Fashion designer Shamara Sahadeo making waves in the industry
Fashion designer and stylist Shamara Sahadeo is making a name for herself in the industry as she continues to impress with her ability to capture Caribbean culture and expression in her pieces.
Sahadeo’s interest in fashion started when she was 17 years old, and was inspired by her grandmother, who was a seamstress, and her mother, who designed clothing. With her growing love and passion for fashion, she started her own swimwear brand in 2017, which she later developed into a clothing brand called Seora Clothing.
Sahadeo, who goes by the moniker ‘Shampagne’, has designed and styled Jamaican artistes such as Lila Iké, Kabaka Pyramid, Spice, Ding Dong, Protoje, Jesse Royal and Skillibeng. This month, she made her fashion show debut at the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Session hosted at Di Lot, designing six Johnnie Walker-themed pieces that drew on the brand’s personality.
“It was really exciting for me. I love that I got to tell the story of what I think Johnnie Walker stands for from my perspective. I decided to call the mini collection ‘Opulence’ because I feel like that’s what spoke to me from the brand and presentation of Johnnie Walker. The colour palette was inspired by the Johnnie Walker red and black label bottles, and I did it within the context of slightly couture, slightly streetwear, but fully Caribbean,” explained Sahadeo.
One of the designer’s main challenges as an industry professional in Jamaica is her limited access to a wide variety of materials. However, she uses this limitation to push the bounds of her creativity when it comes to using what’s available. She said this is one of the reasons her debut fashion show with Johnnie Walker meant so much to her and proves that she is headed in the right direction. “I was very nervous, but I’m happy that everybody loved it. I got a lot of compliments from people who came up to me. I also got to speak to quite a few persons about what I do, so it was really, really good for me,” she said.
The mini collection showcased a taffeta vintage floral print trench coat with reversed print cargo pants; a brown suede cargo jacket set; a red tulle flair mini dress; a black laced wide-legged pant with a cropped blouse; a black satin cargo jacket set with chained red velvet durga and a red satin cloak with faux fur, black ruffled leatherette pants and chained Monday wear from her ‘After 8 Monday Wear’ collection.
Sahadeo primarily designs and creates custom clothing she categorises as a cross between Caribbean couture and ‘yaad’ streetwear. “I draw a lot of influence from African and European designers, but I am very passionate about the Caribbean perspective. So, while I’ve taken a lot of interest in couture houses like Balmain and Dolce and Gabbana, I want whatever I do to feel like Jamaica or the universal Caribbean experience.”
As a stylist, Sahadeo’s business has also led her to spend much time in the dancehall and reggae space, which allows her to further hone her craft and understanding of Jamaican culture through fashion. The first female artiste she styled was Lila Iké in 2020, while her first male client was Protoje. “Whatever I style, I design,” she said. “Because I design and style mostly for musicians, performers and entertainers, my designs have been in music videos, on magazine covers, commercials and live performances internationally.”
In the future, Sahadeo hopes to launch her own gender-neutral fashion line, and allow people to purchase her designs in-person or online. “I view design as creating a reality, and I love that I get to tell stories through clothing. When my grandmother was alive, she made clothing, and she taught my mother how to do so, and my mother taught me. I want to make our legacy larger and also represent the Caribbean region [as] a whole so that people can see us as a fashion superpower in the world,” shared Sahadeo.