East Meets West – Fusing Middle Eastern And Western FashionFriday, November 01, 2013 Mary Anne Velasco
One of the most popular trends at the moment, both in fashion and other areas of design, is the merging of East and West. We can see it in restaurants and ornamental gardens, clothing and accessories.
Here we profile two such up-and-coming fashion designers who take the modest style of traditional middles eastern clothing, and combine it with the modern and edgy designs of the western world.
Chohan is not only a successful entrepreneur, she is also the founder of an award-winning design company based in London. She shows a high level of creativity and astute business thinking, as well as the courage to break free of the mould of her culture.
Born in Pakistan, she was part of a conservative Muslim family. She was expected to conform and follow tradition, and had an arranged marriage. Chohan was happy with this life, and had the great feeling of security that comes with all close-knit families and communities, but she was too curious and ambitious to let it lie. She wanted to become successful and make something of herself.
In 2000, Chohan set up BARJIS, a company that specialised in high end interior design solutions, and beautiful handmade luxury rugs. Since its formation, the company has worked on more than 50 projects across the world, including the UK, USA, Dubai, India, France, and Germany. She has provided design solutions for the Emirates Towers in Dubai and the K+K Hotel George in London, as well as a number of other high-end luxury brands and names.
Having studied fashion at Central St Martins however, and through her work at Vivienne Westwood, Chohan knew that she wanted to do more than just interior design – she wanted to create her own fashion label. And that she did.
Barjis London Fashion Week AW13/14 from Barjis London on Vimeo.
Her new label was launched in October 2011, and her 2013 Autumn/Winter collection was showcased at London Fashion Week. Standing out amongst other prominent creative and famous figures, her designed were hailed as visionary and highly successful.
Chohan was described by The Guardian as a prodigy of Vivienne Westwood, and the London Film Academy have labelled her a social revolutionist and filmed her for a documentary. She has, in fact, been the centre of many international documentaries worldwide. Chohan has won a number of different awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year in London, 1st runner-up as Female Owned Business of the Year, and Designer in International Trade.
Lubna and Nadia
Lubna and Nadia are Omani sisters who have also been influenced by the love of both the West and the Middle East. They have launched their debut collection for Autumn/Winter 2013 for their label Endemage, which means “merging of two”. Through a wide range of elegant, floor length designs of East-meets-West, they have incorporated ethnic chic and luxury with a successful and beautiful outcome. They have brought a modern Western twist to traditional Arab fashion, particularly Omani fashion, giving it a more edgy vibe whilst keeping it respectable and fresh. Their combination of bright materials and beautiful detail certainly make them stand out in the market.
Lauren O'Reilly is a budding fashion journalist.