Photography: Maya Fuhr
“I felt a nagging urgency to create a collection outside the parameters of a college curriculum,” says fashion designer Maya J. Goldberg about her decision to leave FIT and pursue her own brand, AYAMAYA. “As a fashion design student at FIT, I felt my creativity was being suppressed and [decided] to leave school in order to have freedom to explore inward before moving onward.”
By following her own intuition—a move that’s scary for all young designers—Goldberg says she was able to engage in her own “holistic process” in order to search for inspiration without any outside pressures. Experimentation is vital to her process, which served as the driving factor behind her latest project: a biblical collection laced with sexual commentary that’s focused on being as resourceful as possible with the materials used.
“I was initially influenced by Paolo Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom—a classic Italian film based on the writings of Marquis de Sade, a French philosopher whose name is at the root of the word, ‘Sadism,'” Goldberg says. “The film uses sexual deviance and exploitation in a way that breaks the confines of conventionalism and emulates the pornography of power.”
Pasolini’s film inspired Goldberg to closely examine the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah—a biblical story that follows the destruction of two cities at the hands of their “sinning” population. By focusing specifically on the idea of sexual deviance and how culture views general sexuality as a sin, the designer began creating clothes to reflect how our society is morally split and therefore makes us individually feel incomplete.
This is shown in the way AYAMAYA’s collection uses clothing to hide and expose skin—a collared piece shelters the neck from public viewing, while a cutout top exposes the model’s chest entirely. Sheer fabrics innately exude sexually, while the color palette and organic finishing speaks to Goldberg’s biblical references. Many of her pieces were created using materials found in hardware stores—harnesses made rom parachute cording and a jacket crafted from a textured bathmat.
“I design for walking contradictions,” Goldberg says. “A soul who craves a certain amount of exposure and simultaneously feels a need for disguise. “My clothes reflect my own personal explorations of vulnerability, intimacy, sexuality, power and lack there of. I incorporate some aspect of myself into each detail.”