It is every designer's dream to work with the big names in the fashion industry. In Guyana, the pool of quality fashion designers is small but nestled in this pool is an even rarer gem - Shasha Designs.
Owned and crafted by Keisha Edwards, Shasha Designs creates quality clothing that is unique, elegant, and stylish.
Keisha says she is blessed to do what she loves after developing a liking for garment construction at a tender age.
The 35-year-old couturier was raised in East Ruimveldt, Georgetown and she credits her interest and extensive love for fashion designing and garment construction from watching her mom, who did sewing, to supplement her income.
“Growing up, I used to sit and watch her for hours sewing and she would chase me out of the sewing room, but observation is a form of learning and I learnt the love for this craft through the eyes of a child watching my mother.”
Despite learning the ins and outs of this trade, Edwards’ first choice was not sewing. She first desired to work in a different field.
“When I graduated from the University of Guyana with my Degree in Sociology and my Diploma in Social work, I couldn’t find a job. They kept saying I’m overqualified or I had no working experience and I was like, you know, I love fashion and I’m kinda good at this and maybe if I invested a little more time the possibilities could be endless. That’s how it kinda started.”
Keisha also had the love and support of her siblings on her journey to becoming one of Guyana’s top fashion designers.
“I had my sisters around me and my eldest sister keep saying you’re good at this, you should try in the Guyana Fashion week. She was very supportive; she was on me and I finally got that along with not being able to find a job pushed me into the industry.”
Keisha began showcasing her creations in 2008 by participating in Guyana’s Fashion Week but in hindsight, she now described her pieces then, as “poor”.
At that time, her creativity was focused on designing apparel for parties but as she widened her skills and knowledge about the industry, her designs evolved.
And although her designs were extremely creative, garment construction proved to be a different kind of challenge. There was lots to learn but she took this in stride and never looked back.
“If you had said to me in 2008, I would be making wedding gowns I would, I would have said no. But as I learnt more about my craft, as I studied, things started to change and I wanted to add more to my portfolio.”
From then, she has been honing her skills to ensure her designs are sought after.
From concept to completion, careful thought, and attention to detail is given to every piece to ensure each client is fully satisfied.
With the encouragement and support of her father, she attended Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, New York before attending the Caribbean Academy of Fashion.
Shasha Designs is not just a local name, as Keisha has had the opportunity to collaborate with the likes of renowned Trinidadian Artiste Naila Blackman and Guyana’s very own Timeka Marshall.
Her creations have also been showcased in many regional magazines and even at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham Palace.
“I’m consistent, I’m resilient. I believe in service, I believe in Guyana and I thought I had a great idea that not only highlighted my work, but the work of other creatives of the industry.”
Despite having successes in the industry, Keisha remains one of the humblest persons you may know, a trait she says she adopted from her mother.
Having received a $1 million grant recently, Shasha Designs will be piercing the clouds. The superstar designer already has a plan to take her business to new heights.
“Not only will I be able to work on inventory, because I believe that as a fashion designer, I love to create, and creating only when customers come to you is not necessarily the idea of what a successful business should be. It allows me to work on this project that I have been working on for quite some time called the Moonlight stories and Moonlight stories, is all of our stories, it’s all of our stories. Everyone has some experience growing up with their parents, so it is inspired by our culture.”