Aanya Singh, setting trends as a self-made fashion editor

Aanya Singh sets trends as self-made editor

Junior studio art student finds her creative outlet in the Syracuse fashion scene
Published: January 22, 2020

Junior studio art major, now the director of FADS and founder of her own publication, Aanya Singh is making strides to grow as an artist and designer through trial and error.

On a snowy Monday in Syracuse –and only the 4th snow day in the history of the university– Aanya Singh took advantage of the free time. In just four days’ time, Singh’s club, the Fashion and Design Society, or FADS, would be hosting their end of the semester fashion show. Singh was a model, designer and host of the event. In the stressful days leading up to it, she was constantly reminding herself of why she started the club in the first place.

Singh is a junior at Syracuse University studying studio art with a fashion and beauty communications concentration and an entrepreneurship minor. Her traditional art centers around collage, textile creation and multimedia art, but she always had a passion for fashion and was eager to find an outlet once at school.

Since being on campus, Singh has helped start a new university club and her own independent magazine.

When Singh was a freshman, there were no fashion specific organizations outside of some student magazines. But she wanted to be more hands on and create designs herself. Singh heard about a senior named Wendy Chan who was attempting to revive an old student organization called FADS, and quickly jumped in to help recruit members and find a faculty advisor.

Together, Singh and Chan found Jeffery Mayer, a professor of fashion and fashion history at Syracuse University, to be their advisor, and FADS was officially up and running. Singh served as the vice president until Chan graduated in the spring of 2018. Singh has been president of the organization ever since.

In addition to FADS, Singh started an independent publication named “Icing Collective” with her friend Sophia Berg. “Icing Collective” is a completely digital publication that Singh created as a way to document her own work as an artist, as well as an outlet for friends of hers to share their own passions.

“I am always open to people contributing,” said Singh, “But I don’t want ‘Icing’ to become a campus magazine, I want it to be like a diary for me and my friends to track our progress as artists.”

Singh intended for FADS and Icing Collective to be open spaces for anyone to contribute. She actively markets FADS as a place for anyone with a love of fashion, regardless of majors or prior experience. Singh has created a slew of committees and positions to show people there are many sides of the fashion industry. Whether students are accounting majors or english majors, there is always a way they can get involved in the organization and apply it to their passions.

“We aim to work with people who are interested in all the same things that we are,” said Singh. “They don’t have to be studio art majors, or fashion majors or photo majors.”

Singh is committed to inclusivity as well. She stresses the importance of size inclusion as well as representation of people of color. As a woman of Indian decent, she is all too familiar with the white washing of fashion media and never seeing girls that look like her in magazines. As the director of FADS and editor of Icing Collective she makes it a point to feature people from all backgrounds.

“FADS is a great space,” said Dasha Bychkova, the director of graphics for FADS. “Aanya sees beauty in everyone and builds so much confidence for people who may have never even seen their own worth.”

In light of the racially motivated incidents of hate at Syracuse University over the previous semester, Singh was worried about the FADS end of semester fashion show, and if it was trivial during such tense times. But Singh decided that what people needed was a celebration of diversity and creativity.

“I really did consider cancelling the show,” said Singh, “but I felt like our show featured such a diverse group of models and designers that this was exactly the thing people needed right now, to see how beautiful diversity can really be.”

The Gallery fashion show sold out the Sky Barn on South Campus, with every seat filled and photographers lining the walls. It was the second show that had sold out since Singh became the director.

The show featured art students’ work hanging on the wall, serving as the backdrop for the art-inspired designs. Singh designed six pieces for the runway, and it was the first time she presented her own capsule collection.

“I’ve had these ideas in my head for so long,” said Singh. “It is insane to see them on real people and to feel like the fashion designer I dreamed of.”

Singh recounted the feeling of showing her first ever dress, made from safety pins, in the first FADS shows, and even shocked herself at the progress she has made. Her work as the director of FADS and fonder of “Icing Collective” has helped her find internships and even collaborate with professional photographers for the digital publication.

Singh hopes that FADS will inspire other Syracuse students for years to come. But “Icing Collective,” she said, is the project that will continue to grow with her and keep pushing her to out-do herself creatively.

“It’s like ‘Icing’ is my baby, FADS is my legacy at Syracuse but ‘Icing’ is becoming so much more than an extra thing for my resume,” said Singh. “Every time I publish my newest one I am just so freaking proud that I challenge myself to do this.”