The company, Kao Pao Shu, was named as a salute to a noted Chinese actress/ director of the 1970’s. Kao Pao-shu gained prominence through her strong-willed character roles, personal sense of determination and her refusal to accept the status quo. True to her company’s name sake, Naida Begeta diverges from the social norms to create her distinctive clothing lines.
Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Naida’s childhood was colored by the war. At the age of twelve, she was offered the opportunity to complete her education in the United States in Washington State. After graduating from Olympia High School, she returned to Bosnia to attend the University of Sarajevo’s Academy of Fine Arts. Ms. Begeta graduated top of her class in 2004 with a degree in product design.
Always the individualist, Naida Begeta's career in fashion began, (like many other great achievers), through necessity. While living in Sarajevo, she could not find a handbag that suited her personal style and practical needs. By manipulating ribbon and other materials, Naida created a handbag that would change the course of her future. Orders from family, friends and the woman-on-the-street began tumbling in. During our interview, when asked which of her designs are her favorite, she points to a unique purse hanging on the wall. “That’s my favorite one, because that’s the one I just finished. I’ll love the next one just as much as that one. I love what I create.” The words of a true artist!
Her style is more inventive than mainstream. She does not follow a set plan when designing, rather she allows the material itself guide and influence the final outcome. The result is a fluid, sculptural work of art that any woman would be happy to wear, be it a dress, handbag or t-shirt. When asked the source of her inspiration, Ms. Begeta admits with an innocent little smile, “I love ribbons. I’m at home in my ribbon room.”
You can see her love for ribbon throughout her Stripe Up Yourself clothing line. After sewing together yards of ribbon to create her own fabric, Naida uses her architectural expertise to transform the raw material into a distinctive garment, handbag or accessory. This approach also allows her to individualize the colors and materials for her clothing for each client.
In answer to those who crave style for the everyday, Kao Pao Shu also offers a more casual line made from high quality Italian jersey, called Dress Up Yourself. Pants, dresses and jackets of the fine material are comfortable, yet stylish enough for any outing. The black and white signature T-shirts are silk screened with many of Naida’s geometric art designs.
After finding success in both the Milan and Japanese markets, Naida Begeta moved to California in 2007, where her fashions are steadily growing in popularity. One young lady at the event enthusiastically exclaimed, “I love her dresses. I wore one to my prom, creating a night I’ll always remember.”
Whether you’re looking for something for a special evening or simply to take you through the day in style, Kao Pao Shu is one place you should add to your list of favorite stores. You can visit their showroom located at 1906 Olymipic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA or shop online at http://www.kaopaoshu.it/. Either way, you’re sure to find something that is perfect for you.