Nazia Rahman is a young and up-and-coming fashion designer focused on creating vibrant and colorful dresses that represent the rich culture of her Bangladesh roots. A talented artist, Nazia Rahman speaks on her background and her fashion brand NAZIA RAHMAN, in this Mess Magazine exclusive interview.
All fashion designers are artists, but not all artists are fashion designers. Could you speak more on how your dream of being an artist paved the road towards becoming a fashion designer?
I consider myself an artist, and I like to work on different canvases. Fashion to me is an art, in which the canvas is the human form. Thus, I found the challenge quite interesting – to create art pieces through dresses and gowns. Even, though it wasn’t what I always aspired to be, the possibilities of this field spurred my interest and I soon found myself sketching my way into this field, exploring it one dress at a time.
Are there advantages or disadvantages of being from and studying art/fashion in a country not known for its art scene?
Fashion design is still a new career path in the country, therefore the majority of people have yet to completely understand the depth or relevance of it – this might be the disadvantage. But, there are far more advantages of being from my culture where although fashion is new, the art scene has always been big. Our culture has always celebrated art and colours and integrated them in our festivities. The rich cultural heritage is a huge inspiration for creating vibrant and unique designs – thus offering a distinctive palate to the world audience.
It’s been 2 years since you launched NAZIA RAHMAN, where do you see the brand 2 years from now?
In the last 2 years, I have been able to curve my own style, and my clientele. I now want to progress slowly and steadily by creating unique and high-quality pieces with the ultimate goal to establish NAZIA RAHMAN as a true luxury brand.
How does your culture/background influence your designs?
The Bengali culture witnesses six different seasonal changes throughout the year. Each season brings in unique festivals and colors nature distinctively. These festivities and hues have hugely influenced my paintings and designs, as you must’ve seen in my shows that are booming with vibrant colors.
If fashion design wasn’t an option, what do you think you would be doing now?
I am fascinated with historic art! I personally feel the art of the bygone times is unmatched in terms of precision and storytelling. I would definitely have gone into art restoration– it wouldn’t have been a job, but a passion.
What was the most difficult part of becoming a fashion designer that most people don’t realize?
The society still disregards this profession and is yet to give the respect and recognition it deserves. It is treated as a very easy career, and people fail to understand the immense work that goes behind creating every single piece. One needs to tap into their creativity, business acumen and technical skills to thrive in this profession. It is also very challenging in today’s fast paced fashion world to stand out and be relevant since everyone can access the same inspiration as everyone else, and styles and trends can be easily replicated.
Other than pottery, what other artwork do you practice? Do you think your skills in pottery and art transfer over to designing fashion?
Other than pottery, I indulge in Expressionism painting. It is the truest way through which I express myself. Art takes vision, the desire to tell a story; it takes patience and attention to detail – all of which is applied to fashion too.
What brand would you love to collaborate with in the future?
I simply find Dolce & Gabbana’stake on fashion eclectic! How they take quirky forms and use paintings as prints in their clothing is mesmerizing. Even though it seems far-fetched currently, but I would love to collaborate with them in the future.
Is NAZIA RAHMAN solely focused on dresses or do you create other wearable fashion, such as shoes and jewelry?
NAZIA RAHMANwants to paint the personality of the wearer, and a dress is usually the full look and thus a complete painting. I want to further accessorize the look, thus want to venture into jewelry – make pieces of miniature sculptures.
What was going through your mind at your first event showcasing NAZIA RAHMAN? Were you nervous? Did everything go according to plan?
Asian Designer Week SS’17 was where I first showcased my design after launching NAZIA RAHMAN– the label. I began the day with much confidence, but as the final hours came closer, I quickly felt immense pressure and nervousness. The reality dawned on me, and I felt both surreal and grateful to be part of the event. To tell a secret, I was so anxious that I almost fell during the final bow in the finale! But, finally everything fell into place and went exactly as I hoped.
After designing a dress on paper, what are the next steps you take to make that design a reality?
I spend a large portion of time designing on paper. While, sketching a silhouette, I begin to envision the final look – whether the fabric, the color or the drapes. Once, the sketch is complete, begins the process of envisioning every aspect of it to reality. I begin to drape and create a pattern while simultaneously sourcing the fabric and accessories. After much trial and error of working with the form on a dress-form/fit-model, the final look comes together.
When you’re not designing clothing or making artwork, what hobbies do you enjoy participating in?
I am most alive when I travel to historical places – it is my constant source of inspiration. The stories that the places hold and the detail of every façade stimulate my imagination and drive my art.
How do you define fashion and is NAZIA RAHMANincluded in that definition?
Fashion is an art form, where the body is the canvas. The possibilities are endless and it is the perfect way to paint the story of the wearer – elaborate her personality, her mood, and her individuality. I created NAZIA RAHMANwith the vision to create art and use art in my designs and collections.
Should we be expecting any showcasing events or launches from NAZIA RAHMANsoon?
I am currently working on my new collection inspired by and using my paintings that will be very much inline to my last collection while holding its own individualistic story to tell. I hope to showcase this collection soon either in India or USA.