Holistic Fashion Therapy Program Empowers and Styles Women of Color, “Adorning Them From the Inside Out” | The Covering LLC Business SpotlightLeave a Comment
The Covering LLC, established in January 2018 by Ameela Boyd, was created to empower and style women of color who are still dealing with remnants of trauma due to domestic violence. Their holistic fashion therapy program will allow healing, strengthening, and skill-building. Most importantly, it will focus on adorning women from the inside out by impacting their spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being.
Ameela Boyd was inspired to start the Healing by Dezigns program because of her own lived experience. She was a domestic violence victim and homeless mother with two kids and no family or friends to turn to for support. Through her struggles, she realized how important narratives of strength, resilience, hope and encouragement could be to women in the same situation. So, she shared her story in the hopes of empowering women to “find their own voice.” Then, while completing her bachelor’s degree in fashion design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2017, she decided to combine her expertise and her personal testimony to create a program that could “adorn women from the inside out.” It took Ameela over three years to fine tune, research and seek funding for the program, to be able to offer the service to those who are eligible for free.
“Because of my experience, I wanted to help other women who went through what I did…to not only survive but to overcome.”
– Ameela Boyd, quoted from a video featured on her Facebook page
Ameela’s holistic fashion therapy program addresses women’s spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. Not only does the program bring together women who have experienced domestic violence to learn from and support each other, but it also encourages creative expression through art, fashion and design and nurtures positive self-image. Here is how it works:
- First, Boyd recruits participants through a variety of social service agencies and by word of mouth. Her hope is that her service can bring additional value to women’s lives, perhaps after they have already benefited from other services, but are still in need of mental and spiritual support.
- Then, potential participants are interviewed to learn more about their stories and see if the program is a good fit for them.
- Next, the women are taken on a journey through art, fashion, and design, garnering new strategies and techniques to heal while learning to create a masterpiece. Art pieces that reflect who they were and are, and where they aspire to be. These pieces inform the creation of a custom garment, designed and crafted by the women with the guidance of Ameela.
- The garment is created and fitted, and women in the program are gifted with a head-to-toe makeover.
- The program concludes with an art and fashion show in order to showcase the participants’ work.
- Throughout the process, and with the participant’s permission, the women’s stories are documented and shared with The Covering’s networks to empower and encourage other women to share their stories.
Although Healing by Dezigns cannot “fix” everything for these women, it can serve as a starting point along a journey of growth and rebuilding, or as a continuation of support after other services have been exhausted. Boyd recalls what it is like to not be able to afford therapy and stresses the importance of having a network of support when recovering from a situation of domestic violence. That is why after the program ends, Ameela stays connected with these women, checks in with them regularly, and has an online group where participants can continue to find support and community in each other, and encourage one another to keep pushing forward.
An extremely accomplished woman of faith, Ameela also produced a documentary in 2019, entitled, “Surviving Him.” She received an Associate of Science degree in Social Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Design, and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership. She is currently working toward her Doctorate degree in Instructional Management & Leadership at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, where her research is surrounding her holistic fashion therapy program.