B'VARI, REX's home grown plus-size fashion label for women was created by exotic print lover Brantina Varaidzo. We spoke to her about her colourful brand and found out what she's getting up to in the future...
1. What is B'VARI and where did the name come from?
B’VARI is a plus-size fashion label for feminine, unique and elegant fashion with a fusion of western, vintage and African influences. We specialise in one off ready to wear and custom made clothing for curvy women. Our brand is about celebrating women who have curves and spreading positive body image through fashion. Our passion is to make every women feel unique, beautiful, fierce, stylish and embrace their curves whatever size they are whilst wearing out beautifully designed clothes.
The name 'B’VARI' came about whilst I was at university brainstorming and its actually a combination of my two names which are Brantina Varaidzo hence B’VARI.
2. Your designs are wonderfully exotic, where did your inspiration come from?
My love of for colour and exotic bold prints inspire my designs. My African culture is all about prints and bold colours. Growing up I was exposed to African and western cultures so this has been heavily influenced within my work . As a designer I feel privileged to have been exposed to two different cultures because it has helped me with my creativity, pushing boundaries and come up with exotic and unique designs which have African and western influences. Our designs are very bold and unique because we like to reflect to our customers to stand out and show their personality. We take an African print and combine it with a western vintage silhouette to design and create a unique piece. We continue to love pushing boundaries and experimenting with different prints and fabrics to come up with new Ideas.
3. Tell me a little about you, how did you become a fashion designer?
Fashion has always been big part of my family. I developed an appreciation for fashion at a young age surrounded by my Mother’s fabrics and sewing machines at home. My mom was a fashion designer and seam stress. My Dad has always been a great fashion style Influencer too. So I started sewing and making small clothes from a young age and my passion grew from then on . Its when I was studying Software Engineering for 3 years and I was making clothes for friends and family on the side when I soon found myself drawn back to my first love of fashion. I wanted to follow my passion for fashion. I went to study a Fashion Design degree at University West of England in Bristol. I would say that being at university gave me an opportunity to learn so much about fashion and helped to push my boundaries. Having interned for other established fashion designers during my placement year, I learnt how to make this passion into a business and therefore I started my own label. B'VARI was born!
4. What is your favourite piece you've ever designed?
If I had to pick one it has to be my Afro-chic collection for my final year. I loved this collection because it gave me a platform to celebrate women's curves in different sizes. It encouraged me to push boundaries in terms of stepping away from the every day acceptable beauty standard but rather expressing beauty and fashion in a wide range of sizes and African prints. Not every women is built the same so I wanted to give a message that as a women you can be unique, confident, beautiful, classy and be stylish no matter what size you are and embrace it.
5. If you could pick anybody in the world to dress in your clothes who would it be?
It has to be Jill Scott.
She is someone who isn’t afraid to express who she is as a musician and also in the way she dresses and carries herself. She is very eccentric and she loves to be unique. She exudes great body confidence and loves to flaunt her curves. She would be a great person to represent our brand.
6. What's it like retailing at REX?
Rex is a great platform for independent retailers and designers. I think its great at supporting startup businesses and for us to be able to see them grow. So when we got the opportunity to trade at Rex we were very excited and jumped at the opportunity. The REX family has a range of creative people you get to chat, inspire each other and because everyone wants to see each other succeed in this business world it becomes a great creative community to be around and a place to be motivated .
7. If your brand was a song what song would it be and why?
Meghan Trainer - Better when I’m dancing
The lyrics say it all you feel better when you are dancing and you ooze confident. We love how she shows women around the world to be happy as they are. Its all about feeling confident of who you are and being happy to express it. You can show the world you are fire in your curves.
8. What's in-store for B'VARI?
We love trading at REX and will love to see our brand expand. We are passionate about promoting positive body image through fashion so will continue to spread that message that you can be beautiful, fierce and stylish no matter what size you are.
We are working on a new and exciting line of occasional wear made to measure to add to Rex. We are also adding a accessories line and have plans to collaborate with other Liverpool artists. Our website is being launched too so keep your eyes peeled!
9. Finally, if you have one piece of advice for a budding fashion designer what would it be?
The fashion business is very competitive so you need to stand out. Firstly, I would say that you should find a niche market and don’t be afraid to push boundaries - its how you evolve as a designer and it gives you the chance to be creative.
Get involved with artist community groups in your area as there are so many opportunities to collaborate and share insights into the industry!
Lastly don’t give up, success doesn’t come overnight you have to keep working hard. If something doesn’t work try a different approach and eventually you will make it. Don’t despise small beginnings, great things have come from small beginnings.
GO GO GO (Not pokemon go) follow B'vari on twitter!