Friday, 29 June 2012

Interview with fashion designer, Hasan Hejazi.

The Hasan Hejazi woman is confident, fun and powerful. Hasan discusses with Third Floor his opinion on the fashion industry and how to remain positive in this difficult climate.

Since graduating, up-and-coming womenswear designer Hasan Hejazi has already achieved a tremendous amount and shows no signs of slowing down. Hasan graduated two years ago from The London College of Fashion with a master’s in Fashion Design. His graduate collection consisted of glamorous and powerful evening gowns that combined decadent luxurious fabrics with an indigo colour palette. The collection was showcased at the V&A and soon after was selected and stocked in Harrods as part of the ‘Harrods Launches’ initiative. “My first collection got picked by Harrods and it sold really well, which was amazing.” Growing up, Hasan had a keen interest in fashion design and at a young age he began experimenting by sketching dresses. “When I was really young I started designing wedding dresses for my mum. She was already married though, so I’m not too sure why I did that.” Hasan’s passion for dresses still influences the main body of his work today, with his signature luxury gowns and dresses accounting for the majority of his designs.

When it comes to fashion design, Hasan has always been persistent and determined when it comes to fashion design: he applied to study at Manchester University and, after being knocked back the first time, he pursued his dream and a year later was finally accepted. After graduating from Manchester University, his talent was recognised by London College of Fashion and he secured a place on their master’s Fashion Design course.

Hasan’s design aesthetic combines luxury garments with a fresh sporty edge, and for him the strong relationship between celebrities and his brand is extremely important. When designing, Hasan has been known to name his dresses after the celebrities they have been inspired by: “One of the most inspirational women to me is Madonna, so I named one of the dresses M because I didn’t want to be too obvious about it.” Another dress, the ‘Kylie’, was navy and chiffon, and immediately Hasan thought it would suit the celebrity: “I found the e-mail address for Kylie’s stylist, William Baker, and he said they loved the collection and a fitting with Kylie was arranged. Unfortunately, Kylie wasn’t very well so the fitting didn’t go as well as planned. However, they told me she tried on one dress which she fell in love with and it turned out to be the dress I named after her, before she even knew what it was called!”

Kylie Minogue, Marina and the Diamonds, Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas and, more recently, Jessie J have previously worn Hasan’s designs. His garments have graced the pages of Dazed and Confused, Tank and Vogue India, and the highly respected photographer Rankin shot his Spring/Summer 2011 collection look book. Scott Clark, the stylist for Marina and the Diamonds, contacted Hasan about Marina wearing one of his designs for the NME music awards. Hasan and Scott built up a strong working relationship. Scott also happened to work as a stylist for Rankin’s shoots: “It all came about from connections and he loved what I did. I found myself completely star-struck by him.”

When talking about his typical customer, Hasan describes her as: “A woman who is sure about who she is. She is powerful, but sometimes she might feel more powerful by putting on one of my dresses. I get inspired by lots of different types of women.” For his second collection, Hasan decided to name his dresses after women that he has found inspirational throughout his life. “Sometimes I will design a dress and I think it would suit a certain celebrity or musician so for my second collection I decided to name all of my dresses.” During the design process, colours, as for any designer, are extremely important for the talented Hasan. It was after his graduate collection that he made the decision to include pink in every collection, and it is now established as his trademark colour. “Somebody once wrote that Valentino has his red and I have my pink. Pink can be really fun and sexy, and then really sophisticated at the same time. Last season, even if a dress was white or green, the lining was always bright pink; it is my trademark colour.”

Despite the current economic climate, Hasan remains optimistic and has a positive mind- set when it comes to designing. “To be creative doesn’t cost money; I love sketching and will happily sit and sketch away, although it can often be disheartening knowing some designs might not get made.” Offering advice to those starting out in the fashion industry, Hasan states: “If you haven’t got passion and designing isn’t something that excites you every minute of the day, I would say give up now.” However harsh a reality this may seem, Hasan’s passion for fashion design has had a huge impact on the success he continues to have today. “The fact that I love designing so much helps me stay positive and excited.” With regular celebrity commissions and private consultancies coming in thick and fast, Hasan has made the decision to go against the grain, taking a couple of seasons out to design what he wants and when he wants.

Words by Katie Handy-Beith

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