Felicia Persaud’s debut collection features curve-skimming designs in soft fabrics meant to flatter every woman. (Photo/Courtesy Bela Criacao)

New York Fashion Week: Felicia Persaud hopes to break big as she celebrates South American style

For her first-ever collection, Felicia Persaud is using feminine lace and seductive mesh in both black and nude to evoke sensuality for women across all sizes. Designing clothes that flatter a woman’s curves – rather than hide them – is the hallmark of Persaud’s debut collection and she’s hoping to make a big splash on the fashion industry when her designs go down the runway in her first runway show.

“I’m very curvy and it was so difficult to find contemporary, beautiful clothes to fit my body – cookie cutter, mass production clothes never fit properly,” says Persaud, who is from Guyana in South America. “Now, I want to make the clothes I could never find for myself and make them available for all kinds of women so they can feel confident and sexy about themselves. At home in South America, I feel curves are celebrated more – and that’s the type of energy I want to bring to my collection.”

The half-Brazilian, half-West Indian designer says she prides herself on the fact that her clothes are meant to be worn by women on the go, whether they’re headed to the boardroom or to the park with their children. In fact, Persaud is very familiar with both those scenarios. A mother of two sons, Persaud is a former banker who transitioned into real estate and currently runs her own title insurance company.

Businesswoman turned designer Felicia Persaud.

Businesswoman turned designer Felicia Persaud.

“When I was just working in insurance, I felt part of me wasn’t being fulfilled,” says Persaud, who named her line Bela Criacao, which is Portuguese for “beautiful creation.” “I came to a point, where in order to be true to myself, I had to begin designing.”

Persaud founded Bela Criacao two years ago and hasn’t looked back. Exposed to design, fabric and clothing at a young age – her mother owned a textile company at home in Guyana – Persaud is now learning the mechanics of running a fashion label. She has a total of six sewing machines humming in her basement and is working with a small team to make sure that her first collection – which will be shown at Nolcha Fashion Week, a showcase of young up and coming designers held in New York City – fits a much-needed niche for curvy gals. And with the debut of her collection, Persaud says she hopes to celebrate women as she fulfills her goal of dressing them.

“I’d love to see my clothes at Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s,” says Persaud, who is based in New York City and whose clothes will be available for sale on her forthcoming website. “But what I really want is for women to know there are clothes out there that are meant to make you feel fantastic.”

And as a businesswoman and mother, Persaud says she wants to inspire her sons to achieve their own dreams.

“Always follow your heart and your dreams,” advises Persaud. “I have been successful in one business and now I hope Bela Criacao will be too. But no matter what, I’ll never know if I don’t try.”

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