Celebrating Basma Designs first birthday!

 

We wanted to dive into your inspirations and influences a little more! I’m personally interested in your background in architecture and design, two loves of mine, was it a natural evolution to establish Basma Design and why at that point in time?

Yes, I studied design and ceramics and my previous work involved architectural design, so my influences blend all these disciplines. There was definitely a natural evolution when I launched Basma Design silk scarves, but I also recall a seminal moment when I made that decision. I was in a printmaking workshop, blending colours and creating designs, when I found myself continually visualizing the artwork printed on textiles. You could call it an epiphany, but it was just a moment of realizing the vehicle through which I can communicate my art.

Initially, I was thinking of designing for interiors and furnishings products, such as cushions and rugs, since these seemed a natural step from my previous work in ceramics. After speaking to a number of people, I came to the conclusion that a silk scarf was the perfect medium for translating this concept into wearable art. It’s an easy to wear one-size accessory and the luxury quality can add a style and chic to any outfit at any time. And then my own love for wearing and collecting silk scarves won me over on the day.

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You are a passionate supporter of the local economy and British manufacturing heritage, do you think there’s a revival of British manufacturing?

I am. It’s a labour of love and something of a duty I feel too. British manufacturing is a real phenomenon that has endured hundreds of years of change and development, from the Industrial Revolution to today’s more sophisticated and advanced technologies. However, the craftsmanship and skillset required is timeless and the heritage that stems from age-old techniques is resistant to technology. I think that’s partly why Slow Fashion is snapping at the heels of Fast Fashion and overseas production. The quality and expertise of locally, traditionally made products can’t be replicated by machine on a mass scale without compromises being made and people are becoming aware of this. Also, it’s well known that the stamp of ‘Made in Britain’ is recognised as an accreditation and mark of high standards, so it’s a source of great pride to be playing a role in that.

Interestingly, I recently read a global survey by Barclays Corporate Banking – ahead of Brexit – which stated that 39% of international consumers prefer to buy British products.  Moreover, the fashion industry is hailed as the pinnacle of quality merchandise so international consumers consider a premium price justified. So, yes I believe the attitude is shifting.

Did you know that 51% of international shoppers would hold out for a British product, rather than buy a non-British item? It’s exciting.

As for the local economy, the factory I use has been in existence for over 50 years and employs all local technicians while everything else is down to me exploring the artistic collaborations and inspirations of British design and artists. Social responsibility and supporting local economy is a passion of mine that’s cascaded into the ethos and DNA of the business. Our beautiful silk scarves are designed and made in the UK while offering a little bit of Britishness in each edgy, bold design and I’m very proud of that.

Happy Birthday Basma Design! We’re really excited that it’s your first anniversary, do you have any highlights from your first year?

Thank you. I have lots of wonderful highlights from my 1st year. The support from the fashion industry has been very encouraging as artisan creations seem to be the New Luxury in terms of aspirational and intelligent shopping. It can be daunting to put your fears aside and embrace a passion and vision at times, so the positive attitude of the fashion press has also been a major boost. Basma Design was featured in the September issue of Vogue, as well as CN Traveller and Tatler, which is a big deal for an emerging designer as you know. Of course, the SEEKD launch pop-up in September was an awesome and noteworthy occasion for me and an opportunity to meet other talented, sustainable designers. It was also the culmination of a long summer of other pop-ups and events.

What are you most excited about for next year?

I’m very excited for year ahead and have a few plans to expand the brand (more on that later!). I always like to challenge myself since that fuels ideas and so I’m already working on new designs with a new colour palette.

Basma Design’s signature is a big personality, bold designs and bright colours, so my future creations will channel this handwriting through new moods and some muted shades.

You’ll find us at many more niche events and shows too, especially with SEEKD, promoting Made in England products and sharing the very real excitement that is sustainable luxury today.

Kurran Johal