Black Immigrant Daily News
Never in his wildest dreams did designer Shawn Layne think that his act of solace would take him on to a global stage.
Shawn is a crochet designer and founder of BNHO Crochet. He is a professional musician, a music teacher and an outstanding creative mind.
He started crocheting at 15 years with the objective to swoon a girl at school, but he was later fascinated with the intricacies and details of the handcraft.
“I didn’t go in really wanting to crochet, it was just a ploy. Her mother also crochet so then I had to learn for real because her mother would come in to check,” he shared with Loop Lifestyle.
“I learnt she was making the tablecloths and doilies and it was not particularly exciting. . . . I saw this girl making a beanie, a rasta hat, and I thought that cool because she was using yarn and a bigger hook. I thought that was more manly than the dollies and the table cloths.
I think that is where it really started,” Shawn continued.
Shawn’s love for crocheting fell by the wayside for several years until in 2017 when he was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
He later found peace or rather a sanctuary in crocheting and he started doing habitually like drinking water. Every day, whether in a coffee shop, or while taking a brief break, Shawn picks up his hook and yarn and gets weaving.
“I found myself having a lot of free time on my hands that I really needed to utilise for my mental stability and health and so I picked back up crocheting. Ever since then it has been with me. I crochet every day. It has been that happy place, that place where you can have your thoughts and not be debilitated. Crochet for me is that filler, that thing that keeps the demons and the dark thoughts at bay.”
“The more I made, the more I needed an audience to see the pieces, kind of as a validation. A beautiful piece of art without an audience is incomplete so it needs to be out there.”
As Shawn created more and more pieces, he started to give them away to friends, fellow artistes in the entertainment fraternity and colleagues. A buzz ignited as individuals posted the creations on social media. This led to the formation of BNHO Crochet.
“I recognised that crocheting is a business for other people and I needed to maintain that market integrity. So I can’t just give away pieces as much as I crochet every day and it is fun and dandy, I still need to respect the other persons that are doing it as a means of life and income for them and their families. I maintain market prices when I charge.”
Under his brand, Shawn not only produces ready-made crochet apparel but he offers written crochet patterns, pattern editing and testing.
“Some of my designs, I would actually write down using traditional crochet technology and I would sell those patterns in PDF form online, so this is where other crocheters out there can make one of my designs or other persons can wear my designs and me not make the actual physical product,” he explained.
Shawn’s hard work and dedication for the past five years has certainly paid off. He has been selected as the sole Caribbean and Barbadian representative at the inaugural Crochet Fashion Week (CFW) in Atlanta, George. CFW: Evolution of Stitch, which is slated for February 11 to 12, 2023, will feature 20 crochet designers from across the world.
As he prepares for his line of resort wear and streetwear to hit the catwalks, the news still has him awestruck.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet even though I have started designing and making the pieces for it….I am happy to be recognised. It is a big confidence boost to someone recognising your work and you being chosen,” Shawn told Loop.
He indicated that he will be proudly waving the Barbadian flag in the ATL next year.
We’re all rooting for Shawn on this new journey!