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Designer Charda’s time has come

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Originals Collection: fashion designer Charda Simons’ debut will be at the upcoming Fashion Festival (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Charda Simons’s first designs were purely for fun. She’d studied fine arts in college and continued painting once she returned home.

A few years ago, she and her sister Kimmisha Perinchief started using clothing as their easel. As often happens, people started to take notice.

“We customised and hand painted clothing, hats, shoes — whatever family and friends wanted, we created. And that’s where my passion comes from,” Ms Simons said.

She’ll debut Street Lux, her line of “luxury urban streetwear” for men and women, on the runway of the upcoming Bermuda Fashion Festival.

The 26-year-old is hoping The Originals Collection will stand out from the designs of the six other locals and pave the way for her dream: an online store.

Her sister put her up to it.

“I owe her a lot,” Ms Simons said. “She’s a big part of this and she’s actually the reason why I’m here today. She was the one who initially put our brand out there for this programme.

“I would have never thought that I would be chosen to go through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one day debut my very first collection.

“From designing my sketches on paper to being able to see the garments come to life is an amazing feeling.”

She described her line as “very comfortable; casual, yet stylish, with a Nineties vibe”.

“You can wear it at day time or night time; you can jazz it up to make it look sexy.

“I am very inspired by London and New York fashion, so over my travels have gathered different style ideas and put them together with my personal style and my sister’s.

“I had my art and I had my passion for fashion and the two merged and you’ll see that on the runway.”

Ms Simons spends her days in the accounts department at the law firm Wakefield Quin.

She paints on the side, and sells her work. She doesn’t sew. Her Atlanta-based mentor Lisa Nicole Cloud, loaned her seamstress to help her create her collection for next month’s show.

“She is a fashion designer, success coach, sales trainer — just an overall successful businesswoman,” Ms Simons said. “She has opened a whole new side of how I envision this whole experience as a designer as I don’t actually sew my own garments and am new to the designer scene.

“She has shown me how to market my brand and all that it [involves] to bring a whole collection together for the runway.

“Having my own mentor to talk with and being able to get first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be a successful fashion designer has been rewarding.”

Transferring the designs from her head into actual pieces of clothing was a difficult task. She’s hoping the models show them at their best. “My biggest challenge is actually getting my garments to fit the way I want them to look on my models.

“Making sure the garments are being made the way I visualised them to be and making sure they fit and sit the way I want them to on my models was a big thing for me.”

She imagines she’ll run the gamut of emotions on the night: “excited, nervous, anxious, grateful and everything all at once”.

“It’s my first full-time collection coming together. I’m gonna be so nervous, but excited at the same time to see my collection come to life and rip that runway. This whole experience has been so amazing yet nerve-racking at the same time [but] I am excited for everyone to see my collection on the runway.”

Look for Street Lux on Instagram: @streetluxbda. The Bermuda Fashion Festival runs July 8 to 14. Tickets and details of individual events are available on ptix.bm/bff

Originals Collection: fashion designer Charda Simons’ debut will be at the upcoming Fashion Festival (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Originals Collection: fashion designer Charda Simons’ debut will be at the upcoming Fashion Festival (Photograph by Akil Simmons)