Categories
Fashion

Fashion Business Uncovered.

As I had mentioned in my last blog, I was invited to speak at 2 different events. The second one I am about to share is pretty amazing as it helps students in the fashion business industry grow their passion into an actual profitable business. The speakers invited ranged from different sides of the industry. CEOs of big companies such as Birks and Aldo, designers from Lamarque, Sheertex and more. So, for me to have been invited to speak alongside these wonderful people, was a humbling experience. It doesn’t matter if you do big or small things in your life, as long as you do them with great love is what matters. In 2020, I am more confident and surer of where my business is headed and I am certain of my capabilities and with the help of wonderful people, I shall make things happen. I am currently rebranding, and I have finally found the logo to stick with for the next while. Super excited!
Fashion Business Uncovered is a student-run conference that aims to demystify the intersection between fashion and business, helping young professionals find their place in the industry. This is what I loved about them; it’s run by students for students. When I graduated from fashion school, I had an idea of what life would be like as a designer, but reality gives you a different end game. Out of internship and into my first designing position, I felt weird and unsure of what it was like to have my own business. Creativity was out of the question and so was having an opinion. I am not like that, the reason why I went into the field is to be exactly who I am. So, after years of working for others, I took the baggage I gathered and winged it to make what I have today.
On my panel, I met two other amazing artists, a suits designer and a fashion design teacher at LaSalle College. What I like about the whole experience is that we were simply unafraid to be raw with our feelings, successes, and failures. We each shared the good, the bad and the ugly of the fashion world. I came out of this conference much more focused. I was not afraid to help those who had questions for me and most importantly, be a mentor to those who need it most.

Both those events gave me the courage and power to keep fighting for my dreams. To have people find me as an inspiration is a boost, to say the least. Even though it wasn’t the first time that someone came up to me to tell me that, this time it was different because I finally started believing in my abilities. Not to sound cocky or over-confident, but I am sure you guys know the feeling…faking it was my forte and now I am finally proud of my achievements (even though they seem little). In my 33 years of life, I have done a lot, met so many amazing people, went to many amazing places. There is so much more for me to do and learn. I am wide open for whatever comes and thankful for all the opportunities I get along the way.

Categories
Fashion

I got an excellence badge! MAX award!

Starting 2019 with a lack of confidence in my abilities to put out content or create new things, I felt lost and confused so I retrieved into a cocoon or a shell…sort of like a turtle. I fuelled up whatever energy I had in me to rebuild myself and my confidence. I was all over the place within my ideas and couldn’t seem to make anything work. Although I took much of 2019 to spend time with my daughter, I feel like it was sort of an excuse not to be out there and face my insecurities. I came back from Palestine a little jaded and lethargic. I felt out of context in every aspect and part of my life. I didn’t connect with others as I used to and I very much-loved solitude. As the year went on, I was finally trusting myself again to be out there in the world and to work on my fashion again…although I didn’t truly stop, I was still not as active as I used to be. In the last 4 months of 2019, I finally felt fresh and that’s when the right opportunities came knocking at my door. I was surprised, to be honest, I thought they were prank calls at first but when the organizations insisted on having me speak at their events, I felt humbled, touched, confused, just confused…even now, talking about it, I am still confused. I never thought low of myself as much as I did coming back from Palestine. I just let myself go, which felt almost irreparable. I made myself sick. I was never that confident anyway, but I always tried to keep my head high and fight for what I believed in. To have arrived at a pathetic level was a little astounding to me.

 

So obviously, at first, I didn’t want to speak at the events, but my husband and family pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. In November, MAX invited me to talk about my achievements in the fashion industry as a Muslim girl. To talk about the realities of my job; the ups and downs that come along with it. I didn’t know where to start, but all I knew is that I can only be myself. And myself I was. I was very silly, very funny, very all over the place but most of all very vulnerable and honest. I am a humble little working woman who sometimes struggles to make ends meet. Truth us, behind the scenes, there are many pop-up shops or events I do where I barely break-even. And that’s not what you want in business. You always want to strive and shoot for the starts.

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Anyway, getting back to MAX! MAX is an organization built by professionals for professionals to elevate the brand of Muslims in Canada. Its purpose is to motivate and educate the younger generations of Muslims to excel at what they do and to reach their goals. This organization is there to help the youth understand the struggles of life and to push forward to achieve their dreams, one at a time. I was a mentor with them in 2018, and I loved helping my mentee understand the realities of the fashion industry. I guess with that, they decided to give me a badge of honor and have me as a speaker at their event. An event that awards Muslim professionals with excellence. They were proud that I was self-made and was able to put my message out there despite my very apparent “physical disability” (aka my veil). I, alongside other professionals, shared my journey with many and although scary, it was so freaking amazing! Answering questions and making your point and mingling and networking…the whole thing was a dream. I was so lucky to have met other amazing artists in graphic and in theatre. They are as passionate (if not more) and as brave to face the world to prove their point and to follow their dreams. We all try to pave the way for younger generations and allow them to not be afraid to go against the current. Being Muslim is hard these days, to be entirely honest, and it’s sometimes scary, I am not gonna lie. You never know what will happen to you because you can easily run into a psycho that might punch you while leaving the train (it happened to me recently, just saying). Us, Muslim women, are under the radar and have to work a thousand times harder to prove our place in society. This event pushed me and inspired me to hustle a lot harder now and to positively contribute to society, as a leader, as a Muslim woman, and as an artist. There is a place for change, and I believe that the right people will listen and help in making things happen.

Categories
Design Inspiration

Partners in crime…

I have been friends with Miss Katie for a while and she’s amazeballs. We met while working at Joshua Perets. We were both assistant designers at the time….and through our miseries, we became friends. Our love for Daddy Yankee, cheap sandwiches from the convenience store, sweaters and fries, made us inseparable. Oh!!! And crying in the bathroom together too (true story!!)…Although we were literally working 2 inches away from each other, we wrote each other notes like we were back in grade 5. Always having fun while hustling.

Even though we only worked together for a year, I felt like we knew each other for ages. At the time, we even planned to open a store together and call it Glitz & Glam. I don’t remember who was glitz and who was glam, but we were definitely set on doing that. Then life took us different places. We grew, we traveled, we worked at our own projects and paths…but we still maintained contact. Seeing Katie evolve was pretty spectacular. She had mad sketching skills when we worked together, but now she’s got killer graphic skills.

I wanted to share with you some of her work. She’s a freelance graphic designer and does some pretty sick work…You’ll love it!! Not only is super talented, but she’s generous, she’s kind, she’s smart and she can make anyone just plain giggle!! I asked her a few questions, keep reading below to get to know her a little.

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1 – Why did you study fashion design?

I ended up in fashion design by accident. I’ve always been creative and knew I wanted to do something creative “when I grew up”. I guess I’ve always liked clothing and took sewing lessons as a kid. In high school we had to do volunteer hours and though a classmate who was into musical theater I ended up helping with costume and being a dresser for Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. I loved the excitement backstage and after high school when I decided Fine Arts wasn’t going to get me into a paying career I applied to a bunch of schools for a bunch of different creative trades like film-making. A family friend had attended Lasalle College in Montreal and I had applied there since you could specialize in costume. They had accepted me and two weeks before the semester started they called me and asked if I was coming or not. After graduating I just ended up getting work in apparel and footwear and that is how I’ve ended up where I am now.

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2-Why the change of course? From fashion to graphic?

I still consider myself in fashion but I am usually more into the Graphic side of things like CADs or technical sketches. I really like it because it is a quick way to get a sneak peak at what the final garment will look like instead of waiting on samples to roll in. Adding and developing prints to put on these sketches just brings the garment to life even more and I find that really exciting.

3-What inspires you and what keeps creativity rolling?

Everything inspires me. Keep me away from Pinterest!! I usually love bold prints and colors! Right now I think Mara Hoffman can do no wrong! Seeing these images just makes me what to make things. Anything!

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4-Where do you aspire to be a few years from now?

The design industry can feel really corporate and the end goal would be to be fully self sufficient though a contract/ freelance/ personal company way. I love learning how to make new things and different things so I enjoy building on my skill set and who knows what opportunities will come along.

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Can we all take a moment to fall in love with the banana print!! Ughhh <3

If you want to check more of her work…you can find her on  Instagram @katiegriffindesign! Don’t be shy peeps and hit the follow button.

Until next time.

Cheers xo

 

Categories
Design Fashion

#tbt to when I launched my first collection…

Not to make this post suuuupperr long, but here’s a condensed version of the facts and steps on how I decided to become a fashion designer. Back in 2008, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages & Linguistics. I was excited to be part of the adult world, as I knew exactly what I wanted to do…and that meant translation (at the time). A year into the work field, I was like that’s it, this is not me! this is impossible! I’m unhappy….and then flash forward  to when I figured fashion design is the way to go.

Getting into fashion was the best decision I ever made at 21. I knew then and there that life is all set for me. It took me 13 months of intensive work, blood (literally), tears, amazing friendships and experiences to get me the diploma. With great distinction, I became the designer I knew I could be. I was young, hungry and extremely ambitious to get into the industry. I was eager to leave my mark despite the fact that everyone thought I was mad for getting into this field while wearing my veil. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought my veil would ever stop me from being awesome or kick ass and I never saw it or used it as a handicap. I always knew that I wanted to be a girl boss and let me tell you (very humbly) that I did that and so much more. I managed to launch 3 lines on my own and get contracts and even start my own online shop…

So today, I am sharing with all of you my experience as a fashion designer. I launched my first line in 2013 as a tribute to my voyage to Morocco, the land of Saharan beauty <3
It was crazy, surreal, exciting, humbling, scary, chaotic, and the list goes on. I will never forget the adrenaline I felt backstage, watching the girls parade my dresses with poise and finesse (Gosh they were all super sweet and adorable!!!). I felt like a proud mama, letting her babies go off into the world on their own.

I never in my mind have imagined to be there, backstage at Ottawa Fashion Week. It was so surreal that the next day I got sick; literally and psychically sick. I was beyond words. Everyone who ever shut me down and told me to not even think about designing was wrong and I made it. It was a moment of glory and pride for me and for my family. I want to thank everyone who didn’t believe in me, because if it wasn’t for them, I would never have had the guts, the power, nor the energy to push and achieve.

So here are some of my pieces:

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David Kirouac Photography
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David Kirouac Photography

To design is a beautiful art, but it’s a tough art. It’s very demanding in a fulfilling way. Long hours go into making garments. From the pattern, to the fitting, to the adjusting, to the sewing and to the very last detail put on the last minute backstage..everything counts and everything makes a difference. There is no room for error and no time to waste. Let me tell you that I didn’t truly believe in myself until the next day, when I saw the reviews. They were positive, constructive and just very touching. I cried, and cried hard. Knowing that I actually made a dream come into a reality gave me the necessary push to keep fighting.

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David Kirouac Photography

From that moment on, I vowed to believe in myself and do everything I wanted to do. Anything that scares me, I do it! Anything anyone tells me I can’t do, I do it! Ain’t no time to waste!!! Life is too short to sit and wallow. We must always have the courage to fight for what we believe in and follow our dreams. I was very hard on myself growing up, always told myself I wasn’t good enough, always pushed myself to the limit. But now, I have come to an age where I can say, good job Iman! I achieved a lot and I am proud of every effort, every step and every mistake I took to get to where I am today. I am fierce, I am powerful, I am limitless and I am woman. I guess what I am trying to tell everyone out there with a dream is; go for it!! Do not let anyone put you down. And the negativity, use it, take it in, turn it into fuel to keep pushing yourself to another limit and to another level. Never be afraid to make mistakes, as they are part of the beautiful process and journey to achieve personal greatness and to reach your goals.

Keep shining peeps and be who you are meant to be, fully and apologetically.

Cheers xo