Today Hijab Style brings you an exclusive interview with fashion designer Barjis Chohan, who is set to show her new collection next month at London Fashion Week! Read on to find out more about her and her company, Barjis:
Barjis: I graduated in Fashion from London College of Fashion and did my MA at Central Saint Martins. I freelanced for a French fashion house for two years and worked at Vivienne Westwood. I didn't feel right about designing sexy evening wear for the French company so I quit and decided to take a short break. I then went into textiles as it was far more easier to balance with family life. Last year I launched my fashion label at Dubai Fashion Week and since then its been going great. I set up the label because I felt there was no clothes out their for modern Muslim women who wanted high-end fashion without compromising their faith.
Jana: What's the inspiration behind your latest collection?
Barjis: My inspiration is the story of time. The journey from a little girl's eye seeing two different cultures and how it has shaped her life in a positive way. I am sure a lot of people will relate to this constant conflict in growing up in a Western culture but having a strict traditional Muslim/Asian culture at home. But the collection will be a celebration of fusing two cultures and finding a balance and identity. It's a very personal collection about my journey and I am very excited about it. My clothes have always been a cross over and I am sure the Muslim market and the mainstream market will appreciate it.
Jana: What kind of perspective do you think Barjis brings to the UK modest fashion scene?
Barjis: Barjis is currently leading the way in high end modest fashion in the UK. The UK modest market still requires a lot of education. Many designers are still making low end clothing and calling it couture. You can't call a £70 abaya 'luxury couture'. I think this is because of lack of knowledge and formal design training amongst those starting up new businesses. I desperately want to change this. Barjis is luxury and it does not compromise with quality. My clothes are suitable for a Muslim or a non-Muslim woman. They are stylish, elegant and a lot of thought goes through my design process. For the first time celebrities are taking note of Barjis. Barjis shows that a Muslim label can be creative, contemporary and compete with the likes of the mainstream brands without compromising in our faith. Modesty will always be at the core of the design process and its challenging yet fun to work around these parameters and still be creative.
Jana: Who are some of your favourite designers and why?
Barjis: I like Elie Saab purely because of the way he uses his embellishments on his work. I like Victoria Beckham because her work is very chic and understated. I would say I am in between them. My work is simple and understated but I love experimenting with textiles. Surface texture will always be a evident in my work. I think this influence comes from my Pakistani background.
Jana: Do you have any style tips to share with Hijab Style readers?
- Keep it simple, I don't like hats on top of hijabs.
- I think because we wear the hijab we tend to think that we need to compensate with heavy make up and jewellery. This can create the 'Christmas tree' effect. So my advice will be to not go over board with all the accessories.
- If you are wearing skinny jeans please try to cover the backside.Its no point wearing a hijab and then showing your behind.
- Try to wear colours that compliment your complexion.
- I personally think that the beehive look is pretty passe and dated. Hijab worn in a simple manner is far more appealing to me.The beehive look is like having a little alien behind your head.
- Don't be afraid of using colour.
- Smile...it makes you look complete and real and makes everything you wear beautiful.
Jana: What's in store for Barjis in the future?
Barjis: I am showcasing my first solo show during London Fashion Week. Swarovski are sponsoring me, so I am very excited about this. It will be small intimate event only inviting 150 guests. I hope to be launching my scarf range and then would like to launch a diffusion range which I hope will be very popular with the young UK girls.
Hijab Style will be bringing exclusive coverage from the Barjis show at London Fashion Week, and look out for a competition coming up soon where you can win tickets to see the show too!