Designer targets ‘oneness’ with Mash costume band

Surida Nagreadi is the newest name on the local costume and fashion scene. After working behind the scenes for many years, this month she launched what she described to be her dream for a while – ‘Xcite’ a costume band for Mashramani.

Mashramani has already been officially launched and many bands are releasing their costume designs. Surida has put out two costume lines for Mashramani 2014,‘Serenity’ and ‘Fusion’ which were launched last week Saturday at the Courtyard Mall, Robb Street.

“The launching of my band is how I [go about] promoting and developing Mashramani in Guyana. My objective is to get more people involved in our heritage, our celebrations and our culture. By simply getting more [people] involved, the possibilities are endless… more promotion, more participation, involvement of tourists, more private sector support and the list goes on,” Surida said.

Surida Nagreadi
Surida Nagreadi

“It is just one day; let’s enjoy it to the fullest and how best to do so… [by wearing] beautiful costumes that compliment you well. Doing this is just one way of fulfilling my fascination with designing, making people happy and enhancing Mashramani are what turn my wheels of interest,” she said.

“Everyone looks forward to some sort of excitement, comfort or reward when they work hard. So I thought to myself, it’s only one day, it comes only once a year, it’s a national event, so why not be part of this and help to enhance our parade.”

Her two costumes ‘Serenity’ and ‘Fusion’ are the apples of her eye. She is targeting “responsible adults” who do not just want to wine down the road but to celebrate as one. She describes her work as beautiful pieces with the capacity to compliment any skin tone.

A University of Guyana graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Surida expressed that designing was something that always fascinated her. “It is a childhood dream of mine,” she said. Surida was born in Venezuela at a hospital named Ruiz y Paez in Ciudad Bolivar on 29 August, 1989 but grew up in Guyana.

Surida Nagreadi (left) with models wearing her costumes
Surida Nagreadi (left) with models wearing her costumes

Her fondest childhood memories are of playing hopscotch and ‘Saul-out’, fishing with her grandfather, making coconut oil with her grandmother and waiting to eat the chanchee (ground coconut) with sugar. She enjoyed country life thoroughly in the West Demerara region. She recalled vividly plucking mangoes and golden apples to make pickles and picking flowering plants on her way home from school every afternoon (none of which ever grew).

Mashramani is a big inspiration for her, the combination of colours, people, arts in a single celebration made her sit and think of how she could contribute. And as ideas sprang to her head she would jump to a drawing pad and start creating reflections of her imagination.

Surida said her art makes her feel proud and fulfilled. “When I am done with my pieces I look back and I feel accomplished, but most importantly, it makes me feel happy knowing that I am doing this for the people; in that I want to make them look good, and when they look good, it makes them feel good and when they feel good, I feel inundated with joy and contentment.”

She went on to say that “Mashramani is the opportune time where people are united, where we encourage oneness and where we display a blending of our ideas, talents and culture. Unity is my primary objective and it motivates me very much because my band is open to everyone – both locals and tourists.” Tourism is another factor which she considers an integral part of Guyana’s development and identity as a Caribbean nation.

“Mashramani adds to this because it is an excellent arena where we display our skills, talents, arts, drama and culture. Taking Mashramani to a whole new level, surely will generate a wider interest amongst our tourists and overseas based Guyanese. This will definitely lead to wider support and participation. Ideal examples of this are Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago and Crop Over in Barbados. Knowing the tourism benefits our country can gain from Mashramani is what motivates me.”

But her biggest motivation is the carnivals around the world. “When I look at those pieces and how intricately designed they are and how beautifully they are displayed [it] encourages me because I know that we have endless talent in Guyana and I know that we can create the same experience here for our people.”

In the future, she sees her band as ranking among the best. Apart from providing a Mash day experience, she has other events planned that she expressed excitement in putting out there.

The costumes are on display at the Courtyard Mall from Monday to Friday and the models are there on Saturdays. Registration forms and all other details required are available at the mall.

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