Following on from her dazzling, Windrush-inspired graduate fashion collection, Founding Member, Tihara, has gone on to build a vibrant brand, encompassing blogging, a wide range of products, and a pop-up shopping experience. Discover her journey and hopes for the future of Tihara Smith.
Tihara, what’s your creative occupation?
I am a fashion, accessories, and product designer. I studied fashion design at university and now have my own business designing accessories and products, like stationery and prints, inspired by my Caribbean heritage.
Where have you been?
I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear at the London College of Fashion for a year, before realising that it wasn’t a great fit for me. I then restarted my degree at University for the Creative Arts Epsom studying BA (Hons) Fashion and graduated in 2018 after showing my final collection, inspired by the Windrush Generation, at Graduate Fashion Week.
After graduating, I did a work experience programme with Better Bankside where I, as part of a group of around 10 young people, took part in a variety of workshops hosted by Bankside businesses on topics like; project management, event management, social media, PR, marketing, networking, graphic design, and more.
Through this experience, I was connected with a jewellery and accessories company in the area who were hiring at the time. I interviewed with them and got my first full-time role as a Production Assistant assisting the Production, Merchandising & Marketing Teams with a range of administrative tasks.
In my free time, whilst working at the jewellery and accessories company, I was working on building my own brand off the back of my final collection. I worked on designing products, growing my website, and going to weekend craft markets.
After around a year, I realised that I wanted to focus my time on more creative pursuits so decided to resign from my first role to focus on running my own business.
Where are you now?
Now, I work full-time on my own business, designing and selling accessories and products inspired by my Caribbean heritage. The range has expanded from handmade bags and art prints, to include greetings cards, notebooks, gift sets, enamel pins and t-shirts!
I also write a blog on my website all about Caribbean culture, including Caribbean recipes and Black British history.
In 2020, I won a competition with Start Up with Seven Dials. The prize is to have a pop-up shop in Seven Dials in summer 2021, which is a huge and amazing opportunity! So that’s what I’m mainly working on now.
Where are you going?
I hope to open a successful pop-up shop in Seven Dials over the summer.
I plan to continue to grow my business; designing new products and hopefully finding some stockists to stock some of my products – like the greetings cards and stationery. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to get back into fashion design and design a new collection.
I hope to continue to spread the story of the Windrush Generation through design.
Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?
Today, as I’m writing this, it is the eve of Windrush Day 2021, so I’m thinking about the Windrush Generation and all they endured so that their descendants, like myself, could enjoy opportunities in our education and career. I’m excited to celebrate them all tomorrow!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Tihara! Got any questions for Tihara, or just want to say ‘hi’? Reach out to her via our ‘Members’ page. Not a member yet? Join us today for networking, mentoring, resources & more!