Conversation with ALEEM ARIF
Let’s talk to Aleem Arif, creator behind the fashion label Bano eeMee. Aleem Arif left his career as a stock trader in New York to pursue fashion, and thus Bano eeMee was born.
Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?
I am self-taught. I used to be a stock broker prior to switching my career to fashion design.
Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?
Alexander McQueen’s life story and how much work he put into building his brand. People who work hard always inspire me J
What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
I love fashion and being creative hence I chose fashion design as my medium of creative expression. I am very grateful to be able to pursue my dream job each day because it doesn’t feel like work at all.
How did you come to start your own line?
I wanted to be creative, work for myself and make a difference. Bano eeMee allows me to do all this and more. I get my creative fix by designing amazing leathers for Bano eeMee. I make my own schedule and I try to create fair work opportunities in the third world through the creation and manufacturing of my designs. We started by employing three people. Now Bano eeMee employs sixty artisans in South Asia.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
The design aesthetic hasn’t changed much however now when I design I pay a lot more attention to little details. Versatility is also very important to me. I want my designs to not only be visually appealing but also fit conscious, comfortable and functional.
How would you describe your brand?
Bano eeMee is a Canadian luxury leather label that prides itself on creating timeless designs and using sustainable and ethical practices in realization of its designs.
How is your work received internationally?
We have only recently started marketing outside Canada and are very humbled by the love we have received thus far.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
Architecture. You can see it in my design lines and in the structure of Bano eeMee leather jackets.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Being kind and genuinely nice goes a long way.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
Work hard and love all
Where do you go for inspiration?
No particular place J inspiration is all around us. I love people watching, traveling and architecture and these heavily influence my designs.
Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?
My personal wardrobe is quite small. I focus on buying pieces that are comfortable, well made and that I can wear lots. My style is not label/ brand driven.
If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?
I would be Captain Planet with all his powers.
In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?
Green Goblin’s style could use some sprucing up
If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?
Dating a super hero would be too much work so I think I’ll pass J
What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?
Work hard, be open to critique and aim high
Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?
Lots is in the pipeline would love for you to connect and follow my fashion adventures through Instagram: @Bano_eeMee or Snapchat: Bano_eeMee