Karissa Besharah is Designing for the Modern Woman

Born and raised in Ottawa, Karissa Besharah is a designer pushing limits in the women’s fashion industry. Growing up, she always found a need to be creative, whether it was designing home decor, costumes or repurposing clothes in her closet. After attending Richard Robinson Academy of Fashion Design, Karissa had her light bulb moment leading her to continue in the fashion industry.

Karissa’s Canadian roots have inspired to keep her designs local. “When designing, I consult with close designer friends so it becomes a collaborative process. It very important to me that Ottawa continues to rise as a fashion capital. I hope to see in the near future an increase in platforms where creatives can showcase their work on a global stage.”

Designing Her Way

“It’s is about producing your highest quality work,” Karissa shares. Her background in Haute Couture inspires each intricate detail to produce her authentic hand crafted designs. Her style is a fusion incorporating a mix of soft and hard elements, like a delicate floral dress with a structured metal birdcage or creating a beautiful form fitting cocktail dress with over 100 metal grommets that lace up the back. “It’s a recurring theme to see a mix of soft elements; breezy fabrics, flowers, ruffles with a mix of hard; grommets, metal zippers, boning structures among many of my pieces.”

Her piece “Flourishing Uncage” is a wearable art piece with months of development and planning behind it. The structure is made of steel hoop boning encased in gold silk manipulated to appear as a birdcage. Over 300 silk flowers drape the metal along with cream colored ostrich feathers that cinch the waistline. This piece is one that is sure to turn heads representing her muse.

The Modern Woman

“I design for my muse, ‘the modern women’. SHE is fierce, eccentric, has major sex appeal but always keeps it classy.” Karissa explained that people admire her design aesthetic because each garment is handcrafted, keeping her in her element. Her inspirations come from favourite designers such as Ralph & Russo, Greta Constantine (Canadian Designer) and Michael Costello as well as her family and friends. Karissa’s passion has earned her the opportunity to be mentored by Stacey Bafi-Yeboa CEO of Canadian Luxury Sweatshirt brand KANIA and to follow her to New York Fashion Week while contributing to the sample making process and assistant responsibilities. Karissa hopes to one day showcase her work at New York Fashion Week as a young designer slaying the runway and representing her Canadian Roots and talent.