Fashion Week Q&A with Bahareh Memarian

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

January 29, 2016

Bahareh Memarian was born in Tehran, Iran. Before moving to Canada, she studied architecture at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus. She later earned a Building Engineering Certificate from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Even after investing many years in her education, she found that she wasn’t happy with her career direction. She decided to pursue what she’d always loved—fashion.

Bahareh focuses on creating luxurious collections using stunning, high-quality, 100% cruelty-free, man-made materials including faux fur products. Her goal is to expand the depth of beauty of this world, rather than take away from it. She describes her style as elegant and flattering, yet comfortable and functional. Bahareh incorporates her love for animals into her designs. “Animals can and do feel and understand everything just as intensely as a human being does. Making them suffer for any reason, including making clothes, is definitely not ethical,” she says.

Bahareh earned a Diploma in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Vancouver in 2015. She excelled as a student, earning a spot on the President’s Honor Roll and winning the Best of Portfolio Show Award. She is currently working as a junior production engineer.

What inspired your collection for New York Fashion Week?

I've always admired old Hollywood and its glamour—the sparks of crystal-beaded gowns and the softness of fur coats. I wanted to recreate that with “Extinct,” a collection that is beautiful in and out. I used faux fur and all cruelty free fabrics. They please the eyes and the touch and can be worn with a free mind.

How did you manage your creative process?

After I had my subject chosen, I started doing more research and gathered information on everything I needed—[from forecasting] colors and textiles to fur product alternatives. I gathered photos and went through them a few times. Then I re-chose the ones that were more meaningful, unique, and inspiring to me. That was my inspiration board.

I started sketching after that and went to look for fabrics that were closest to what I had in mind. I was getting feedback from my instructors all the time—and after looking into the available fabrics and choosing the ones I wanted, I went back and retouched my designs. I got the final approval from my instructors and started making the patterns and creating the garments.

How did your fashion and architectural background figure into your designs?

I have some architectural background and I’m sure that had a big role in my understanding of the design aspects. I started [to study] fashion because it was something that I truly loved to do. I was never hands on [with fashion] until I got to The Art Institute of Vancouver. I didn't know how to sew anything or even know the first step in making patterns.

The [fashion] terminology wasn't something I’d heard before, either. But going through the courses, I learned everything very smoothly. It went by without me even realizing how much I was learning. I made my first evening gown in my Design Specialty class and after that, I started to feel more confident. That was the “I did it“ moment for me.

What’s a day in your life look like as you prepare for Fashion Week?

[I spend days at the] studio at school working constantly on making garments. It’s important to be organized because there are a lot of steps and you might make mistakes.

It takes time to redo some parts—if it’s even possible. I think the most challenging part is getting the right fit. It’s a lot of detail to work on and to make sure everything looks perfect on the runway.

What advice would you give to fashion design students?

Don't let things that scare you be your limitation. Face them and they will become your best friend.

Which designers, blogs, or publications do you follow?

[I am inspired by] Vivienne Westwood, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, dsquared2, D&G, and Alexander McQueen.

Watch the live broadcast here!

Check out the other designers participating in Fashion Week

View Bahareh’s sketches and inspiration board by clicking on the thumbnails


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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

January 29, 2016

alumni success Bahareh Memarian New York City new york city fashion week