Felicia Persaud was born in Guyana to a mother who owned a fabric shop and since childhood developed a deep love for fashion that prompted a drastic career change. I met Felicia last year during Bela Criacao’s premier at Nolcha Fashion Week, after the runway show Felicia was all smiles and extraordinarily gracious to the press, which is a wonder amidst all the show preparations, and overall hustle and bustle of a runway show. As Felicia emerged with her models behind the velvet rope, I stood aside with our camera assistant as she took her time answering the onslaught of questions without even breaking a sweat. After she was done, I managed to get a moment her time and few question in for our publication. Almost 6 months later we kept in touch, and was granted an interview and an opportunity to preview Bela’s Spring 2014 Collection. It’s her endearing nature, that makes it easy to shoot the breeze as we did for sometime during our interview. In fact, Felicia’s welcoming presence comes across in her brand Bela Criacao. That along with her elegant sophistication and timeless style is why she should be designing clothing for women, and why we should be buying her pieces. During our interview, I was treated to a cup of tea with her assistant and most of her family in attendance. We laughed and traded industry stories in the midst of our business. Since Bela’s Nolcha introduction, Felicia has been expanding her manufacturing, and making moves in the retail industry to become a major player and household name for ladies that embody effortless style and elegant fit. Bela’s Spring collection is a playful take on lace and color that is fun, and sexy without missing the mark on sophistication, a feature that is key for the brand. True to the aesthetic Bela’s fitted silhouettes are sexy without being overtly provocative and sophisticated without being boring. We think Felicia is on to something and Bela’s designs have an appeal to so many categories of women, and the buzz is just beginning to spread. Bela’s transition into a powerhouse brand is on the horizon and so many of us modern day women will be looking to her to dress us from the boardroom to dinner, or a night club, respectively!
What influenced your venture into the fashion industry?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved fashion. I live for fashion, I dream about fashion, I love fashion. I’m in Real Estate and I was just bored, and I decided to venture off into something that I loved, and I’ve always loved most of my life. So why not do it? It’s something fun, it’s very creative and it changes everyday of your life. Fashion is changes in life.
What does your brand represent?
It’s for women who are sexy and sophisticated and want to keep that look going from daytime into the evening. Women who want to walk out in the daytime and feel just as good during the day and at work as they would in the evening. We want them to be a part of a lifestyle.
Who is your target market customer?
Our target customer would be 25-50. The reason why I say that is because in the modern fashion industry ages are reverse numbers. 50’s are 40’s, 40’s are 30’s and 30’s are 20’s. That’s why I’m saying you would see a lot of older women now dressing like a 30 or 35 year old while still being sexy and sophisticated. It’s good to see the 50 and 40 year olds dressing younger and elegant because it shows they feel good about themselves.
What makes your brand different?
I think the really important key to Bela is it’s all about the fit, the fabric, the construction and the quality. I hate buying clothes out there and it looks good, you take it home… I call them disposable clothing. It looks good, but the minute you put it on the elastine is popping, and the threads are out. I basically like to say Bela is fashion, fabric, fit and quality. I call it FFFQ!
What is overall essence of Bela Criacao Spring 2014 Collection? What do you want to come across to the people that are viewing it?
It’s all about sunshine, color and the essence of Miami. The Spring/Summer pieces that we’re pushing is lace. Back in the days lace was known for behind closed doors, or under your garments. We want to bring lace to the forefront, to show that lace can be worn in every different aspect and still look very sexy. It doesn’t have to stay behind closed doors or worn just as an undergarment piece.
What is your favorite item/piece from this collection?
My favorite piece in this collection is the Peplum, but I do love the off shoulder too!
Which part do you enjoy most? The process of creating or the finished product?
I enjoy everything about it! (Laughs) From start to finish because this is what I love, and it’s about fashion so I can’t pick and choose which part I like and which part I hate because, I can’t say that. I love every bit of it!
What have been some highlights or breakthroughs within the industry since you started?
Hmm. Nolcha would be one the highlights but also coming into the industry I’ve had the privilege to meet so many different types of people. It has really given me some wake up calls about the industry at the same time. When you say breakthrough, I know people don’t comment on this a lot, but breakthroughs for me is when you actually find that person that you can work with and you can trust. I have established great relationships with a few people that I can trust. I find that my most important breakthrough is the factories that I deal with. That doesn’t come easy, and that trust doesn’t come easy.
Would you say you are currently satisfied with where you are as a brand? If not, what needs to be done in order to take you to the next level?
In any type of business you are never satisfied. There is always tweaks, there’s always changes, there’s always improvements. You’re never satisfied when you are a business owner or when you’re starting out. Bela still has a long way to go, it needs a lot of tweaking and it’s not perfect. I don’t want anyone to say “Oh she thinks she’s perfect and she thinks she’s good”. When you own a business it’s never ever settled and complete. So no, I’m not satisfied, there’s still a lot more to be done to get Bela where I would like to see it in the future. It’s a work in progress.
To aspiring designers who might be inspired by this article, what sort of advice could you give to them? Share advice you wish you had when you started.
Trust your own instincts, listen to your heart before you listen to anyone else’s advice. Trust yourself.
What are your thoughts on GrungeCake? Is there anything out there like it?
There is a new blog popping up every second and more fashion blogs than I can keep track of but GrungeCake always gives me something new and unexpected. Whether its new music from artist I would normally not come across on my own or bringing attention to designers that aren’t focused on only trends but giving the people something that they really want to be unique and stylish. GrungeCake moves by its own beat and never misses a step. I am just so ecstatic to be along for the ride.
Where can we purchase pieces from this collection?
You can purchase items from the collection at belacriacao.com.
For more Felicia Persaud, just click here.