As you might have noticed, I’m having a bit of an interview bonanza at the moment. I guess I just figured that while I can bang on about my favourite designers until the cows come home, my sartorial ramblings probably can’t compete with pearls of wisdom from the industry insiders responsible for creating the collections I covet. Last week I chatted to Negarin Sadr, financier turned fashion designer and founder of hot, new womenswear brand, Negarin London.
LPA: You left a career in finance to pursue your dream of becoming a fashion designer. That was a brave, and potentially very risky decision. What prompted you to make the leap?
NS: I had a really bad accident which put me in a wheelchair for 2 months and it was a life changing experience. I decided that, considering you spend 2 thirds of your life working, I’d rather spend that time happy doing something I was passionate about and had dreamt about doing since I was a little girl, than working with numbers… Banking was not exactly my cupt of tea. At that moment I realised that I needed to follow my dream and be able to work in an environment where I really appreciated being there everyday.
LPA: You were born in Iran and educated in New York, why did you decide to launch your brand here in London?
NS: I want to keep my brand extremely international and think that today London is definitely the most international out of the 4 fashion cities. Plus, I’d rather be hearing complaints about the weather than the economy which is what New York’s slightly been like over the past few years! London is also incredibly supportive of the arts which I find really inspiring.
LPA: Despite being rooted here in London, you did your main presentation in New York last season. Why did you take this decision? Do you plan on showing at London Fashion Week in future?
Absolutely. As I said, we’d like to keep Negarin London very international so we’d like to keep jumping between the cities and exposing the brand to different areas and different countries as we move forward. I think that’s a really important part of our brand development, moving it around the fashion world rather than just focused in one city. So hopefully this season we’ll be showing in London, next season Paris, and so on.
LPA: How would you describe the Negarin London aesthetic?
NS: Negarin London is young, playful, practical, versatile, bold, confident, colourful and modern. I mean modern in terms of the tecniques we use such as advances pattern cutting and specific fabrics. We update the classical shapes and styles of the 60’s and 70’s to cater to today’s contemporary woman and what she needs in her wardrobe.
LPA: Besides working in finance, you also trained as a sculptor before turning your hand to fashion design. How do you feel these diverse experiences influence your work now?
NS: Absolutely. I think that coming from an expert 3D background it makes my vision much clearer and easier to communicate with my team to produce the product it makes it quite easy. Whilst training, we had to do very intense studies of anatomy and the body and knowing the proportions of the female figure to that extent is extremely helpful especially when we’re trying to do things like illusion tailoring to create garments that really flatter a woman’s figure.
LPA: The phrase ‘style icon’ is one we hear a lot these days. Who, if anyone, do you think truly deserved to be called ‘iconic’?
NS: That’s such a hard question, I don’t know how many times we’ve had this discussion in the office! Because I’m a very success orientated person, I look at peaople’s fashion success in terms of their work and history and what they’ve brought to the industry rather than just the clothes they wear. Personally, I think that Diane Von Furstenberg is a true icon. She’s your mega woman, the one who you totally want to be. She’s truly inspiring because she she’s so involved in using her profit in a charitable way and the impact she’s had on fashion over the past 10 years is just incredible.
LPA: What has been the most challenging thing about launching and running your own company?
NS: That’s kind of a endless list! I would say, first of all, when work for a big company that has a long-running infrastructure already in place, your activites and more impotantly, responsibilites are limited. When you run your own company anything that goes wrong in any department is your responsibility. When emergnecies come along it’s you that has to find the solution because you’re the only one who can. With fashion, production is always a drama and I find that the most challenging thing as you really have to get everybody to believe in your brand. Not just the press, or the editors or the buyers. It’s the guy who runs a factory in Italy who doesn’t speak one word of English, that person has to trust in you.
LPA: What is your ultimate aim for the Negarin London brand?
NS: My ultimate aim is to develop a lifestyle brand producing jewellery, leather goods and furniture. I like to work with very high tech fabrics so in 5 to 10 years I’d love to do advanced level polymers research and get into developing high tech fabrics like crease free cottons and stretch fabrics. We have a lot of ideas in house in terms of fabrics we wished that existed but don’t and I think it producing and distributing them could really advance fashion.
LPA: What advice would you give to someone hoping for a career in the fashion industry?
Working hard is so important. You always have to be doing something. In the studio there’s so much to do and there’s never down time and I you really have to show your boss that willing to work and do whatever it takes.
Love Ella. X