TMW- Did you always know that you wanted to be a fashion designer?
SC- No, I actually didn’t. But, I did know that I wanted to be my own boss. I was pretty entrepreneurial as a kid and started a business, designing and selling a collection of little copper dolls, that my Auntie helped me construct. My Auntie taught me how to sew and gave me a basic understanding of color, texture, fabric and shape. I had a talent for design, but I originally got into real estate, opening my own firm and working primarily with people employed at our local embassy. The wives of several of my clients would share how much they loved our regional textiles, so I began designing custom garments for them to wear to their various diplomatic functions. Once I realized that fashion design was really my true calling, I began manufacturing my designs on a larger scale, producing my own unique prints and textiles, and the rest is history.
TMW- What inspires you? Where do you draw your design inspiration?
SC- I draw inspiration from so many things. I’m very inspired by nature… I love the outdoors and going on hikes with my husband in my spare time. We live in Tucson, AZ. and the hiking trails are really stunning. I travel a lot for work and garner influence from the various countries I visit and the different cultures I experience. But my greatest inspiration, most definitely, comes from my family, and the incredibly strong and amazing women who raised me.
TMW- Tell me about Shahida Parides. What is your brand DNA?
SC- People think of us as the place for fabulous kaftans and resort wear, but we are really so much more. Our brand’s mission is to empower woman through their clothing choices, making ease and comfort on trend and utterly chic. The majority of our dresses are one size fits most, and all of the graphic art for my prints are signature and custom. Yet, we are moving into other categories as well. We are just about to launch Shahida Basics, my new customizable collection, which will be sold on our website and only offered in solid colors, rather than in our signature prints. It will allow the shopper to customize the sleeves, the neckline, the length etc., creating a truly tailor-maid and personalized look. We are also moving into producing more ready-to-wear, a formal wear and even a children’s line. 2017 is going to be a very busy year for us.
TMW- Do you have a design muse? If so, who is she and why?
SC- There are several women who inspire my work. One is Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. I love the way that she is able to fuse contemporary Western style with traditional Indian clothing and make it uniquely her own. Gigi Hadid tends to take risks in her personal style, and yet always looks chic. There are aspects of Beyonce’s style that I admire and she was actually an inspiration behind my evening wear.
TMW- I heard you are launching a new brand ambassadorship program for charity. Please tell me about Heart2Heart.
SC- I have always wanted to start a foundation and devise a way to utilize my brand for philanthropy. The concept behind Heart2Heart is that of an affiliate program, where we partner and collaborate with a chosen celebrity or influencer and create a capsule collection of garments, in an original and signature print, for that brand ambassador. A percentage of sales from that collection on the Shahida Parides website will go our partner’s chosen charity. This allows an opportunity to raise funding and awareness for very worthy causes which may not be on my direct radar. Our premiere Heart2Heart brand ambassadorship is launching after the New Year with actress, television personality, business mogul and mother Kyle Richards. Kyle has been a tremendous supporter of my brand and I wanted to find a way to truly thank her for all of her support; raising money for her chosen charity, LA Children’s Hospital, is a great way to show my deep appreciation.
TMW- In five words please describe yourself as a fashion designer.
SC- Bold, adventurous, risk-taking, exotic, feminine.
For more information on Shahida Parides, please visit them on the web at Shahida Parides Website
Tracie May-Wagner is an LA based Fashion and Lifestyle publicist and writer.