Girl Power: Designer Santia McKoy Is Empowering the Next Generation

Ocoee, Florida
Photography: Paul Darius & dLow Studio
Makeup Artist: Sasha Mercier
Editor-In-Chief: JB Livingston

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3 mins read

Every March, we celebrate the brave women who have gone before us, the women we are today, and look ahead to the women of tommorow. Prior to the establishment of Women’s History Month in 1981, female fashion designers were already blazing their own trails empowering women with style and poise. These fashion trailblazers used their creations to defy the norms of what a woman should be, allowing them to find their own path to self expression.

Santia McKoy stands out as a shining example of this through her artistry and inspiration. Her award-winning designs reflect a deep appreciation for life’s beauty, instilled in her during her humble upbringing in Haiti. For Santia, fashion is not just about making clothes; it’s about creating speaking to her clients’ souls and making them feel beautiful from the inside out.

Pink Attitude. Santia McKoy for Livingston Magazine

Santia developed a love for fashion from a young age. During her childhood in Haiti, she spent hours working in her family’s clothing store where she first learned how to sew. It was a passion that would ultimately shape her career, inspiring her to create unique styles and designs that tell her client’s stories. Her latest collection, Bella, is a tribute to her youngest daughter Isabella and her beautiful spirit.

Balancing motherhood with a career can be tough, but for Santia it’s the fire that fuels her work. Her three daughters, Aliya, Adrianna and Isabella, inspire her every day. “I am filled with a sense of strength and security when I think of my family. Without Adrian, my husband and business partner, and the unconditional love and support of my children, I would not be where I am today.”

Santia has reached many coveted career milestones with her daughters by her side. “I remember grabbing my daughters’ hands tight and doing our first-ever walkout during my fashion show. The cheers and applause were so loud! I was so happy to have them by my side.”

Like mother like daughter. Adrianna McKoy for Livingston Magazine

Santia does not only want to be a leader in business, but a role model to her girls. When girls can readily see women rising, on their terms, it spurs their ambitions and inspires their future. “I want to bring up daughters who are capable of doing the same thing, or better, for themselves.” Just like working in her parent’s clothing store inspired Santia’s career, Santia has inspired her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Adrianna has inherited her mother’s love for fashion and dreams of becoming a designer in her own right. She often sketches her own designs for Santia to make. “She is a mini star in the making. She is a ball of energy known for her infectious smile and contagious laugh.” Adrianna celebrates her seventh birthday on March 4th, a date she shares with her grandfather.

Santia pours her heart and soul into each piece, creating clothing that speaks to her clients and makes them feel beautiful from the inside out. Santia’s goal is her clothes to embody the beauty that lies within each of us, reminding us to let our inner beauty shine brightly on the outside. “I do it for the culture, I do it for every single shape, age and size. We celebrate diversity of everybody, because everyone is equal.”

Santia McKoy for Livingston Magazine

Santia’s unique perspective on fashion draws inspiration from around the world including her Haitian and African inspired collection. She reinvents trends from the past with a modern and contemporary feel adding her unique spin to breath new life into classic styles from the seventies, eighties, and the nineties. Every aspect of Santia’s designer bridal dresses, gowns, and men’s suits are custom-made and carefully crafted. From the bold colors to the fabrics and the threads, her dedication and attention to detail are evident in every stitch and fold.

The foundation of the family-run business and the core to their success is that they continue to strive to be the best in everything they do. Working with her family, Santia points to this pivotal time of new growth for S&M Custom Design. Looking back at her remarkable career, Santia is proud of how far she’s come and how much her work continues to speak for itself. Her aspirations for the future include opening physical locations throughout the United States, Haiti and Jamaica.

By refusing to follow conventional standards, female designers like Santia are shaking up the industry. Designing with their instincts and emotions, and always holding human values above all else. This represents a paradigm change in the fashion industry. Her designs inspire us to embrace our uniqueness and let our inner beauty shine. She reminds us that fashion is not just about clothes but about creating art that speaks to our souls and makes us feel beautiful from the inside out. She is showing her daughters the importance of girl power, raising them to be confident women and leading by example that there is nothing girls can’t accomplish.

Santia, Adrian, Isabella, Ailya, Adrianna and dog Nova. The McKoy Family for Livingston Magazine.

Livingston Magazine is an international, independently published magazine exploring society through the eyes o people from around the world. Through diverse voices, we feature inspirational people and their stories. "We connect with an audience interested in more than just the trend, but the deeper meaning of life." - JB Livingston, Founder/Editor-In-Chief.
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2 Comments

  1. Often times we feel like we aren’t doing enough or that our efforts in life goes unnoticed but then God always has a way of showing up – reminding us that we are always enough. March is a month that women of all race and backgrounds are recognized. Being recognized alongside my beautiful daughter on her birthday by Livingston Magazine is such a honor. Breaking barriers within the fashion industry has not been easy but with hard work and dedication, while putting my clients vision first has been so rewarding. To anyone feeling like giving up on their dreams, please don’t! Keep pushing – your time is coming. Continue working hard, sticking to your vision, and watch what God will do for you 🙏🏾 Thank you once again Livingston Magazine!

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