Rashima Sonson is an Afro-Caribbean woman from St. Croix, U.S.V.I and the oldest of 9 siblings. With such a diverse upbringing, she fell in love with tailored styles in pure, bold colors found in African and Caribbean attire. To pursue her love for fashion, she received her B.Sc. in Fashion Design & Apparel Engineering and worked within the industry for the past 15 years. Her studies afforded her opportunities to travel and gain a deeper understanding of fashion, cultures and traditions.
Why did you create your namesake brand?
Inspired by the lack of timeless and meaningful gifting options for first time dads (expecting a son), my brand was created in 2014 during the audacious search for a father/son gift for one of my brothers. I wanted to gift him something he and his son could bond with, something that he could teach his son, and something that could be passed on from one son to another. The connection and bond between a father and his son helps to impart wisdom, improve mannerisms and teaches young men how to engage and act.
Why start with bow ties?
The most sincerest gift (in my eyes) is anything artisanal! The first product I created was a matching father and son bow tie set for my brother. I couldn't find a meaningful gift, so I used my design and sewing skills. Yet, during my research for a gift, I learned the following:
- About 1% of the U.S. male population knows how to tie a bow tie.
- The bow tie (self-tie) is one of the most classic pieces of accessories a man could own.
- Bow ties are timeless and a much needed accessory in every males wardrobe.
- Bow ties are one of the top accessories males wear to a formal gathering or to a wedding.
- Helping a young man tie a tie is an opportunity for a teachable moment.
Do you have a family tradition?
My Dad and I had small traditions in which we would get dressed up for church or for dinner in our favorite outfits, and ironically our outfits would always have some sort of Caribbean/African influence--ranging from the colors, prints to the silhouettes. This tradition influenced the selection of the brands use of classic to cultural prints (such as Ankara African print fabrics) to build connections and relationships.
What is your design inspiration?
My designs are inspired by cultural celebrations, art, and personas focusing on our 3 core values—Family, Fashion, and Tradition. From high-quality ties made with Swarovski stones to Ankara fabric, my brand distills these sensibilities and manifests them into vivid presentations that redefine the traditional bow tie.
What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy stems from a deep interest in how fashion impacts our lives, whether it's the preservation of culture, restoration of heritage, or the redefining of a classic style. I believe fashion is an expressive storyteller and its writing in my designs and past collections.
What is your long-term goal for your brand?
What keeps me working on my business is what my brand is centered around; Family, Fashion, and Tradition. Gifting someone a product that infuses modern style and culture is one of the most unique and personal gestures—it builds a relationship and creates memories! More so, my goal is about improving the greater world in small ways that lead to massive impact.
How does your brand embrace social responsibility?
98% of our bow ties are made of natural fibers. Our products support sustainability efforts by reducing landfill waste and is intended to be passed down to the next generation. In addition, we upcycle our cotton remnants from previous collections to make bow ties for young kids and host an annual "Back to School Bow Tie Giveaway."
We want to be "THE BRAND" that is part of a positive experience in the lives of young boys and young men. Whether its a memory of their first picture day at school, their first prom, graduation or wedding. We want to share that experience with you!