“When I was growing up Mama had a fashion clothing house called Shashiko (Ndebele), origin Zimbabwe, which translates to ‘apron’, which is traditionally a leather apron worn by women.”
Lilly Pilly first discovered Quashani Bahd on the crowded & full of life dance floor at More Fire of August 2011. Being one of the few female dancehall vocalists in Melbourne at the time, she stood out like a blazing fire of a welcoming ceremony in her red, gold & green get up.
Since then she has set the bar for multi-creative ladies in this fine city, with her photography work with varies dancehall/reggae events, and also a big name to drop, Muma Doesa’s portraits, as well as on her own fashion label “House of BoHoChic”. Which leads us on to Quashani’s next big creative talent of fashion design. “House of BoHoChic” is a range of very colourful, eye-catching, hand-made and beautiful accessories.
As of recent months from 2013 and now following on to 2014, Quashani has been working with Muma Doesa on a musical collaboration, Bahdoesa. An exciting infusion of reggae, dancehall & hip-hop, they have a magical power to uplift a crowd with their lyrical spills & booty shaking/hip twining beats. They dress to impress with their bold, yet extremely colourful, appearance of style.
“Quashani says her creations are a medium through which she shares the gift of her creative and expressive talent with women that appreciate boldness. “ – House of BoHoChic Facebook
Via e-mail, Lilly Pilly has gotten behind the girl of Quashani and has a story like no other, going back to where it all begun. This is Quashani Bahd & this is her story:
1. What was your background for creativity? Education, upbringing?
I would have to say my background for creativity is my upbringing. When I was growing up Mama had a fashion clothing house called Shashiko (Ndebele), origin Zimbabwe, which translates to ‘apron’, which is traditionally a leather apron worn by women.
She created clothing whose signature style added a contemporary twist to the traditional and used crochet material and bold fabric to achieve this unique fusion.
I on the other hand admired the fashion and was always in awe of the unique creations but my interest was more in art and drawing.
I had always enjoyed dance and music as a young girl but it wasn't until Grade 5 when I was 10 that I graced the stage, mic in hand and fell in love with the limelight for the very first time. It was Talent Show &Tell at school, the first of many to come and I sang "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)” written by Rudy Clark. The song was made a hit when recorded by Betty Everett, who hit No. 1 on the Cashbox magazine R&B charts with it in 1964. Also important to note the song was also recorded by dozens of artists and groups around the world in the decades since, the song became an international hit when remade by Cher in 1990. I also sang Venus In Blue Jeans”, a 1962 song written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller and was recorded in 1962 by Jimmy Clanton.
My eclectic listening was formed at a young age and is a reflection of my Fathers vast collection of music which ranged anywhere from ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Sade, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Toots & the Maytals and Bob Marley, to mention a few.
2. How would you best describe your style in fashion, music & art?
My style in fashion is unique and bold. I am what you would refer to as a trendsetter. I always like to keep it fresh and a tad edgy embracing anything from bohemian, tribal, vintage and elegant chic with an afro twist I mostly enjoy clashing prints and mixing it up with complimentary bold colours.
As for music, my signature style of the music I write is something I have coined ‘Regglues’ . It is a "passion for reggae and an adoration for the blues". Soul fuelled music, stories of love, passion, self-belief and positive self-image. I write a lot from my experiences and from the perspective of being a young woman and so my body of work embodies just that.
Art is always imitating life and my art is drawn from the inspiration of life all around us. Art should be pleasing to the eye enough to make a profound connection of sorts.
3. What are the main Influences & Motivations for your creativity?
My channels of creativity are shared between my fashion and music. Particularly focusing on fashion I could say that I draw inspiration from all around me. In nature, in architecture, in art, in the diversity of cultures and even fashion trends to name a few.
4. Do you have any goals for the next 2 years?
Goals. Goals. Goals. I’d like to be kicking some goals over the next 2 years.
One of my primary goals is to always be evolving in my art and creations. I would love to grow with my ideas through some learned techniques. To help me achieve this desire I would need a Mentor. My accessory design is founded on no learned technique or prior experience. I have no training or formal education. I guess you could say it's a gift or raw talent. Now putting that into consideration I manifest the opportunity to find a Mentor I could learn from so I can achieve this goal and fulfill my desire to continually grow.
The other primary goal is launching my first album titled “Born to Shine” next year. This year I will be launching a five track EP titled “Bahd Gyal Rhymes” that will be a taster of both the upcoming first and later second album. Both reflective of my body of work over the last 5years.
Secondary to my primary goals is my aspiration to take on the opportunity to share my talent and passion in both music and fashion through running workshops facilitated by various Councils to empower different women of migrant backgrounds.
Through my music and fashion I have had the opportunity to donate my time to support local charities. “Anything for a great cause”, I always say. I have had the pleasure of being a part of Oxfam Fundraiser 2010, Sisters for Sisters 2011,2012, 2013 and 2014. I would to continue to be a part of good causes to help raise awareness and funds for different charitable organizations for which I am passionate about. I strive to be an Ambassador for positive change in our community.
5. What comments would you like to add on your success so far?
It has been amazing journey thus, every opportunity be it fashion or music has been a sheer blessing and I am ever so grateful. The journey has been sweet but 2013 was a particularly sweet year. Between my first showcase for RAW (Natural Born Artists) Australia for House of BohoChic by Quashani and winning Africa’s Got Talent it was a blessed year. I can only hope that 2014 will be brighter, better, bigger and even sweeter.
6. What advice would you give to young ladies out there about making their mark in this society?
Ladies, be open to opportunities, embrace them gracefully, be patient, tenacious, and diligent and above all believe in yourself.