DIVA in Dawn’s DNA
There is no mistaking her passion for fashion. Top stylist at major department store Macy’s, Dawn Blenman-Haitn, is in a class of her own.
The old scholar of the “University of Waterford” – Combermere School – now lives in The Big Apple with her husband, who she referred to as “Mr H” and would give no further information, 23-year-old son Sulayman and 13-year-old daughter Shiann.
And though this diva is family-orientented and can throw down a good ole Bajan meal for others to irresistibly lick fingers, she does just the same with her outfits, causing heads to turn.
She believes a love for fashion runs deep in her blood and it just might be found within her DNA.
And it all started with her grandmother Edith Blenman, who she described as a “top seamstress” from Chelsea Road, Garrison, St Michael.
Dawn said that at eight she spent lots of time with granny and the diva-to-be, started picking up the ends of her grandmother’s material and created her own cuffs, pockets and sleeves under Edith’s loving direction.
“At nine years old I started to make my school uniform for Bay Primary and then at Combermere I made all my school uniforms. I also made an outfit for a deputy principal, Mrs Pile, who is deceased now, and she got lot’s of compliments for it. She never allowed me to forget,” Dawn smiled.
And her fashion sense will not be forgotten either. After all, the skirt she wore recently to morning assembly for Combermere Week landed her this very interview with Easy magazine as it was a talking point.
The lover of art said that in her opinion fashion, drama and all types of creative expression are one and she enjoyed her secondary days deeply involved in all the above.
“That is my love. I love to dance so I used to participate in any shows dealing with expression. I was always involved in it and I was the go to person because I always made all of the costumes at the school or outside of the school,” Blenman-Haitn recalled.
Readily admitting that she wouldn’t trade her love for all things fashion for the world, Dawn said that at one point she was studying to become a dentist. However much she studied, she knew it wasn’t her calling.
“I wanted to be a dentist too and my grandmother saw that I had that passion for fashion so she kept encouraging me to do what I love and she told me, ‘you shouldn’t have to work for anyone because I’m giving you a skill – you don’t have to work for anyone,’ and she firmly believed that,” the fashionista added.
Though being tops in her job as one with a coveted post she still has a pinnacle that she hopes to reach.
“I want to be a director of styling, kinda like training people to be the best they can be. One of my store owners said that I’m contagious,” she said, laughing.
She also has plans in signing up for Project Runway 2018 – the American reality Lifetime Network series.
“When my bosses visited my store last two weeks they were, like, ‘Dawn, you should do project Runway cause you are good! We would even let you take the leave of absence to do it,’” she said, adding that her daughter believes her mother would win.
And Dawn said from all observations that Shiann is following in her footsteps.
“My daughter is a diva junior – she has all of her stuff. She’s organised and her bag has to match shoes. I’m going to get her a sewing machine when I get back because she is very creative. She’ll put things together and create stuff for her [school items],” the proud mum told Easy.
But as the proverbial saying goes, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and the lover of Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys believes in acting on impulse when an idea is pulled from her stream of creative thoughts.
“Before the thought goes I jump up [ even if I’m asleep ] and I work out particulars.”
And that same intent and purpose is what caused the 47-year-old to grab the attention of R&B singing sensation – Beyoncé Knowles.
“I was walking and I always walk with attitude ’cause I’m extra, and she was going into one of the rooms. She looked across and was like, who’s that?’ She then sent someone to find out who I am and I said I work at Macy’s and so on. The guy replied – ‘you know that’s Queen B’”and I said, yeah I’m Queen D ’cause my name is Dawn,” she said with a chuckle.
Beyoncé in turn threw her attention towards the stylist and offered a friendly gesture despite Dawn’s rearrangement of the the star’s popular moniker.
Undoubtedly that Dawn is royalty in her own right – the Queen of Style, if you please – and she puts in the effort daily to live up to her royal duties.
So much so that prior to each work day she selects her full regalia and acessories to boot.
After all, this island girl in love with the city world believes that presentation is important and she preaches the importance of having hair and nails “on point”.
The graduate of New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology encourages those with a zeal and zest for design to explore all available options to fill their needs even if it requires leaving the country.
“I couldn’t have done it if I had stayed here so I tell them straight off the back of my head they have to leave. Until we get it together here where we are on point, they will have to venture out,” the Michelle Obama admirer insisted.
So, what’s next for this diva? Well, she’s looking to have her own designer television show both here and in New York.
And from the looks of it – Dawn will be serving up class and sheer style. After all, it’s in her blood.