We Want To Know: Shenaz Mohammed
Intelligent, articulate, sincere, just, humble, stylish, kind – these are a few words that come to mind when I think of Shenaz Mohammed. She is an inspirational woman of substance and style, and today I have the great pleasure of introducing her to you. Shenaz is a lawyer by profession who bears a deep love for fashion, arts and culture, and I'm fascinated by the way she has carved out a unique career at the intersection of these diverse interests. She is the founder of Fashion By Law, a consulting firm offering corporate and legal services that cater to fashion brands and other creative entrepreneurs; she is also the founder of Charter of Fashion, a curated online fashion boutique featuring designer brands. We chatted recently so that I could get to know her better and share her story with you.
These days, Shenaz navigates seamlessly between law and fashion worlds, so it may surprise you to learn that entering the fashion industry professionally was not originally on her career plan. Shenaz knew she wanted to be a lawyer ever since the age of 16. She excelled at law subjects in high school, and, further propelled by a desire for all things just and fair, pursued a higher education in legal studies. After graduating with a double major in sociology and psychology, Shenaz moved to London, England, where she received her degree in international law from the University of London. After completing her program, she took some time to travel around Europe, during which time she discovered a passion for architecture, culture and fashion. Family reasons prompted her return home to Canada after a year of traveling, and though she initially anticipated returning to the UK to work, she decided to stay in Canada and therefore embarked on further studies to convert her UK legal standing for a degree that qualified her to work in Ontario. It was while Shenaz was working through these conversion courses that she connected with a friend who had a fashion boutique, selling and tailoring clothing from well-known brands, but who was not expressing his talent to the fullest extent, and Shenaz suggested that he create his own brand; together they co-founded a luxury menswear label, combining his eye for design with her knowledge of business.
Shenaz' knowledge of the fashion industry quickly increased from there – as Director of Operations for the menswear brand, she enlisted the label into the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up, a competition for emerging designers, where the label reached the semi-finals. From there, she produced some shows for World MasterCard Fashion Week and through her involvement ended up making contacts and friends in the Toronto fashion industry. Shenaz struck up a friendship with Jeff Rustia, founder of TOM* (Toronto Men's Fashion Week), and her menswear label was among the first brands to sign up with the burgeoning organization showcasing men's fashion. Eventually it was time to move on from the menswear label she helped create, but her involvement in fashion did not end there – she was invited to join the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) as Business Developer where she further developed her knowledge of fashion and business and cultivated even more relationships with designers and others in the fashion industry.
Armed with education and experience in fashion, business and law, Shenaz realized that fashion law was an untapped niche that she wanted to develop, and thus Fashion By Law was conceived. Designers are often not corporately driven and are instead motivated by their desire to create, but they do have needs like any other business has, and Fashion By Law offers corporate and legal services that have been tailored for fashion designers and other creatives so that they can focus on their craft. The main focus of Fashion By Law is to ensure that designers are running their business as efficiently as possible. Charter of Fashion, Shenaz' online boutique, is a natural extension of this idea – designers are so busy creating, designing, sewing, that they have little time to market their labels (some do not even have online shops, let alone a web presence), and she started her boutique to fill this gap and give designers exposure to an audience of potential customers. Shenaz is proud of the talent that Canada produces and wants to change the global perception of fashion made in Canada. She has aggressive plans to discover untapped designers from Canada and around the world and bring them together into her curated collection of designer brands available from her boutique.
Shenaz is all about putting forth good, positive energy into everything she does and always with the bigger picture in mind. She has a lovely, kind and supportive demeanor, and these traits, combined with the wealth of knowledge that she possesses, are going to result in great success for her. I look forward to watching her star continue to rise!
Want more? Let's here from Shenaz herself – here's what We Want To Know:
I can't start my morning without… Thanking the good Lord for another glorious day, a strong cup of tea, and music…it’s a religion to me, I have tunes for every occasion.
I have a weakness for… Animals, sour keys, poutine and Doritos (sweet Chilli flavour lol)
Most people don't know that I… am very well travelled and enjoy learning about different cultures.
Currently reading… The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
I want… to be able to make a tangible difference in the way Canadians view our home grown talents in creative spheres starting with the Fashion Industry; “Made in Canada” means made with integrity and quality and this notion and actualization is one that requires support and funding from all levels of government and commerce. Through my ventures and affiliations I hope to provide services that aid creative entrepreneurs with necessary corporate structures and strategic marketing tools that establish viable lucrative outcomes to their bottom line. Fashion by Law is a consulting firm that provides corporate and legal services to start up and well established brands, Charter of Fashion is an online boutique that showcases select designers and highlights their brands through our marketing channels and offers them an e-commerce platform to congregate. I strongly believe there is power in numbers for complimentary brands and this can go a long way in terms of exposure to the same target market.
Thank you, Shenaz, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!
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