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By Trisha

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Trisha Rampersad is the woman behind the eco friendly clothing brand BHANA. Since 2008 the Vancouver-based design company has come a long way . Holding true to the foundations of their philosophy: creativity, detail and feel, BHANA fused fashion, trend and the environment to introduce a completely eco-friendly clothing line this past year. BHANA finds creative inspiration in traditional garments, borrowing classic elements such as clean lines and symmetrical shapes as well as the fluidity within natural elements of our ever-changing world. Founder and designer Trisha Rampersad recognizes the necessity for innovation as well as integrity of her craft. BHANA’s commitment to the environment and creating beautiful but ethical clothing is an homage to their passion and understanding of the fragile world in which we live. We at Sheek wanted to know more about the source of Trisha’s passion and drive for conscientious creativity within her designs and decided to ask her a few questions.

1. You probably get asked this all the time, but why did you want to become a fashion designer?
I have always loved shape, silhouettes and lines. As a child I would observe objects and then try to see them from different perspectives. These things have always intrigued me. Growing up, I would style or make my own clothes for special events. As a child I watched my grandmother sew, for me stitching was just a part of life. So when I really sat down and thought about it, I realized that the thing that most fulfilled me was dreaming up clothes, and then making them a reality. I sometimes see my designs in my dreams, so for me it is like making my dreams come true!
2. What is the story behind the name: BHANA?
BHANA is my mother’s maiden name. The BHANA family is the only family I had growing up. My grandmother was a resilient, resourceful, and peaceful woman. My grandfather was a businessman of great integrity, and respected in the community. These are two very special figures in my life. When I thought of my business and what it would represent, it seemed fitting that it should be their namesake. BHANA stands for integrity, respect for our peers and our earth, and always on the edge of something great.
3. Growing up in a South Asian family, were they happy about the career path you chose?
It’s interesting, because coming from South Africa, I never knew the various labels that were being used for people. It was here in Canada that I learned I was South Asian! My parents have always supported me in my various ventures. Of course they were concerned about me becoming a designer. Any career in the arts is a risky one. I realized early on that their concern was just an expression of love. I am grateful that they seem to have faith in me.
4. Where do you get your design inspirations from?
My inspirations come in various ways and take many forms. Being at the ocean has always sparked many visions and musings. Also, I dream of silhouettes and sometimes I will see certain details, or I will awaken with a specific mood and the need to sketch in that mood. Classical music, specifically Mozart fires all kinds of sparks in my brain.
5. Do you feel a lot of your personal style goes into the clothes you create for your label?
Definitely. BHANA is after all an expression of myself. Sometimes BHANA woman is more appropriate for my alter-ego, and sometimes it is just me.
6. We all have our bad days, as a designer what mantra do you keep repeating in your head just to keep you going? (Words to live by)
I always have that vision of my ultimate self in mind. And I push forward as much as I can to live that great greatest expression of myself.
7. What has been your biggest fashion disaster?
I did a fashion show a few years ago to launch my then latest collection of men’s and women’s clothing. That show had 57 looks altogether. I basically put out every design I came up with. I was then given some gentle advice by a magazine editor, “You need to learn to edit.” Looking back at that I am mortified, but if I hadn’t done it, I probably would not have learned the very valuable lesson of editing a collection.
8. Where do you see your fashion label in the next five years?
Five Years from now I would like BHANA to be sold at major retailers across North America and also breaking into the European market. I want BHANA to become the favourite go-to pieces in people’s wardrobes.
9. What was the reasoning behind doing a ECO line?
I have always been eco-conscious and was brought up with the awareness of alternative health, and a more holistic lifestyle. For some reason I never made the connection before. However, it makes sense that if BHANA is a reflection of my spirit, then it should be an honest reflection. Also, eco friendly is the only way the fashion industry will be able to save face. We have brought on a great deal of damage to this earth with the many processes and common practices it takes to make our most prized pieces of clothing. It is time to start reversing these damages.
10. Once upon a time you had a mens line, why did you decide to only focus on women?
I love men’s clothing, and I love the BHANA Man. I only temporarily stepped away because BHANA underwent such a huge change over the last year in branding. I did not want to come out with two big collections, with new branding. It was a business decision. It is most certainly in the plan to bring menswear back in the next couple of seasons.
11. What is some of the advice you can give young designers in the industry who are trying to get their name out there?
Honestly, I feel like I am still getting started myself! The only advice I can give, is what I continue to follow. Have faith and don’t lose focus. Never forget why you got into the garment industry in the first place. It will give you the spark you need when you are going through the valleys. Just trust in life.
12. If you could name two or three fashion icons you look up to who would they be and why?
-Gianni Versace: he was cutting edge, and no matter what, he knew how to make a woman feel beautiful.
-Giorgo Armani: There are collections from Armani that have made me cry. His clothes are regal.
-Alexander Mcqueen: He was the epitome of fearlessness in design. He was also a very humble person.

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