Meet Shadé Olabisi, the designer keeping inclusivity at the forefront of her fashion line
Our women designers series is an on-going project to highlight innovative designers across the world that incorporate YKK® products into their unique creations. In this installment, we introduce you to Atlanta-based designer Shadé Olabisi, founder of LaShadé Designs.
Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up, your hobbies, where you went to school, etc.
I was born and raised in Germany by a German mother and Nigerian father. I grew up in a diverse city called Hamburg that had a population of approximately 2 million people. I also spent some of my teenage years in a small village of 200 people. Being creative and “different” was something I embraced early on, which was greatly influenced by my mother. She was an activist, hardworking and very artistic. As a child I enjoyed expressing my creativity through dance, building things, poetry and music.
After high school I left Germany, for the Yukon and Vancouver, Canada to learn English and experience the country. After a year filled with great experiences, I moved to Atlanta, GA where my fashion career started. I began learning the art of garment construction and sewing. I worked as a published fashion stylist for celebrities, magazines photo- and video productions. A few years later I had the opportunity to work for a designer during New York Fashion Week for two seasons. Getting an up close and personal view into the industry truly inspired me to grow my small fashion business into the fashion brand LaShadé Designs as known today.
What inspired you to start a career in fashion design?
I wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as I can remember. My earliest fashion memory is draping fabrics around my body as a little girl and enjoying the way it made me feel and look. Growing into a tall, curvy woman presented itself with some problems when it came to finding clothing that felt, fit and looked good. Also seeing that I was not the only one struggling with this problem, instilled the desire in me to make other women feel confident, comfortable and beautiful through fashion.
“Growing into a tall, curvy woman presented itself with some problems when it came to finding clothing that felt, fit and looked good. Also seeing that I was not the only one struggling with this problem, instilled the desire in me to make other women feel confident, comfortable and beautiful through fashion.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your career?
Facing challenges in this business is unavoidable. From the commonly known creative block to unsuccessful investments and ideas. Being in this industry also means to embrace the one constant, which is change. Fashion design is all about problem solving (the fit, wearability, comfort, aesthetic etc). Be able to embrace the challenges, they will only make you a better and stronger designer.
Tell us about your creative process… What inspires you?
Being an artist, I constantly see the world through a creative lens. It allows me to draw my inspirations from my everyday life. I’m inspired by nature, dreams, art, people, conversations, cultures, music, feelings, travel, etc. Once an idea comes to me it normally lands onto the next available piece of paper. The next step is to create the corresponding sewing pattern and to find the perfect fabric. Finding the right fabric is one of my favorite parts in this process, it gives the idea life through movement and/or structure.
“Being an artist, I constantly see the world through a creative lens. It allows me to draw my inspirations from my everyday life.”
What is your advice for young people who want to pursue a career in fashion?
Don’t give up!! If this is truly your passion, don’t give up and keep pushing. Be patient with yourself and the industry. Also, find a good team to surround yourself with. Make sure these people will push you to be creative, bounce ideas off and are as passionate as you are.
Tell us about LaShadé Designs and how did you start your brand?
LaShadé Designs was started to help women feel confident and beautiful in clothing that fits well, comfortable and looks amazing. As a tall, curvy woman, I found it difficult to find clothing to fit my soul and frame…. So, I created it! Taking the hassle out of shopping, searching and trying things on by designing custom couture made to your measurements. I want my garments to empower people to look and feel like the best version of themselves and embrace the body they are in.
What are some of your favorite YKK products and why do you choose YKK products?
I enjoy using the buckles and notions YKK has to offer. The number one has to be the zippers! I love the variety and especially the quality, which is very important in my business. It’s the glue that holds it all together!
What are some of the fashion trends you’re enjoying the most this season?
What I’m most excited about is how the tech world is revolutionizing the fashion industry, from 3D printing to creating sustainable textile from fruit. The future of fashion looks bright!