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Nabil is widely experienced in the world of fashion, having completed a PhD in 2018 whilst running a hugely successful fashion label. Having been nominated for the LVMH Prize in 2015 and again in 2017, he has also been the winner of the British Fashion Council's Fashion Trust two years running. His designs have caught the eye of many in the industry, notably the late Karl Lagerfeld. Nabil describes himself as a 'disruptive designer', researching and innovating new ways of reinventing the current fashion landscape.
Tell us a little about yourself. Is this your first time teaching?
I’ve taught on and off since 2012. I graduated from Royal College of Arts whilst running my business alongside. We were shortlisted as a business in 2015 for the LVMH Prize which is brilliant. This gave us huge exposure and we worked with Karl Lagerfeld which was absolutely amazing. He bought pieces from my collection which basically put me in the spotlight and was fantastic for my business. They say never meet your idols but they’re all lying, he was amazing.
What would you say are the significant skills that someone can take away from studying the MA Womenswear course?
My main thing is to not just bring fashion designers out there into the world, it’s to have fashion thinkers. So I want them to really challenge themselves, to research thoroughly. You can use academic context and academic frameworks, research methods and methodologies in a really interesting and creative way. It’s been of huge use to me, and I want my students to leave this course feeling the same way. The combination of being research focused will lead to really exciting and innovative outcomes.
Which routes can students take after this course?
We’re not just sending designers out there to make it big on the catwalk scene, it’s about sending designers out there to look at further research opportunities and to work in and amongst the fashion industry. We have so many students here who go and make huge impacts and huge waves in the industry, but behind the scenes. It’s allowing the students who come onto this course options of where they want to go and allowing for a breadth of creativity. If they want to go and do a PhD that’s great, if they want to go and be a huge star that’s also great. If they want to go and develop in pattern-cutting or garment technology, whatever it may be. Long term, that’s the strategy.
What would you say you’re most looking forward to about being MA Womenswear course leader?
There is this whole new generation of fashion designers and innovators coming through which is brilliant. I’m proud and excited to be a part of that. It’s important to emphasise that it’s not about becoming a multi-millionaire with a business, but it’s actually about finding ways of working that have meaning, depth and integrity. It’s coming through here at LCF so I’m still learning, everyone’s still learning and it’s creating an open conversation. I’m being challenged, which is so good.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students coming onto the MA Womenswear course? Any tips that you would give to ensure they succeed?
It’s a demanding course as we ask for a lot but they definitely get a lot in return. We ask that they’re very research driven and that they really want to innovate and challenge the fashion landscape and what that means and what it will mean for the next fashion decade. It’s important to look back at the last 10, 20, 30 years of fashion but also look forward and see how we can use that past experience to shape what’s to come. I want to encourage students who are really visionary in their thought process, to think big and confidently about what they really want to contribute to this fashion landscape and make a huge difference.