Sisters Bianca and Kamara Sivada struggled to find fashionable clothing that could accommodate their curves, so they chose to start their own fashion brand celebrating the beauty of more shapely women.
“We always struggled to find clothing that fitted us because most retailers do not cater for curvaceous women. They mass produce via one pattern and it’s mostly European sizes. We decided to make clothing for women like us who have curves, women have shape – and we wanted to cater for everyone out there,” says Bianca.
Their label, VADA by Sivada, was launched last year and offers head-turning clothes that are designed to work with your curves and hug the body in all the right places. The brand is not just a clothing business, it’s aimed at empowering women to embrace their beauty and sensuality, says Kamara.
“Bianca and I are a brand ourselves and VADA is a business. We realise that people buy from people and we wanted to create this brand as sisters then use VADA as a platform to showcase who we are,” Kamara says.
“Our clothing is for women who really want to make it for themselves. We have more
women in business now than ever and women in general are becoming more powerful. We want to make VADA a leading fashion empire for women to express and value themselves. It’s a celebration of women,” she says.
Based in Century City, they have become recognisable faces on the Cape Town social scene. Their style has earned them a strong social media following across the world and with their glamorous lifestyle and love of fashion, the siblings are often compared to the Kardashian sisters.
“We get compared to the Kardashians everywhere we go. I admire how they (the Kardashians) have created this million dollar empire,” says Bianca.
“They are very stylish women but we don’t really look up to them for style inspiration. Our signature twopieces are our best sellers and we did them before the Kardashians made them popular,” says Kamara.
The VADA brand was born after a trip to London where the sisters discovered the amount of fashion choices available to women.
“We saw that fashion is actually a big thing and we realised that South Africa needs a label that can offer women of all shapes fitted clothing that will make them feel glamorous,” says Bianca.
Their first attempt at making a dress was a disaster, she explains. “We made this black dress which was plain and fitted but it came out so odd and just didn’t look right. We hated it. Now we use a seamstress and we do the designing and the creative process,” she explains.
Their first collection was inspired by the idea of Greek goddesses and their latest collection by that of Arabian princesses.
“Each collection is inspired by women of power and influence, says Bianca, the older of the two sisters.
She says their family background has been influenced by many cultures. “That’s where most of our inspiration comes from for our designs. They represent who we are as people, our mother is Greek and our father is Zimbabwean and Spanish.
“We love stretchy and flowy fabric with a luxury feel and all our fabrics and production is
local. For inspiration, we look at what is trending, but we are not slaves to trends.
“We are inspired by what celebrities are wearing, we get influence everywhere – even from movies and Game of Thrones.
“We use a lot of neutral colours, such as gold, black and nudes because they go
with everything and most skin tones,” says Kamara.
“The designers we look up to include Versace and Chanel for the clean, simple and feminine designs. Locally, we love David Tlale. We like that he is not just a designer, but has actually branded himself as a personality. He is the king of fashion in SA,” says Bianca.
They admit that getting the business off the ground was hard work as finding the right production team was not easy.
“Fabric sourcing is hard work, as we have very limited fabrics in SA. It’s also hard growing your business financially, putting money back into your business and expanding.
“When you are young it’s very difficult to do that because you want to spend money partying or on a new set of heels,” says Kamara.
“We had to learn to be strict on ourselves and to know that it’s a business and not just a hobby. Getting our brand out there was a challenge at first as people didn’t know about us and they don’t take you seriously when you are starting out,” she says.
Their future plans include growing the VADA brand nationally, as well as internationally in Dubai where the sisters already have a following.
The two are not limiting themselves to fashion design, but are budding media personalities as well. They will be featured in an upcoming DStv entertainment TV show called Pop Report, on which they will have a segment reporting on the latest fashion news and trends.
The show is co-produced by model and actress Natalie Becker and will be report on national and international entertainment and celebrity news.
“We always knew that we would do something like this since we were at Sans Souci Girls’ High School, where we never really blended in. And we’ve always had a love for marketing and for designing,” says Kamara.
The duo are always keen to share their knowledge and have these tips for women with fuller figures:
To enhance your curves, wear a lighter colour at the bottom and a darker shade on top, ays Bianca. “And if you want to make everything look smaller go for total black.
“High-waisted skirts and pants will complement your curvy figure. Use belts to accentuate your waist. Underwear that fits correctly is also very important. If a bra is too tight it will give you unflattering rolls on the sides.” “A pair of heels lifts the booty and will give you proper posture.
“You can never have enough heels,” adds Kamara.
●VADA by Sivada is available online and at one Cape Town stockist. For moreinformation visit www.vadabysivada.co.za and find them on Instagram at VADAbySivada.
This article first appeared in the Cape Argus on July 15 2015.