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Bano eeMee on leather jackets and social consciousness

author: kaitlynn nordal  staff writer 

Styling and profiling. aleem arif

At least it’s not conscious leather.

For Aleem Arif of Bano eeMee, moving into fashion and designing leather jackets was an easy decision.  

Although he had been designing for years prior, Bano EeMee truly became a business at the age of 27. 

Making the switch from the world of finance to entrepreneur was a relatively smooth transition. “It was a combination of wanting to work for myself, be creative, and make a difference in the world at the same time” he says. Although starting the brand was a way to create job opportunity, free trade, and work for others, it was also about the people and an expression of self. The process of getting the business off the ground and slowly turning it into something took “about six months to a year,” Arif recalls. “I did not go to fashion school or have formal training in that way so I asked for help a lot,” he mentioned. “They became not only friends but mentors.” 

Arif purposefully chose leather for the medium of his jackets for a few reasons. Since he is not a proponent of fast fashion, leather was a good way to keep upcycling.  

“Leather tells a story and I wanted to create a wardrobe staple that would become part of my customer’s everyday life.  

“I do not really have a particular style influences when designing jackets as I do not really follow trends closely,” Arif stated. “Instead, inspiration can come from architecture, people walking down the street or the particular mood I am in at the time.” A lot of his inspiration comes just from noticing what other people are wearing and wondering how he could edit that particular piece and make it different in one way or another. 

Becoming a socially conscious brand was an easy decision to make.  

“Being socially conscious is just who Canadians are and what we represent,” Arif feels, “and if you are going to do something it should be done right.” Not outsourcing work and being just another fast fashion brand was at the forefront when putting Bano eeMee together. 

The inspiration for the fall collection comes from Canada and the Canadian landscape. The colours are going to be more rooted in earth tones such as chestnut, plum, and of course the classic black. Since the lining of the jackets changes with every collection, the theme for this season is the Canadian motto “from sea to sea.” The pictures on the lining will start in British Columbia with the Rockies and finish with the forests of Newfoundland. The leather will be structured and textured this fall. The cut of all jackets will stay form fitting, functional, and timeless.  

Arif has many shows coming up. The first one will be Thredz in Toronto on Sept. 8 to 11. Right after that he will be heading to the United States for Coterie NYC in New York on Sept. 15 to 17. There will, of course, be various pop ups throughout the fall.  

To look at his designs or find the closet retailer of Bano eeMee you can visit his website at banoeemee.com, and on social media platforms. 

About Kaitlynn Nordal

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