East Meets West: Toronto’s Up and Coming South Asian Fashion Designer

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We all have dreams and aspirations of things we want to do in our lives. However, the things that hold us back in pursuing those dreams are endless; family, money, time etc! Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith and chase your dreams like Bharathy Vivekanantham, a local South Asian fashion designer from Toronto. She not only took that leap of faith and started her own fashion company, CulturelleCouture, but has inspired many women to look fabulous no matter what shape or size they are.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Bharathy to hear about her passion for fashion and her journey so far.

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When did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I chose to pursue this path as a hobby initially. Fashion and designing have been a part of my life since I was a child. I grew up watching my mom always making my clothes and it came to a point where I started to design clothes rather that purchasing outfits because I wanted to be different. As time progressed, I started enjoying designing and started helping out a few friends with their outfits, and realized that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to be different. At that moment, I thought to myself, what if I started my own custom fashion line? Everyone wants to wear something that represents their personality, their size, and their comfort level and customized clothing seemed to be the answer. It was also a great way to preserve the culture yet still have a modern flare to match the second generation. Therefore, I took it as a challenge to create a brand and help others rock outfits that were made uniquely for them.

Was fashion always your passion?

Fashion, being a trendsetter and being creative are definitely things I was always passionate about. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing mother who was flexible with my crazy, bizarre suggestions which led me to believe that what I envisioned in my head can be made to stand out from the crowd. More than fashion being my passion, I realized that helping others feel comfortable and fabulous in their own way made me to love what I do now.

11085844_10152731532510737_1774203320_oWhat does South Asian fashion mean to you?

South Asian fashion is rich in culture, and has great history. The bright colours and intricate designs are all outcomes of great South Asian Fashion. But being someone who embraces both the Canadian and South Asian fashion, made me think of how the fashion can be fused to balance both cultures and represent the second generation growing up in the west.

What advice can you give to women of different shapes and sizes?

Dress to impress yourself, feel comfortable, and remember it’s all in you. A good friend once told me, it’s not what you rock, it’s how you rock it. If you think you can rock it, then you most definitely can! It doesn’t matter about the colour or the style. Just do what feels right to you. Have fun with your fashion, and rock your personality.

Why the name CulturelleCouture?

I wanted to create a bridge between traditional and chic. The fusion of different cultures creates what fashion is today, and Culturelle represents the fusion of Culture to Couture.

Was everyone supportive of your dream, or were there some unsure voices in your family? If yes, how did you overcome that and get to where you are now?

Fashion has been something that was a part of my life since I was younger, in fact my mother was the one that noticed my creativity initially and suggested I should get into it.My family has been very supportive of this new venture and has been a great support. They help me to believe that if you love what you do nothing can come in your way towards pursuing your dream.

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And finally, what advice would you give a person who might be trying to pursue their dream?

All you need is motivation and belief in yourself. If you are passionate about it, and you really want to achieve it, you just have to remember it’s your dream. It’s going to be hard work but you have to make your moves wisely.

Image Credits – 3D Media

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Simrin

Simrin

Born and raised in the beautiful city of Toronto, Simrin recently started her career at Banga Studios as a Post Production Editing Specialist, as well as photographer. Her hope is to one day peruse photography within the fashion industry and publish a photography book as she travels the world! Aside from perusing her dream job, Simrin is a singer/song writer, adores literature and the cosmos.

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