I’ll never forget career day in high school. This woman spoke, and I forget her name to this day….but, she said to me and another student, “Don’t Disappear.” It wasn’t until I worked in the industry that I understood how much weight those few words she spoke carried. 

I wish that the industry would let in more designers and models of color on the larger scales. We’re just not represented enough. There are a ton of talented designers and models of color just waiting for their turn to change the face of fashion. However, the way the industry is you only seldom hear about a few of them.

Relationship Guru Tionna Smalls In Swarey Designs

Relationship Guru Tionna Smalls In Swarey Designs

Tionna Smalls in Swarey Designs_opt
Okay…Ms. Thang, if I could only afford to buy (3) key pieces this season, what should they be and why?

For the Fall season, I would suggest outer pieces. A blazer, a nice pair of jeans in a medium to dark wash, and a cute scarf. All three pieces are great options to have readily available in your closet because they can easily be dressed up or down to give your looks multiple style options.

What’s next on the horizon for Dareyna Swann?

I will be featured in a documentary called the makings of a dream along with a bunch of other emerging designers. It’s being produced and directed by Fashion Sizzle and Zashen Productions.

I also have a self-published book out entitled “The Ugly Truth: Working In The Fashion Industry And Tips For Survival,” where I’m sharing tips on how to start a clothing line with little to no money. The book is available on amazon.com in both paperback and kindle version.

As of now, I’m currently only design for women. However, I am looking into menswear and kids clothing in the near future. As for the rest, you will just have to stay tuned into Swarey Designs 🙂

Finish this sentence: ” Everything changed for me when…”

I was laid off from my job and I decided to pursue my passion full time! I’m still grinding, as I am not fully where I feel that I need to be. However, through hard work and dedication I know that I will be exactly where I need to be…hopefully, sooner than later.

Awww…we love her!! Dareyna is such a fierce chick. Having “grown up” in the fashion industry, I can honestly say that I’ve received quite the education and would’ve killed to have a person like Dareyna on the sidelines to guide me along. Aspiring fashionistas…Dareyna’s book is a must read, so be sure to reach out and show this fabulous Nautie Girl some love! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *