Canadian fashion label Sevin Kasran weaves cultural stories into design

Sep 15 2020, 12:11 pm

Canadian designers Sunny Basran and Kevin Khungay connected over their shared passion for fashion, sports, and music around seven years ago.

Basran graduated from university with an arts degree and considered pursuing a career in teaching. Meanwhile, Khungay studied graphic design and wanted to open a retail store with a bunch of different brands. But the pair, both from Kamloops, BC, quickly shifted courses and decided to launch their label: Sevin Kasran.

Producing garments with meaning is a top priority for Basran and Khungay, and influences from their Indian heritage are woven throughout their work. Before designing their first collection, they travelled the world to “figure out the industry” for themselves. This involved stopping in Italy, Asia, and the US to locate manufacturers and work with endless amounts of fabric samples.

Although the debut Sevin Kasran collection dropped just last year, the label has already hit a huge milestone, garnering interest from NBA players Tobias Harris, Jayson Tatum, and Chris Paul.

“Outside of our parents being our heroes and guiding us, it was these athletes. We played basketball all the time. We looked up to them. They’re a huge inspiration of our determination and our driving factor,” Basran tells Daily Hive.

But for the designers, it goes beyond the idea of celebrities simply wearing Sevin Kasran clothing.

“The majority of those people are growing up in small towns all over the world. They had a dream, made it happen, and worked really hard. I feel like that, for us, was the same thing. Of course, we’re not playing basketball, but by them wearing that [Sevin Kasran designs] was like us walking out of the tunnel and getting our names called.”

Inspirations from the designers’ lives can be seen in their garments. Khungay says the yellow suit from their first collection can be related to the turmeric spice they see in their mothers’ and grandparents’ cooking. But the main message they want to communicate is for people to shift their way of thinking.

Kevin Khungay and Sunny Basran

“When people have something said to them or done to them, they just allow things to happen. That’s not a way we feel that you should live,” says Basran. “We feel that when these moments occur, you need to make a change in order to better your life. That’s what really inspired this collection.”

In terms of the creative design process, the designers book a place where they can stay for a week or two — phones off — immersed in nature. “We start conversating and curating an idea that we want to express, something we feel the world needs,” says Basran.

After they begin storyboarding, they talk about fabrics and colour palettes. Khungay, a graphic designer, then takes the idea and gets it onto the computer. This allows them to get the foundation ready. Next, they meet with their manufacturer and start the process of sampling.

The COVID-19 crisis hasn’t interfered with processes at the Sevin Kasran studio. Khungay says they are thankful everyone in their families has been safe and healthy, and that he and Basran had the chance to work together more in-person. “Our second quarter is actually on pace for our release,” he explains.

However, Khungay thinks the pandemic will change something in the fashion industry; that fast fashion won’t be as prevalent. “We don’t want to release clothing every couple of months or every week like all these brands are. We want to make clothes that you can wear for a whole year,” he says.

Designs by Sevin Kasran

To fund their label without any loans or help from investors, Basran and Khungay continue to work their day jobs. “We both like our creative process, and the control of being able to make what we want when we want,” says Basran. “It’s a hustle and continues to be a hustle.”

The second Sevin Kasran collection is due to launch before the end of the year. Basran explains, “It’s crazy because we thought about this idea a year ago, and now it’s come full circle. It’s because of the time we’re in. The world needs this.”

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