Sunday, 7 November 2010
Raishma London - Designer Profile
Raishma, based on Green Street in London, is an asian bridalwear designer with a difference - they also do traditional western bridal gowns. You may remember their designs were on the catwalk this summer at Asian Magazine's Elite Bride Show (click here to view the Raishma catwalk show) and you can also see some of their gorgeous gowns at the Dar Hair Academy launch event.
I got in touch with Raishma herself to find out a bit more about her designs and how it all started:
What's your background/how did you get started?
I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 10. I started using a sewing machine at primary school, and fell in love with my mum’s outfits; the fabrics and embroidery. I then studied art and design at Chelsea school of art, and achieved a 2:1 BA Hons at De Montfort university in fashion. I stayed focused, and managed to get the job of assistant designer to Elizabeth Emmanuel after graduating which gave me a great insight into bridal wear.
You do both asian bridalwear and traditional "white" wedding dresses, which did you start with and what made you decide to do both?
Working with Elizabeth gave me a great knowledge in European traditional white gowns, but I actually started with fusion bridalwear at first and it still is my first passion.
I then went on to design and produce white gowns of the quality and standard that I required, as I am quite a perfectionist! I have been designing for Asian, mix marriage brides and English brides for the past 12 years now, and feel that I can accommodate to each brides’ individual tastes.
What inspires your designs?
I have always aspired to European designers such as Ellie Saab and Valentino, because their cutting and tailoring is exceptional and their gowns are ever so glamorous. The embroideries, colour and fabrics from India and Pakistan are exquisite and are my heritage, so the fusion of these looks inspired me to create the fusion look in the late 1990s. As a designer I have become well known for being a pioneer in the British Asian fusion look and shaking up the industry. Each bridal gown can be inspired by a fabric, or a certain period in history or a piece of jewellery.
What are the current trends you're seeing for asian brides?
I started designing the fusion full gown look about five years ago, and now this trend is filtering through the rest of the industry. The traditional Pakistani look of ghararas, and traditional lenghas and furshis is a trend I cater for, and can be worn for a Valima or Mandip ceremony. The fusion skirt and boned bodice look is still around as well. The most important thing a bride needs to remember when buying her outfit, is if it suits her figure. Brides need to understand that most retail stores in the UK are run by managers, not designers, and the collections are bought in from India. They cannot give you the advice you need to help you create the dress of your dreams. I have seen so many brides who are pear shaped, and been told that they look good in a fishtail skirt! It can be an upsetting experience if you don’t look your best in an outfit. The outfit needs to be classic and timeless, so that when you look at your wedding photos in years to come your dress doesn’t look dated.
Do you have any famous clients who have worn your designs?
We have been lucky enough to dress a number of celebrities over the years, such as Mel B, FFion Hague, pop stars Jamelia, Atomic Kitten, Preeya Khalidas, Laila Rouass, actress Juliette Stevenson, and their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrice and Eugenie. For the Hope Charity Show I have just dressed Rebecca Grant from BBC’s Holby City and Anita Rani from the One Show. Rebecca has also just worn one of my gowns to a Bafta ceremony this week. Can’t wait to see the pics!!
What can a bride-to-be expect if she comes to your for an outfit?
Our process for the bride is quite meticulous to make sure we create the gown of her dreams. We initially have a consultation with the bride, to clearly decipher the style, colour and embroidery of the outfit. The bride can bring in images of styles she likes to give us an idea of what the look is that she is trying to achieve. Once she orders the outfit we provide her with an embroidery swatch and sometimes a toile fitting 6–8 weeks after the consultation. The toile is a cotton mock up of the outfit, so that we can check the fitting and cut of the outfit. This is essential, so that the bride is entirely happy before we go ahead on the production of her gown. Once the dress is ready, she then has fittings in store to make sure the fit is perfect. Our process for our menswear and eveningwear is similar, so that we are sure that the client will be happy when the outfit is ready.
Tell me about your own wedding outfit, and if you were renewing your vows/having another wedding celebration this year what would you wear?
My wedding outfit was made in two weeks, and was not made in my workshops, as I was not retailing back then. I wasn’t particularly happy with it, as even though the design has been interpreted as I had hoped I was very unhappy with the fitting. So to make up for this, I will be having a big 15th anniversary party next year! I don’t know what I will be wearing, I always leave myself to the last minute, as I always put my clients first!!! My clients think my wardrobe is full, when in fact I just pick something from the store on the same day as the event!
You can read more about Raishma and see more of their designs over at Raishma.co.uk.