DESIGNER TALK: SHAHIDA PARIDES

Shahida Parides | Heaven Has Heels

How did you get started in fashion design? When I was a little girl, I made copper, wire dolls and sold them at a fair for charity. My auntie taught me how to sew, and the basics of garment construction. She was an expert at hand embroidery and I observed first-hand the importance of combining colors to create shape. It was the time I spent with my Auntie that helped grow my passion for design and the manufacturing industry.
 
As a young woman in India, I started my own Real Estate business and found apartments for many of our embassy officials. Many of the spouses and woman working at the embassy were in love with the local fabrics and textiles, so I saw an opportunity to help them while simultaneously getting back to my passion for fashion design.   would source sample swatches, sketch and develop unique dresses and gowns for each of them and take them to be cut and sewn.
 
Once I married my husband Ned, and moved to America, I grew my Indian manufacturing connections and was finally able to launch my own brand, fulfilling my lifelong dream of a career in fashion design.

What's your favorite material to work with? I love silk and soft flowing fabrics. The Shahida Parides brand is all about movement and empowerment. When woman are draped in fabrics that move, that are soft to the touch, they feel comfortable, beautiful and free.
 
How do you think your geographical location influence your design atheistic? My design atheistic is influenced by my travels across the globe. All of my signature prints are inspired by various experiences I’ve had, and colors I’ve seen, from the desert greens and browns of my home base in Tucson, to the vibrant colors equated to my home country of India. Each time I travel, if something catches my eye, you can bet you will see it re-imagined in one of my designs.
 
What is your greatest professional achievement? Although many clothing companies are doing this now, I really launched my business, and had great success with, being the originator of convertible kaftans and multi-wear skirts. My designs are inspired by a traditional kaftan, and made to be worn three or four different ways, allowing for ultra-styling diversity.
 
What is one thing people would never guess about you? I’m a very tough business woman. Being that I’m 5’1”, quite petite and rather soft spoken, people, especially men, assume that I will be a push over when it comes to business.  However, they quickly learn when negotiating deals with me that that is far from the truth.

Find out more at ShahidaParides.com