Rashad Calhoun

Dahsar by Rashad Calhoun, LLC was established in 2007 by self-taught fashion designer Rashad Calhoun.  The 2007 Chester High School graduate has been able to express himself freely through his designs.  Dahsar caters to men and women of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, which includes prominent socialites and reality stars.

Mr. Calhoun, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania (just 19 miles south of Philadelphia) started designing clothes when he was 13-years old.  Uncertain, that he could have a career in fashion, Mr. Calhoun continued to express himself by expanding his brand, which has led to his designs being featured in vibe, 10 and Amina magazines.

Mr. Calhoun gained national recognition in the fashion world when he was invited to New York’s Fashion Week to showcase his trending fashions: “The Black Collection.”  In September 2014, Mr. Calhoun accepted multiple invites to Paris’ Fashion Week to display his clothing line.  In Paris, Mr. Calhoun was requested by a renown boutique to display featured designs from his collections.  Mr. Calhoun was also invited to showcase some pieces from his Dahsar by Rashad collection in New York during the NBA All-Star weekend in February 2015.

Mr. Calhoun has made a name for himself in the fashion world by styling for many celebrity clients.  His vasts resume includes, Syleena Johnson and Lil Mo from TV One hit reality show “R&B Divas”; reality star Diamond Strawberry (Baseball legend Darryl Strawberry’s daughter) of “Love and Hip Hop New York”; Rain Pryor (daughter of comedian Richard Pryor); Mike McCluney of Day 26 and formerly of MTVs Making the Band; Mariah Lynn of “Love and Hip Hop New York”; Moriah Lee of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Brooklyn Nets for Fashion Magazine, a Sophia Davis Magazine; Natalie DiDonato of “Mob Wives”; Charlie Baltimore; and so many more.

HMM. What was life growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in? RC:  Life growing up, I had a very supportive family.  As a child, I always had an interest in art and fashion. I would cut up jeans and clothes that my mother would buy me and recreate it into something new. My mom never understood  why I was cutting up expensive clothing that she bought me, but she finally understands today.

HMM.  How old were you when you knew this was your calling and what you were going to do with the rest of your life? RC:  When I was the age of 14, I bought my own sewing machine. At that time, I didn’t even know how to use it! Soon after, I went to the store and bought easy patterns and would be at home cutting them out from fabric. In my spare time, between school and chores, I learned how to make simple designs.  I guess in some ways you can say I am self-taught.

HMM.  Were you a dreamer growing up?  What kind of dreams did you have?  I was definitely a dreamer when I was young! Looking around me growing up, I used to have a sense that things were impossible. Yet, even with that thought, I never lost faith in myself and/or my dream.  I used to have dreams that I was styling celebrities and attending red carpet events and now it’s coming to life!  Anyone reading this “believe in yourself!” I am a firm believer that “my past does not define my future!”

HMM.  Where were you born and where do you reside?   I was born in a small city outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called Chester. I currently still reside there.  I am proud of where I came from!   

HMM.  What made you decide to be a clothing designer?  Who were some of your earliest influences?  I love uniqueness. I always felt like I stood out amongst the rest of my family and friends.  Most importantly, I always liked to create a different style that was my own. I was influenced by designers such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Versace and so many more. I loved the versatility of their looks.

“Fashion and style are a way to present yourself without having to say a word!”

HMM.  Was it hard breaking into the business?  Who are some of the celebrities you have styled? Explain that experience. Personally, I would not say it was hard, or would I say it was easy, but it definitely required ALOT of sleepless nights, hard work and dedication. After being featured at New York Fashion Week, I received a call from Richard Pryor’s daughter asking me to make her a dress for a red carpet event “Whoopie Goldberg at the Apollo.”  From that moment on, my career took off.  A few bumps in the road, but as they like to say “what does not kill you, will make you stronger!”  I think during this journey, my ups and downs have strengthened me.

HMM. How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as the fashion industry can be very cut throat?  I pretty much remain the same. I don’t entertain any negativity. I have no problem helping fellow fashion designers out. There is room for all of us, we all can win.

HMM. When designing, what do you enjoy more? Definitely, prom gowns and designing lines for fashion week. Fashion week lets me design and shows my personality.

HMM.  How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance?  Splitting time between you and your family?  It or tand be happy if they supersis actually not that difficult. My wife supports my career. We take turns raising our two beautiful children.

HMM.  Would you consider yourself a driven person?  You are considered a “Powerhouse of Fashion.”  What makes you a powerhouse? What is the source of your strength? My creativity drives me and that is also the source of my strength. Give me a theme and I will run with it! One can say I am a trendsetter by nature.

HMM.  How would you define peace? Designing is my peace. Making clothes keeps me calm and focused. It is very meditating and soothing when in my zone.

HMM.  What can we expect from you in the future?  Do you own your own store or
is that a dream of yours? A LOT! Dahsar by Rashad WILL BE A HOUSEHOLD NAME! Own it and Claim it. In the future, there will definitely be a store, but right now with bookings, I travel WAY TOO MUCH!    

HMM.  What advice would you offer others who are interested in becoming a designer (or who has a dream)?

Designing is a VERY, VERY strict and timely hobby. It becomes a career when you stick with it! Remember when you have a passion for something,“YOU ARE YOUR NUMBER 1 SUPPORTER!”  If you do not believe in yourself and your passion, no one else will.