Fashion was on Aliya Pooser’s mind from a very young age. As a little girl, she made up her own version of paper dolls.
“I used to take magazines and I would cut them up and I would start drawing the outfits and put them on people and try to switch them out,” she said. The activity was a comfort to the little girl who struggled with dyslexia.
Now, she is a confident young woman on the verge of earning her degree in Fashion Design.
“I’m 23 and graduating,” she said. “I feel really accomplished. I got left back when I was in 2nd grade due to the learning disability. So 23 is a dream, because I struggled for a long time.”
DOING IT RIGHT
Pooser, who has lived in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City all her life, said it wasn’t the best place to be when she was young.
“To stay out of trouble, my mom made me very busy,” Pooser said. “I think that if I wasn’t a designer, I would be a dancer.”
Little Aliya took dance classes at the Harlem Dance School Academy and at The Ailey School. She also took private sewing classes every Saturday starting at age 7 from designer Sumie Tachibana.
“I got a lot of experience from her,” Pooser said, as well as a need for perfection. “My teacher, when I was in sewing class, it was do it right or don’t do it at all. Make sure the lines are clean, make sure the edges are clean.”
After Tachibana moved her business to California, Pooser visited to get help building her portfolio so she could apply to Moore.
AMBITION AND INSPIRATION
Pooser admires her mother, Taeisha Black, who earned separate licenses in hairstyling and makeup, and also became a licensed massage therapist.
“My mom owned a hair salon my whole life until recently, and she was doing a great job,” she said. “She’s multi-talented in all these things. I want to be able to be the person where I can do the hair on the shoot, make the clothes on the shoot and do the makeup.” After graduating from Moore, Pooser intends on getting a cosmetology license.
Pooser continues to stay busy, running her own online streetwear/sports luxe company she named Dirty Denim NYC, and doing makeup tutorials on her YouTube channel under her design name Aliya Monique. She sees good things happening in her future.
“I was an inner-city kid struggling with a learning disability,” she said. “It reminds you that with hard work, all things are possible.”