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Local fashion designer heads to New York Fashion Week after being selected as 'one to watch'

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 18:35:59-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Three words to describe Monique Caston’s design style, ”Just very bold, very vibrant very colorful,” Caston.

Her inspiration derives from her culture.

My favorite is African designs and Ankara designs,” she said.

Caston is an accountant by day and mother of three. She learned to sew growing up and watching her grandmother create elaborate quilts. But her passion for design was ignited in 2016 after she made a tutu for her daughter.

“From there, someone else wanted a tutu and from there, someone else wanted one and that’s kind of where it started,” she said.

Soon, Caston was making clothing for herself and then for others.

In 2020, she made and donated masks with matching accessories and when times get tough Caston finds a creative way to push through.

“The dollar store can be your best friend during this time,” she said. “Especially the 'fabric section', which is curtains and pillowcases and sheets.”

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Caston held up a color block dress and admitted the black fabric, “is from a sheet!” she said, laughing.

She’s now on her way to New York Fashion Week after she applied for the “ones to watch” contest through Flying Solo, a group of designers that collaborate together. An e-mail that confirmed her spot in the prestigious event showed up two weeks ago.

“Out of the hundreds and hundreds of people they only choose 10,” she said. “So when I when I did get the letter it was a bit overwhelming at first.”

She will have the opportunity to show off eight pieces on stage and hopes she can network her way into even more opportunities.

“I’m grateful I never would’ve thought millions and trillions of years that I’d be here but I’m here,” Caston said.

New York Fashion Week is in September.

You can check out Caston's Facebook page here.