The Gaudi of Fashion Design

The Gaudi of Fashion Design
By Ekaterina Larsson

I first met Naim Josefi at Stockholm Fashion Week AW2017. He presented a monochrome jeans collection plus some stunning dresses made of steel sequins, in collaboration with Swedish Steel. This year at SS2018 he amazed us with his new collection Inhabitants inspired by natural colourful beetles.

 

©Images: Fashion Week Stockholm

Naim is often inspired by nature and biology.

I believe that nature has its own aesthetics, some features that we are all drawn to and like very much.

In fact, many of his previous collections are inspired by biology – DNA, arms, hands, bones. I called him “The Gaudi of fashion design” to which he did not object.

©Image: Red and Square Fashion PR

Naim came to Sweden from Iran when he was 23 years old. He was determined to study medicine at that time. Working a bit as a help nurse he figured out that the medical profession was not for him.

I saw too much suffering, I wanted to make people happy instead.

He decided to go into garment construction. Naim was doing that from age 12 in Iran, helping his father in the family clothes shop, so he had some experience. He got a job as a tailor in a bespoke studio in Stockholm then got into Beckmans College of Design on the third try. “I was not ready the first two times! I had to learn how to draw first.”But he was determined and not only got into Beckman’s but won Project Runway in 2011.

Project Runway was a great experience. I presented monochrome collections in all episodes and won! I also wanted to test the TV audience, see what they liked.

©Image: Project Runway Sweden

 

As a winner of Project Runway, Naim got to design garments for Nelly.com

I decided then that mass production clothes is not something for me. I wanted to make more haute couture – exclusive pieces made of fine materials.

His first appearance at Stockholm Fashion Week was in the form of exhibition in 2013 with “Chaos Sensitive”. The collection was in collaboration with Ljungbergs print factory.

 

©Images: Naim Josefi

In the meantime in 2011, British Design Museum nominated Naim for the “Designer of the Year” award alongside Lanvin, Jil Sander and Comme Des Garçons for his 3D printed shoes. The Melonia shoe was designed by Naim Josefi and industrial designer Souzan Youssouf. It was the first 3D-printed couture shoe in the world!

I was so overwhelmed to be nominated for that award! The year before, Alexander McQueen won that award. I mean, these designers are my heroes! I just could not picture myself standing next to them!

Naim did not win the award, Jill Sander won, but still – such a great achievement!

 

©Image: Naim Josefi

The 3D printed shoes caught the eyes of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. “I got some phone calls and they wanted me to send them the shoes. I told them they had to come to Stockholm so I could take a cast from their feet. 3D printed shoes need to be custom made!”

The whole conversation takes place in Naim’s studio, we are sipping coffee out of champagne glasses and I feel super stylish! For the interview, I am styled by Naim in a samurai head piece and enormous beetles scarf from his latest collection. It is so easy to be swept into his world!

 

Image: Ekaterina Larsson

 

©Image: Naim Josefi

 

So what is your approach when designing clothes?

I approach designing clothes very scientifically. My graduation collection from Beckman’s was a kind of a formula for success for a designer. Everyone awaited that collection with much suspense.

And did you find that formula?

I think I did. I looked at other designers, art and music to find such a formula and present it.

I think your work is a bit like Gaudi’s, he was inspired a lot by nature.

Yes, maybe you are right, I have not thought about that so much. I do get inspired by surrealists as well, such as Salvador Dali.

 

©Image: Red and Square Fashion PR

©Image: Naim Josefi

What is your ambition? Where do you want to go from here?

I want to show a collection at Haute Couture in Paris.

And I will get there, I am sure!

 

©Image: Naim Josefi

I see you are in your shop, are you often here?

Yes, I like to be close to my customers and talk to them. They give me some useful feedback as well.

 

©Image: Red Square PR

What is your own personal style?

Monochrome and comfortable. I sometimes borrow clothes from my wife. I cannot be bothered to think about what to wear so much when it comes to my own style.

What do you do in your free time?

I play with my daughter. She is two now and she is learning new things. Super fun!

What is your favourite food?

Rice! You can do so many things with rice.

Favourite music?

Classics, such as Mozart. And K-pop.

Last question – can I go home with this scarf?

No, but you can buy it, haha!:)

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Image: Ekaterina Larsson

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