RP Couture’s Rishma Persaud has been making a splash with her one-of-a-kind elegant pieces. Her latest clothing line ‘Fusion’ was showcased at the recent Jubilee Fashion Extravaganza at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
The designer specializes in evening and cocktail dresses, work suits, costumes, wedding and bridal party gowns. For now, she says, she is focusing mainly on designs for that one of a kind woman. However, Rishma hopes to put out a clothing line for men later this year since she’s been asked umpteen times about putting her distinct touches on men’s attire.
When she last sat down with The Scene Rishma had spoken of a fashion show she had done in Barbados some years ago. She has several clients in that sister Caricom country and expects to launch a clothing line there next year. Later this year she is expected to represent Guyana as a guest designer at a show in the Virgin Islands.
This is wedding and prom season and Rishma’s calendar is almost booked solid. During our interview, she stopped to attend to a client who had walked in with her mother and sister. With an upcoming prom, the teenager wanted a custom-made dress. After she showed Rishma photos of a dress she wanted, the designer gave her a look up and down before sketching, with much ease, a similar dress but with a unique twist to give her that distinctive look. She then quickly explained to them the materials that would best suit the style and accessories that would be best worn to give the dress a pop. Once they understood, she left them to decide if they wanted to go ahead with her design and of course, beaming all the time, they said “yes”.
Rishma has a knack for giving her clients one look and knowing what would best suit their body type. A design that would not only make them fit right into the contemporary world but one that is bound to make them stand out.
Getting back to our interview, Rishma spoke of having had two boutiques: one at Mon Repos for six years called Rishma’s Collections and another in Georgetown after that one closed, under the current brand RP Couture. However, the RP Couture store has been closed as well.
“I was able to accomplish opening my boutiques but working in a store can become tiresome. It takes up so much of your time. What I realized over time is that customers would come in and ask to talk with the designer, since they would not have trusted my sales girls’ ideas, although I would have advised them and given them ideas. So apart from designing the clothing I’d have to often stop to see a customer. Another challenge was when customers would walk in and look at a dress and ask if I had it in their size. And of course I didn’t because everything was a one-of-a-kind piece,” she said.
She added, “It is important to not spread yourself too thin otherwise you won’t have substance. What I mean is that after working for almost 20 hours a day I began to resent the one thing I love the most. After that I tried balancing my work and my personal time.” Her days she said starts from the wee hours in the morning which takes her into the late nights.
Rishma assured The Scene that once a dress was made by her, the client could be sure not to see another like it anywhere else. She shared also that this is the season for bright floral prints, which you could always dress up or dress down. A floral print dress, according to her, can go well with a pair of flats and a hat, which you can remove later, slip into a pair of heels and rock an evening affair.
Her two favourite inspirations she says are her mother and daughter. “My mother is one of the most hardworking persons I’ve ever seen while my daughter is one of the most determined persons I know.” They gave her the drive, she says, to persevere.
And Rishma feels designing has bettered her. “Designing has taught me discipline and punctuality. It has also taught me that with hard work and education you can achieve anything.”
With a schedule like hers Rishma still manages to find the time continue learning. She has done courses in Business Management, Parenting, Psychology and Makeup and cooking classes.
“Every time there’s an opportunity to do a course I take it. I honestly believe there’s no limit to what a person can learn and they should never stop being a better version of themselves. Hence, the reason I’m still trying to learn not in the designing field but whatever I can grasp as well,” she says.
Her hobbies entail travelling, meeting new people and losing herself into their culture and food. According to her, she “crazily loves” the beach and hopes to someday visit every Latin American country to share in their culture. She loves cooking especially Italian food, and watching Empire.
“When I travel I would buy jeans and t-shirts but all my other clothes are my designs. Every event I have attended here in Guyana I have worn different attire.”
As much as she enjoys travelling Rishma says she’ll always remain here in Guyana. “Guyana is my home. I have a sense of belonging when I am here.”
In a few years her next move would be to open a RP Couture Showroom. Although there will be pieces from her collections on sale she still plans to keep the same concept she has now; where persons would make appointments to see her.
Being the kind of person she is—always thinking of others—Rishma has in the past worked along with charitable organizations such as Help and Shelter, Guyana Red Cross Society and the Red Band-Aid Foundation. She continues her own giving, taking hot meals for homeless persons almost every week.
Some of Rishma’s designs, which are made for all body types, can be seen on the RP Couture Facebook page.