Text JF. Pierets Photos Darren Brade
His intricate designs merge the lines between art & fashion and have been worn by some of the world’s biggest style icons from Naomi Campbell to Kate Moss, Scarlet Johansson and Sarah Jessica Parker. He walks the streets of London with his flashmobs and has the tendency to approach his fabrics with the eye of a scientist.
Your résumé reads like a travel trip.
I was born in Iran, lived in Paris for 5 years, 2 years in Lyon, then Shanghai. In Manhattan I ran a Garroudi shop/gallery and stayed there for 14 years. After inhabiting Boca Raton for another year I made my way to London.
How does such a journey influence a person?
I’m a sponge. I try to absorb everything. Having a multicultural background gives me wisdom and inspiration. Knowledge is like light, it opens your eyes to the world.
Why did you end up in London?
London is magical. You should see how the people dress up when they go out. It’s a vessel of inspiration.
When did your carreer start?
I studied in Paris, while working as a hairdresser in my spare time. I moved to New York in 1986. There I joined the Fashion Institute of Technology after working at various retail and design houses. I started my own label in 1993.
I think fashion is a way of expressing yourself and showing your beliefs and identity because clothes can tell you a lot about a person.
What’s your message?
It’s about being passionate, I believe whatever you put out you get back. My collections are expressions of my own experiences. It’s like looking into a mirror.
Let’s talk technical; you manipulate all your fabric?
Yes. You can’t buy any of my fabric because it doesn’t exist. I love to look at it with the eye of a scientist. The multi-layered matte and sheen silks become second skin to the wearer.
Some call it pioneering fabric-folding work.
It’s all done by hand, which creates an origami effect. I guess it’s quite unique, yes. I believe fabric manipulation it the next evolution in fashion.
And very time consuming.
It is. And you have to be extremely patient to do so. Sometimes it takes me a month to make one dress, but then you create an entirely piece unique. They are one of a kind.
You are known for using interesting and diverse models, which is a breath of fresh air in the fashion industry.
I think it’s generally better to have a diverse selection of models. We live in a world that’s mixed, I mean half of the world is Asian, and only, maybe twenty percent of the world is white.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m inspired by talented and creative people and by the sheer beauty of humanity. I try to learn from every person I meet. For example, my life won’t be the same after I talked to you and vise versa.
‘I took my collection ‘Red-Stopping’ to some of London’s most distinguished avenues and tubes.’
What kind of women wears your designs?
Naturally the types of women who wear these types of clothes have to be self-secure and strong, have confidence.
Because you can’t go out there and wear something creative and be shy at the same time. The women who like my clothes use them as a tool to express themselves.
Can I call it wearable art?
I leave it up to you how to call it. I try to make things that are wearable. Expensive, but wearable.
Everybody is talking about the bad economy. Does it influence you?
It does, yes, but I think that everything happens for a reason. Anything good or bad, it teaches you a lesson. Once you learned the lesson you can move forward.
I’m doing a lot of research. Reading up about the business and the marketing side of fashion. These days you need to be on all of the social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In. I’m looking for different ways to present my designs.
The fashion industry is changing nowadays.
The new generation want things much faster, right away, they don’t want to wait, they’re just looking for something they want, they get it, they move on. We don’t have time. Do you have time to read all the blogs, do you have time to read all the fashion magazines? This is going to reflect on fashion shows, on the fashion industry.
You already took your clothes from the runway into the streets?
And called it flash-mobs. With my cast of models and dancers, I took my collection ‘Red-Stopping’ to some of London’s most distinguished avenues and tubes.
And it became a big success.
I loved it so much I did it again with the ‘Turquoise Collection’/Beauty of the Sea’ conveying an aesthetically pleasing experience of creatures born of a mystical island, lost at sea. It was raining that day. That was nice.
The future looks bright?
I’m sure it does. The more creative the better so feel free to write that I’m interested in any kind of collaboration. I try to learn from everybody!
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