Luxurious leather adds style and sophistication to every outfit. Fashionistas flock to rich buttery leather in brilliant colours and the hottest new label is Bano eeMee.
Aleem Arif is the Creative Director of Bano eeMee, a Canadian fashion brand specializing in hand-made genuine leather jackets. Aleem didn’t exactly grow up dreaming of becoming a Canadian Fashion Designer, he majored in economics and management at the London School of Economics. The Bank of New York hired him in 2007 where he worked in I.T. for three years. Despite the good salary and job security, Arif says that he felt like “there was something missing” and that he had a strong need to give back.
Arif chose to do something with his life. Taking a nearly a year to travel, The sights, sounds, colors and culture of South Asia offered Aleem an endless source of inspiration.
Today Aleem creates luxurious lamb leather collections, sustainably sourced and sewn by highly skilled artisans His pieces are manufactured in Pakistan.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I do not recall there being a eureka moment, I wanted to be creative, work for myself and make a difference and Bano eeMee allows me to do that which I am so grateful for.
The story of how your line came to be… Who or what inspired you to become a designer?
I used to be an algorithmic stock trader in the US but after working for three years in the field I started feeling that I was not being true to myself so I quit my job, moved to Canada and started fresh. Since I did not know anyone here, I was forced to make new friends and after six months I found myself surrounded by some of the most creative minds “my tribe” who inspired me to believe in myself and pursue fashion as a serious career choice.
How would you describe your brand?
Bano eeMee is a proudly Canadian fashion label recognized for its distressed leather outerwear. Our commitment to people and the environment and strive to use fashion to make a difference by creating fair work opportunities in impoverished communities makes Bano eeMee different.
Tell us about your new collection.
For Spring Summer 2016, Bano eeMee has created a collection of light weight leathers that breathe are versatile and hand distressed to highlight the natural beauty of the supple genuine lamb leather used to construct the designs.
What was the influence?
Like always, my customers and their sense of style was a very important influence. I also focused on introducing a color palette and textures that were airy and light and timeless.
How do you plan to grow your company?
I believe in organic growth, people to people connections, valuing relationships and being authentic. These principals have allowed Bano eeMee to build a small but strong following which I am ever so grateful for. I love the people I work with and I want to create designs that my customers love and get lots of wear out of and at the same time I hope to continue expanding and creating more fair-work opportunities in the communities we work with and support in the developing world.
The best career advice you have received…
Be confident and believe in yourself
The piece of clothing everyone should have in his or her closet?
A leather jacket of course (wink wink)