Fashion

Sheila Rashid Spills the Tea on Her Collaboration With 'The Chi'

We caught up with the Chi-town native to find out more.

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Sheila Rashid Spills the Tea on Her Collaboration With 'The Chi'

We caught up with the Chi-town native to find out more.

Chicago-based designer Sheila Rashid has garnered a burgeoning community of fashion fans over the years, including executive producer and actor Lena Waithe. The growing creative relationship between the duo resulted in an all-new collaboration for Waithe’s TV show, The Chi, set in the south side of Chicago.

“I’ve always been a fan of the show since season one and I’ve made custom pieces for Lena before. She loves my work and the feeling is mutual and we’ve been cool ever since,” the designer tells Hypebae.

Created to showcase the rich variety of talent and culture in Chicago, the new collaboration sees Rashid highlighting characters from the show alongside neighbourhood hot spots and community favorites. Keeping the fan community front and center, designs were created by Rashid before they were voted for by the public and eventually put into production.

We caught up with the fan-favorite designer to find out more about her route into fashion design, love for Chicago and plans for the future.

Scroll down for the full interview.

sheila rashid designer chicago buildings hoodie the chi lena waithe

Tell us a bit about how you got started in design, what’s your journey been like so far?
I got into design in high school. I’d hand paint on T-shirts and sell or give away to my peers. It was a way to express myself. I got more into sewing going into college. I started making clothes from scratch and knew I had a passion for it.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the universe and things around me. My experiences from traveling, creating, and family all inspire me to make new collections.

Most recently, you’ve joined forces with the team behind The Chi, creating a capsule collection inspired by the series. What drew you to the show? How did that collaboration come about?
What drew me to the show is the name and the fact that my friend [series creator and Executive Producer] Lena Waithe was the one behind it. Calling it The Chi, I knew it was going to be a good series because it embodies the slang of the Chicagoans. My collaboration with The Chi came naturally. I’ve always been a fan of the show since season one and I’ve made custom pieces for Lena before. She loves my work and the feeling is mutual and we’ve been cool ever since.

The show is set in Chicago, where you grew up. How did it feel to be able to showcase the city through your work?
To be able to showcase the city I grew up in through my work felt so fulfilling. It’s always a pleasure to create something specific to a place I call home.

sheila rashid designer chicago buildings hoodie the chi lena waithe

What can you tell us about your creative process behind the collaboration? Where did you begin?
The creative process took a lot of different designs at first, at least 20. Trying to narrow it down to the winning design took a minute because I had so many different ideas. The team finally chose 4 solid designs where we took it to the fans of the show to vote on their favorite top 2 designs. It started with researching the history of the show, what year did it first air, the cast members names, etc. Though I had already seen all the episodes, I wanted to be prepared as possible to come up with something so authentic that ties in the city and the series, simultaneously.

What has the response been like from fans of the show and also your community?
The response has been huge! The Chi universe has a big following and they’ve all shown love and it feels good to know I did the show and the city right. I loved seeing Lena Waithe, Jacob Latimore, Michael V. Epps and Amari Noelle Ferguson posting and wearing the merch. It means a lot!

Finally, what’s next for you? What are some of the other goals and plans for the future?
What’s next for me is finding a new story to tell. I’ve got more art, new collections and pop-up shops on the horizon, including one in NY in August alongside brand Caos Motē. A fashion show in October will be announced soon. My goal is to continue to go with the flow and collaborate more with other artists, athletes and workshops for kids.

The Chi season six episodes stream Fridays on the Paramount+ With SHOWTIME Plan.

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