Chamiah Dewey is the founder and CEO of Chamiah Dewey Fashion. She is 23, and lives in Hampshire in the UK with her partner, where she works from home, designing clothing for people of short stature. She enjoys living an active and healthy lifestyle and is currently on a trauma healing journey. She is learning to practise boundaries, slower living and going to therapy!
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before the venture/ corporate journey?
I grew up in social housing, my mum was on benefits, and I have 5 younger siblings. We also grew up with her abusive ex-partner, to which made me move out at 17 years old. Since then, I have built a life for myself independently, and as part of that, I started my brand during university!
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business/initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
While I always knew that I’d be a fashion designer from a really young age, and I also knew that I wanted to make women feel amazing, it wasn’t until 2018 when I realized what my life purpose was!
In 2018, on a youth program that I work on seasonally, I met a young person with Achondroplasia, the most common form of Dwarfism. She made such a huge impact on me, from her resilience living in a world too big for her, to her openness to talk about her condition, it taught me a lot! I wondered where she bought her clothing from (as someone who is always thinking about fashion!), after some online research, I found that there wasn’t anyone really making stylish clothing that was affordable and that young people would want to wear… and I thought, ‘I could do that!’.
So after I had that lightbulb moment, I did some extensive research and development, and Chamiah Dewey Fashion was born!
I’ve never wanted to work for anyone else, so it was a no-brainer to just get on and do it, the earlier the better!
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
Currently I am a one-woman army, I am the CEO, Founder, marketeer, web designer, graphic designer etc.
My day-to-day is focused on making the brand 1% better everyday. I want to be the one-stop-shop and globally recognised retailer for short stature people. I want to be the Long-Tall-Sally for little people.
I believe that people under 4’10” are some of the most forgotten about people in the world. We recognise people of different genders, sexualities, races, religions, disabilities etc. but we fail to recognise those of short stature – so I want to challenge that!
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
My biggest accomplishment to date was taking Chamiah Dewey Fashion to London Fashion Week in September 2022. I launched my debut bridal and occasion wear collection for short stature women, and the response has been outstanding.
On the day, there was lots of emotion, I sobbed like a baby hearing the crowd cheer for my models as they did their final walk, the models expressed their gratitude for feeling so beautiful and seen in our gowns, and the crowd clapped and cheered the loudest for our models too. It was the best day of my life.
The response since has been nothing short of inspiring. Our Tik Tok reached 6.1 million views and went to all corners of the globe. The comments are full of short stature people expressing their gratitude, excitement and hope for seeing what we had created.
The thing that is the most exciting about this is that we don’t even know the full extent of the impactful ripples we’ve made in people’s lives. Representation is key in building confidence and resilience within communities, and this is something I am extremely passionate about!
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
If I could change anything it would be the representation of short stature people in the media. I want to see them on our TV screens, on billboards, on the front cover of Vogue magazine etc… and I want fashion brands to recognise that there are people under 5’2” that need and want beautiful and accessible clothing too!
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
Women’s leadership is integral to changing the narrative of the way things are done in the world, and in the fashion industry in particular! While I recognise that we need both men and women in the workforce (thats what feminism is all about!), women are known for their nurturing, empathic and creative qualities. It is these qualities that are needed to change the way garment workers are treated in our industry. The fashion industry is currently led by men, so it is no surprise that it is extremely capitalistic and doesn’t value the lives of those ‘at the bottom’ of the supply chain. I believe that women could be the force that changes this narrative.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Find your purpose in life and follow it. It most definitely won’t be a smooth journey but it is one worth pursuing none-the-less! We are on this earth to fulfill our purpose, so why not get started right away.