International clothing designer Clara Lago Rashidian is taking the fashion industry by storm from her headquarters in Key Biscayne.
With stores in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Greece and Mexico, Rashidian’s Pitusa offers the latest in luxury fashion in women’s beachwear, sundresses, pajamas, kaftans and apparel. Pituša even attracted the attention of world stars.
Colombian music artist Shakira, retired tennis star Serena Williams and Colombian actress Sofía Vergara are photographed in Rashidian’s Peruvian-inspired beachwear, resortwear and loungewear.
Williams was seen on the TV show “The Bachelorette”, Shakira had Instagram posts showing her in Pitusa clothes, Vergara was seen in a sundress while shopping in Hollywood.
“It was pretty wild to see Shakira wearing them,” said Rashidian, 36. “It really blew me away and was such a confidence booster. Someone with a high profile wearing the brand was crazy.”
Born in the United Kingdom, Rashidian moved to Key Biscayne to live with her father and attend college. She later moved to Brickell, where 12 years ago she started a fashion design business in her house with money borrowed from her parents.
Their investment paid off.
Today, Rashidian has retail stores in Miami, Mexico and Greece, with plans to expand in Key Biscayne and elsewhere.
To test the market in Key Biscayne, Rashidian held a successful sample sale last week. “It was wild and absolute chaos,” she said, noting that people were filling multiple boxes with her clothes.
The clothing line reflects the lifestyle of Key Biscayne, where people enjoy sandy beaches and relaxing by the pool. “The extras are all-inclusive with the beaches,” she said.
Rashidian said she was fresh out of college when the housing and economic crisis hit in 2008. She realized that despite the economy, the market for women’s beachwear was doing well.
“Things you can wear — it’s fun and colorful,” she recalled. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
To market her brand, Rashidian has worked with national and international wholesale companies and many distributors in London, Greece and Canada.
Eventually, she decided to open brick-and-mortar stores to connect with customers on a more personal level.
Rashidian said the response was “crazy.”
Rashidian opened her first Pitusa store in Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami that is home to trendy art galleries, retail stores, antique shops, eclectic bars and artisan restaurants. She has a 10,000 square foot building that includes a warehouse to distribute her clothing and office space for her team in Liberty City.
She eventually opened a second store in Greece and a third in Tulum, Mexico.
Rashidian lived in Key Biscayne on and off for years, but decided to stay permanently when she was pregnant with her second child. He has two sons aged two and four.
“But I came back to Key Biscayne when I was pregnant … because Key Biscayne is a paradise for children,” she said.
Rashidian, who was an actress in the UK, said she would love to teach drama at the Key Biscayne Community Center – something she did before her fashion design business took off.
“I would like to start teaching drama classes again to get involved and give back to the community,” she said. “I don’t have time right now, but one day I will because I really enjoyed it.”