Conversation with Nazila Sawhney

Tell us a little bit about yourself — how long have you been working as a designer, and what sparked your interest in fashion?

I am an Afghan/Canadian designer. My love for fashion was obvious from an early age, I still remember my favorite sandals which had a red apple embossed on the front with wooden platforms. I used to wear them all the time even when they hurt. But, I seriously considered a career in fashion about 12 years ago, I took a chance and never looked back. I love the idea of how fashion can create opportunities for the artisans, for so many people in remote areas of India and locally here in Edmonton. I aspire everyday to create fashion that benefits non-profit organizations through fashion shows and charity events.


Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

There are so many elite designers who inspire me daily but mostly it's the people who wear my clothes and the excitement they portray through those pieces that inspire me the most.


Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I design and create my own collections under the label Nazila Couture.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I think you have to take what you do seriously from the get go. My job is an industry that is very competitive and ever changing and evolving and one must treat it like a full time job.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I have evolved like a caterpillar...lol! You are trying, you are alive but it's not just what you want. But, the passion to learn and the hard work has paid off. I am blessed.
 

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Presently, I am working on a collection basedon my country of birth (Afghanistan), it's most challenging for me. It's quite dynamic, too much history, and at the same time lack of monumental inspirations. I am working through images and a lot of research.
 

Do you have a process you follow when starting a new design?

Yes, absolutely. It's important to have a process, a routine. Most collections are based on inspirations along with the currents trends and demands. Inspirations determine designs, cuts, embroidery and the purpose of the collection.


Where do you go for inspiration?

I research through visiting sites specific to my needs, right now I am reading on history of Afghanistan, from early 60's and how fashion was perceived to today's outlook on cultural costumes.
 

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

Power to protect and provide for kids who are forgotten about, ones that don't experience life as they should. Ones that don't get to smile, or have access to basic food, water, shelter. I would take care of them all.
 

If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

I can't just name one specific super hero, but anyone that goes out of her/his way to do something for humanity is a super hero. I am not good at dating, but love to have a chance to meet Angelina Jolie, I think she is one of the most balanced human beings, I have tremendous respect for her.


In your opinion; which super villains needs fashion advice?

Haha, super villains? I wouldn't want to give any super villain any fashion advice, I would rather not get involved...lol!

Conversation with Tishynah Buffalo

InTouch.NEWS sat down with Tishynah Buffalo, Full time Mother of two from Cree First Nation and fashion designer. She will be showcased in Western Canada Fashion Week 2016, International Indigenous Fashion Week 2016 and Walking To End Violence Fashion Show. lets talk to her.

What are your origins?

I am a Cree First Nations Person.


What sparked your interest in Fashion?

I remember being about 11-12 years old I would buy fashion magazines and look through them all the time and I had this note book filled with sketches of clothing, So I'm pretty sure that's what sparked my interest in fashion.


Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

While in High school I did a Fashion Design Course.

 

Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

Yes, Valentino Garavani, I love the floral patterns designed by Christi Belcourt, Also Shayne Watson I love the Pendleton Peacoats and dresses he designs.


Are you full time fashion designer or part time?

I'd have to say I'm a part time fashion designer, I'm a stay at home mom and I sew when I have free time But I am looking forward to being a full time fashion designer.


How old are your kids?

My son is 8 years old and my daughter is 2 years old.


Being a mom is a full time job how do you balance your time between work and family?

It's not easy being a full time mom and trying to balance my work with a family life but I have a very supportive family when I need help they are always there for me.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I would make my kids jackets, sweaters and my daughter dresses, people would ask me where I get them from so one day I decided to try and make an adults coat, people loved it and from there I was getting orders from all over like B.C, Saskatchewan, Ontario and even the U.S.


Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I design my own clothes.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Since I've started pursuing my career as a fashion designer I've expanded the variety of clothing I make and will continue to, I was selected to be in Western Canada Fashion Week 2016, International Indigenous Fashion Week 2016 and Walking To End Violence Fashion Show.


What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

When I see people wearing my attire I feel proud and inspired to create more unique designs, I make one of a kind pieces and I put passion and love into my work. I am fascinated by the Native and Navajo print material, it's one of my main materials I use.


Do you have a process you follow when starting a new design?

I usually sketch it out or take measurements, cut and sew sometimes I surprise myself how things come together perfectly.


Do you design your own fabric, or you have someone make it for you?

I buy my material from a retailer.


Can you please tell us about the Black Fleece Coat with Leather Sleeves?

It was a woman's custom order from Fort McMurray; it has a cotton lining with a collar, hood and a zipper on the side.


Where do you go for inspiration?

I go to Pow wows in the summer and Round dances in the winter, I see a lot of nice colourful outfits and a lot of nice Pendleton coats, that's what inspires me to design my clothing.


If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

If I was a superhero my superpowers would to have supersonic speed, I would sew a lot of things in a short amount of time and then have all the time to spend with my family. So I would be doing what I love and spending time with who I love.


If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

I would date Iron Man because he is Smart.


In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

I would think the joker he wears a purple suit and has green hair, a black suit and dark hair would make him look a little more meaner.


What’s next for you?

Starting my own clothing business.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

I plan on making Native and Cree floral inspired couture dresses.