Photography / Editorial / Print

ANOOSH Interview

Words and Photography: Nardip Singh

Sitting in your workshop and surrounded by all your work: the overflowing cupboards of thread, wool, buttons and buckles which seem to fit every corner of this 'Aladdin's Cave' of fashion, I can see you totally immerse yourself in what you do, what have been the main influences on your work?

My engineering background has allowed me to look at objects from a structural point of view, the form of the object is important, as is the skeleton. The inside of the object intrigues me.

From your engineering background, how did the transition to fashion come about?

After my divorce [he laughs], simple as that. Being an engineer is quite a lonely vocation, designing complex tools and machinery for companies such as Dupont, designing a toothbrush filament indentation which has been sold worldwide. That background however has helped me with fashion work, filing patents for new concepts and so on. When I came to the UK, I worked in retail, in a menswear shop. I was aware of trends whilst working for Cecil Gee and various other top labels in South Molton street. The first design that I did was the stingray tie.

Moving on from your first design, when did you open up your own shop and focus more on the fashion?

My mother was a dressmaker and I started to work with her, making custom designs together. From there I started to buy things I needed for my own concepts: buckles, thread, wool and so on which helped me form my own signature style, which eventually led me to my workshop, which you see all around me, it's all been hand picked by me. It didn't happen overnight, it was gradual progression from designing in my spare time to now running my own shop.

As a child, did you observe your mother making dresses, would you say that was a strong influence on where you are now?

Come to think of it, as a child I used to sit and watch her pre-stitch for for school uniforms she made, sometimes helping with cutting patterns and even stitching for extra pocket money. I guess through watching and helping my mother with stitching, it has been a large influence on where I am today. My mother was my inspiration.

You say that you was born to design, as a child, did you take apart things and put them back together?

In the village where I grew up I used to experiment with old radios, television sets... I guess I have always been inquisitive, with a need to understand how things work.

Your acclaimed diamanté glasses, what was the concept behind that?

I have always had a fascination with sunglasses, maybe because I don't often look at people's eyes, trying to hide my face. I think if I was not a fashion designer then I would have eventually started designing sunglasses. You can do so much with them, and I have a few concepts I am working on at the moment.

I have seen a lot of your recent work, particularly the gold button dress hat, the structuralism dress, the spring dress and so on, how did those come about?

I think I was watching a Discovery programme about architecture, how they build skyscrapers, Empire State Building, suspension bridges and so on, the skeleton and framework was influenced by that. I gather influences from all over, for example the twin head concept was based on this Russian 1940s image of cutting a dog's head and re-animating it. You could say my work is not very related to mainstream fashion, very bespoke, but it is the creativity that interests me more.

Does your environment and what you see on a daily basis help formulate your ideas?

I am quite aware of what is around me, I want to make sure I use it in my artwork. What could be quite mundane to some people, can be seen as art to another when shaped or put into some context with what I do or am trying to create.  Perceptions differ, but that is the exciting bit.

What are the main things you have learnt so far and would advise other budding designers to do?

It is so important to produce things well, if it is going to go to mass production with say Harvey Nichols, they are interested not in that it's hand made and so on, but the quality in the design and finished product. The idea is not so relevant, the design and implementation of it is.

Fashion is always changing, what current street trends do you like?

I see myself as an inventor, for example, the last show that I did was very creative, but there was universal acclaim for a red velvet coat with a red Paris sash which everybody liked. The 'wow' factor is more important to me at the moment. I am where I am, my workshop is the centre of my world, you can quote me on this, 'I use fashion to portray my art' if you know what I mean.

Moving forward, where do you see your label in five years?

Right now, my collections are very high couture, exclusive, and I do envisage a point where I may have a
line that caters for high street consumers. I will look into making a transition to the high street, making my collections more universal and not just for people who dare to wear my designs. But I do hope in doing so, it doesn't distract from what people know me best for. That may be difficult, but I like challenges.

If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

A bit of a tough one, but I think they would be Eccentric, Provocative and Shameless

Lastly, do you have any upcoming shows or exhibitions planned?

We are looking to do London Fashion Week, possibly an off-schedule show. I am also working on a very
large piece, an art installation in itself if you like, which I think will be a feast for the eyes, watch this space.

For more details and to contact Anoosh, visit

+44(0)208 202 0321


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