Designer Spins Sorrow Into Fashion

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Move over, Calvin and Ralph: Wyvonna's here.

The women of Payson have a new fashion alternative -- the handmade, unique fashions designed by Payson resident Wyvonna Barnette.

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"My fashions are for women who don't mind being noticed," said Wyvonna, holding up just some of her bold designs now on display at De-Ja-Vu Beauty Salon.

Buy one of Wyvonna's creations and there is certainly no danger of running into someone wearing the same outfit you bought at Wal-Mart. Although not all of Wyvonna's fashions are as bold, many of them are brightly-colored garments adorned with beaded fringe.

"My designs are for women who don't mind being noticed and aren't afraid to make a statement," Wyvonna said.

It was nearly 20 years ago, during a time of turmoil and personal tragedy in her life that Wyvonna picked up a needle and thread and began creating.

"My only son died in a car accident on his way home from visiting me in Payson," she said. "He has been an inspiration for many of my designs."

Many of Wyvonna's clothing lines bear the names of her daughters and grandchildren as well.

Wyvonna decided to make her lifelong dream a reality when she began devoting herself to adorning women with her brightly colored, beaded garments that are, according to Wyvonna, "all washable."

Wyvonna's goal is to start up a business and create a catalog featuring other budding designers who share her dream.

Jeanette O'Donnal, the new owner of De-Ja-Vu Beauty Salon, first saw Wyvonna's fashions when they were on display at the Arizona State Savings & Credit Union.

"I am someone who appreciates art and thought the clothes would be a wonderful addition to my salon and boutique," O'Donnal said.

Wyvonna found a way to transform her grief and sorrow into creations that would make anyone smile.

"If I know of someone who is going through a time of suffering, I will give them one of my outfits in the hopes that it will brighten their day," she said.

With her big heart, and ever-expanding line of fashions, Wyvonna hopes to be an influential force as well as an inspiration to the residents of the Rim country.

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