Aisa Tjon

Aisa Tjon

Aisa TjonMake beautiful garments from one thread. Aisa Tjon can do that like no other. She started small crocheting hats, scarves and bags for herself and girlfriends, but now she even crochets entire dresses and is a startup entrepreneur, AisasCreationz. The fifty-year-old designer still has big plans for the future. “My dream is to give shows in America, Paris and of course Suriname.”

 

“I learned crocheting from the nuns at school when I was young,” says Aisa Tjon from Paramaribo. “Back then I was always changing clothes by adjusting them and decorating them with borders.” Yet little Aisa had no real ambition to become a designer. “I always wanted to be a flight attendant so I could see a lot of the world and meet different people.” She never became a flight attendant. When Aisa came to the Netherlands in 1975, she obtained her diploma in administration and started working as an administrative assistant at a school. She then became a nurse for the elderly and even worked as a model. In the end, she started doing something again with her love for fashion that she had had in her from an early age.

In 2004 Aisa crocheted her first lochoulder. “I had my hair locked and wanted hats for that. I took a close look at a lockhoulder once and after two tries it worked and I started to crochet them more often.” Once Aisa got the hang of that, she started crocheting more and more things. “I crocheted bags and scarves and even received orders.” In fact, she got so many orders that a friend had to help her crochet to keep track of everything. That's how Aisa started Rasta Designs. “Together with my friend Sherida, we rented a stall at the fair in Beverwaard in Rotterdam. Two women came to us there and asked if we could also crochet dresses. Sherida and I looked at each other and at the same time said 'Yes, we can do that'. It was quite a challenge, because we had never done anything like it before.” When the first dress was successful, Aisa started crocheting several dresses. Short, long, natural or in the colors of the Surinamese flag, for example, Aisa went all out and changed the name Rasta Designs into AisasCreationz. “I now do all the crocheting myself and my mother makes jewelry from fimo clay that match the garments I make.” But Aisa doesn't just stick to crocheting the clothes, she also gives workshops and organizes fashion shows where she can show her clothes. She has models with all kinds of different postures do this. She also makes her own fabrics and is crazy on African motifs and symbols “I deliberately chose models with different sizes, because I like everyone, regardless of height, size and color.”
Crochet wedding dresses
Because Aisa sees something beautiful in everyone, she also finds it a shame that some people are ashamed of something that belongs to them. “I have already asked several people why they are ashamed of their frizzy hair and there is always a whole story behind it. Some are not accepted and still others are laughed at. They also said that they couldn't do much with it, while you can do a lot with frizzy hair.” Aisa's favorite movie fits very well with her message to be happy with yourself and to be ashamed of nothing. “I think Thick Madame with Mo-nique is a very nice film, because it shows that being fat can also be very beautiful and that if you are satisfied with yourself, you will be accepted and can even make it your job. A very educational film!” Aisa has had her natural curls for twenty years now. “When I was eleven years old, my mother straightened my hair because my hair was so thick that it was difficult for her to comb. After six years she stopped because my hair was falling out really bad. Then I straightened it myself from my twenties to my thirties. I did this for so long because I was not aware of how beautiful my frizzy hair actually is and that it can be done differently.” After her thirtieth birthday Aisa has kept her frizzy hair natural again, she twisted it or put breads in it. Now she has her hair in locks. “I've had my locks for ten years now and I prefer to wear them in a wrap. Occasionally in the summer I wear my hair loose or have it braided into a model by my daughter.”

In any case, Aisa does not yet have plans to retire early. “I still want so much. In any case, I want to continue crocheting, give workshops and organize fashion shows. I hope that my clothes can become more famous and my dream is to give shows in America, Paris and Suriname. Africa is also very attractive to me.” Her dream of becoming famous in Africa may soon come true. “I've already received offers to show some of my clothes there,” she says. The crochet clothing is especially loved by the South American community, but does not exclude any race. “My clothes are not color-bound. It can be worn by both white and black men and women.” Yes, because Aisa also crochets garments for men, such as cardigans and spencers. The clothing of AisasCreationz is mainly worn at various events, in nightlife and during weddings. Her sources of inspiration for making these clothes are the Simons twin sisters from America. “I saw how beautiful and diverse crocheted clothing could be with them and I also copied a few of their works. They give workshops on YouTube that you can easily follow, so that you can and may imitate their clothes.” Her life motto? “Show who I am, don't be afraid to fail and treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I live my life destined to be an old woman with no regrets...”

Pat Hogendorp