MA Womenswear graduate Zaib Ahmed Quazi dedicates collection to cultural heritage
MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear Class of 2021 graduate, Zaib Ahmed Quazi as been spotlighted by 1GRANARY for his dedication and appreciation for Indian fabric and craftmanship. Taking it back to basics, Zaib’s work focuses on the intricate details of finer fabrics, using his Indian heritage to form the foundations of his graduate collection. 1GRANARY describe Zaib’s work as “having sustainability at the head of his work and craftsmanship at the heart.”
We caught up with Zaib to hear more from the designer himself, discussing his inspiration for following the path into fashion and how studying at LCF influenced him to embrace the new innovation that can come with ‘happy accidents’.
Tell us about you! What inspired you to take a route into fashion?
As I look back in regards to my career, my surroundings certainly acted as the backdrop to my impassioned journey of self-discovery with my creative vision for fashion. Since I was a child, fashion has always been paramount in my consciousness. My mother who is an extremely tall, elegant, and stylish woman was always swathed in layers of the richest and most fluid gossamer fabrics, adorned with the finest embroideries and intricate hand beading. Growing up in India and travelling extensively around the country with my family as I child, I was exposed to some of the most luxurious materials and surface techniques.
Can you describe your brand ethos in 3 words?
Craftsmanship, art-couture and sustainable.
What do you believe makes for a successful designer in 2020-21?
Due to Covid-19, 2020-21 has been one of the most dramatic years in human history, it has given us so many unique and first hand experiences. During this unpredicted time, my ability to adapt to the current times and situations became my power of innovation. I had to keep my mind open and solve any problems, which came along creatively; this mindset changed my entire design philosophy. I think it’s made me more relevant as a designer.
My design practice entails an enduring interest in artisanal methods that enhance manual skills and handmade products. During my last project in 2020-21, I collaborated with specialist craftspeople from local businesses:
‘Cutfoam’ a London-based company specialised in developing foam products, London based macramé designer Pauline Dujancourt and Leanne J Callon at ‘Wool and the Gang’ for various recycled yarns, EE exclusives Netherlands-based Jacquard manufacturer. All of these collaborations enrich my knowledge, techniques and provide a unique, innovative product.
How has the past year impacted on your work? Have you had to learn or unlearn any processes or ways of working?
The past year experiences were unpredicted with lots of ups and downs. I started my MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear at LCF. All my classmates were international students and their impact opened up a new understanding of fashion for me. Fashion which earlier was just a medium for me to express myself became a medium to provide a voice to my ideology.
A voice that is creative and expressive.
A voice that makes a difference and stands out.
A voice that teaches through stories of the past.
A voice that creates awareness.
A voice that talks about social issues.
A voice that wants to creatively contribute to society.
The process I learnt during the last year was how to analyse something through literature and art research, to explore a new concept out of an existing object. Another learning was the ability to adapt to the current times and situations. To keep an open mind and solve any problems creatively which can change your entire design philosophy. This is more of a spontaneous method of designing which provides chances of various happy accidents and new innovation.
What would your advice be for anyone looking to join MA Womenswear at LCF?
After 10 years of work experience in the Indian fashion industry, I joined LCF MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear to reinvent and rediscover myself. This 18-month journey provided me with an experience which reshaped my entire thinking process and because of it, I totally felt rejuvenated.
First of all, being one of the best institutions in the world, LCF has its own advantages such as its amazing libraries, advanced technical labs, international standard campuses as well as a unique and one of a kind teaching system. As everyone knows, 2020 brought its own challenges due to Covid-19 and MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear taught us how to adapt according to the situation and bring the best of us given the limited resources. I am really grateful to the main teaching staff Jessica Saunders, Dr. Nabil El-Nayal, Sarah-Ann Smith and and Navinbhai Patel for their constant motivation and optimistic approach towards every situation which provided us with the greatest lessons; constantly evolve yourself, aspect challenges for innovative development and possess a never say never attitude towards every problem.
It’s a proud feeling to be LCF alumni. I always like to encourage anyone who wants to join LCF MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear and my only advice to them is to come here with an open mind and grasp as much as they can.
What are your hopes for life after graduation? Where would you like to be?
I want to create art-couture; a design that is an artistic expression, a reflection of the society, and an illustration of a person’s identity. It is a journey that gains experience from the past, understands the needs of the present and explores the innovations for the future.