Behida, Behida, Behida… where do I even begin? This woman is a dream. A goddess. A warrior.
She is an exceptional milliner and designer with a discerning creative eye. Bosnian-born, she fled during the Bosnian War, and landed in Hudson, New York.
She lovingly crafts her hats and dresses by hand, carving out a space for herself both within the Hudson community and within the slow-fashion movement.
A cancer survivor, Behida has overcome hardship with unimaginable grace, never losing sight of her passions or goals. Her joyful energy and signature whimsy are contagious and inspiring!
We all have much to learn from Behida. Enjoy!
Describe your personal style in three words.
New Wave Cinema. French 1960’s is definitely my personal style.
You’ve always been a milliner and now you’re expanding into dresses! What is the inspiration behind your collections? And talk to us about your insistence on the hand-made process!
I have been a milliner for many years, but have always dreamed of creating clothing that could go along with my hats. Finally, my dream has come true. Now my shop is filled with poetic linen dresses, straw hats and bags. My inspiration always comes from romance. I want every woman that walks out of my shop to feel beautiful and in a world of her own that resembles Provence, flowers and poetry. I’m committed to the process of making hats by hand because that is my art, and my art is my life.
You’re not a stranger to change and adaptation. When you lost your hair during chemo, you used it as a moment to reinvent yourself and your look. What did that inner-journey feel like? And where do you think your strength comes from?
As human beings we are remarkably adaptable. You would be surprised what one can get used to if you really have to. Once I lost my hair to chemo I had major grief about my hair loss, among many other things. My long hair has always made me feel feminine and beautiful. Cancer has a way of stripping down all things superficial, and you are left with nothing but the truth. There you are, alone with your soul, holding hands and looking for light, life and beauty anywhere you can find it. So I did just that. I started to create things that would make me feel beautiful.
The first step for me was to create dresses with very large collars. Something about large collars and being bald makes one feel very feminine. Time and time again, I have learned that if you can’t have something here and now, you can always close your eyes and ask your heart and soul to help you create the things you want. My creativity has always helped me adapt, persevere and paint my way through life.
What does it mean for you to be a part of this group of creative and fabulous Hudson women and small-business owners?
I feel honored to be a part of this incredible group of women! One thing that most people don’t realize when they come to Hudson is that almost the entire town is run by women business owners. That’s amazing to me! I was born and raised in Bosnia, where women do not have opportunities to be artists, entrepreneurs and small business owners. As you can imagine, Hudson is a dream come true for someone like me.
What is next for you?
There are so many beautiful things in my future and I can see them so clearly. I will create dresses and hats for women across the world. I will be forever cancer free! I will continue to grow my business and open a store in LA and one in Europe. And one day I will move all of my manufacturing from New York to Bosnia, where I can provide jobs for women like me and I can contribute to the cure of breast cancer, which is the number one killer of Bosnian women. And I will strive to be true to myself and create beauty in this world, for as long as I live.