Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fashion Spotlight: Couture Designer Raishma Islam

Fashion Designer Raishma Islam

Today I'd like to share my interview with pioneering British couture designer Raishma Islam. She is a well-respected designer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the British fashion industry. Raishma trained under Elizabeth Emmanuel, who created Princess Diana's wedding dress. Raishma Islam launched her brand in 1998 and has designed gowns for Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, as well as a number of celebrity clients.

In July 2013, Raishma created her pret collection which was very popular. Her beautiful designs and ever-growing reputation were instrumental in her launching her new online store raishma.co.uk in April 2014. 

In the interview that follows, Raishma gives us some insight into her background and the inspiration behind her designs. She also talks about her wonderful new online store. Read on to learn more about this talented designer. Enjoy!

Have you always wanted to be a designer?

As a child I used to watch my mother stitch her own clothes and was fascinated by the great swathes of fabric and how it could be fashioned into a shalwar kameez. This sparked my interest in fashion and I began making my own outfits as a teenager with my mother’s help and guidance. I used the Bollywood films of the time as the inspiration for creating my clothes. I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to pursue fashion design as a career.

I gained my fashion degree at De Montfort University and was fortunate enough to train with designers Bella Freud and Bruce Oldfield before becoming assistant designer to Elizabeth Emmanuel – Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer. I learned the art of bridal corsetry and was so inspired that after a few years, I was ready to set up my own bridal boutique catering for the Asian bride, offering outfits that blended traditional heritage style with an on-trend contemporary twist. I have reflected this across all my designs.  
Above: Nude and Red Lace Fit and Flare Dress

What was your inspiration in creating your pret line?

I’m very excited and proud to have launched my new pret line.  It is the culmination of a long period in sourcing the right fabrics and designing on-trend outfits and embroidery to truly represent my signature looks. The blend of eastern traditional and contemporary fashion, encapsulates the very essence of multicultural Britain of today. The collection is not only distinctive in design, which is a very important quality for me to maintain, but also stylish and unique. Designing has always been my greatest passion, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to share my exciting new vision with fashionistas all around the world. I hope everyone who visits the Raishma online store finds what they’re looking for.

Above: Black and Teal A-Line Dress

Is there a way that you hope that women will feel when they wear your designs?

Bold. Inspirational. Cultured. Formidable. Confident. Asian women are not afraid to show confidence and personality when it comes to their fashion choices. This is something to be admired and celebrated.

Above: Slate Net Beaded Evening Gown
Please tell us about your hopes for the new website. What can women expect when they visit?

I hope the website creates a dynamic new shopping experience for my clients. Not only will visitors see a simple yet vibrant website, they will also be able to interact and get the latest fashion updates and looks.

I feel it is essential to move with the times and cater to the needs of the customer. Online trading is now the norm and I felt it was very important for me to have a means of interacting with my clients.

Above: Yellow Georgette Tunic Top
Above: Yellow Beaded Handbag
What can we expect in the future from your online store?

I would like to concentrate on developing my online business for the next few years. I will still provide a bespoke service, but I also want to make my brand available to a wider audience.

I think any business has to move with the times and be able to reflect the changing marketplace. In recent years, online shopping has been burgeoning, and I feel this is an area, which cannot be ignored. I get orders coming in from abroad, and I feel the time is right to expand the business and cater to a worldwide audience. The aim is to offer clients an easy, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience. Expect to see unique and affordable fashion with the east-west fusion twist.

You can find Raishma's designs at raishma.co.uk and you can also follow the brand on Twitter here .

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