For fashion director and author Anetta Mahoney designing came naturally and as a necessity — repurposing the jean scraps of neighbourhood boys who cropped their long jeans to their knees — to make styles for herself and her younger brother Dwayne.
Mahoney's talent would blossom into a hobby at 17 years old when she began making bedsheets from “scraps and scrunchies”. Observing her talent, she was encouraged by friends to pursue further studies and to master her sewing skills. It was easier said than done! Economic constraints forced Mahoney to press pause on her passion for fashion and to pursue business studies instead, deemed a lot more practical since it did not cost her extra money.
Her next break from the fashion world would come with the addition of a new job title — mother. During her fashion hiatus, whilst giving her full attention to her children Bria and EJ, Mahoney authored the books Princess Bee, the activity book Princess Bee Colour Me (co-authored by Donald Whitelock), and From the Hunted to the Hunter.
It was not until 2009, however, that Mahoney was able to re-enter the world of fashion, having enrolled at Montego Bay Community College where she signed up for fashion classes. There, unlike many of her peers, she chose to participate in the school's fashion show as a designer, in her first, rather than second, year at the school. After earning a degree in Clothing and Fashion from the college, Mahoney then launched her 2012 Honey B Collection by Anetta Mahoney. She credits the name HoneyB to her love of, and the inspiration she draws from, bees. “I was always intrigued by the fact that such little creatures could leave such a powerful sting on you. When I create an outfit or style a client, I want the world to feel an impact as powerful as a bee sting,” she says. This translates in her clothing designs which she describes as “unique, bold, centre of attention and fierce!”
One of her greatest inspirations, however, is her daughter Bria. It was in her strength she found the heroic lead for Princess Bee, and in whose artistic ability she found one of the prints for her HoneyB swimsuit line. She amusedly recounts seeing her young daughter creating images on an iPad, and immediately being drawn to incorporate the patterns into her designs, thus creating the Bria Spiderweb Prints Bikini.
Mahoney credits her time abroad in England, in the countryside of Yorkshire, for her funky designs. She recalls the very dark environment of the often gloomy country and wanting something that would bring light and joy — an intention reflected in her colourful designs and prints.
Mahoney is now back full-throttle in the fashion game with the launch of her official online store www.anettamahoney.com, which focuses on “resort wear and styling unique to [her] individual customers”. While the Montego Bay-based designer's work can be found online and at the Round Hill Hotel & Villas she is looking to the future and of seeing her collection in the upscale boutiques of California, Miami and Atlanta. Her competitive advantage, she tells All Woman Fashion (AWF), is that her printed fabrics are self-made and manufactured with irie vibes in Jamaica in her sewing room for those who love the relaxed vibe of dancehall and beachwear cultures. Perfect tagline, we reckon!