Do I need school to be...

a fashion designer? with Owais Haji

November 04, 2021 Alex Villacís Season 1 Episode 15
Do I need school to be...
a fashion designer? with Owais Haji
Show Notes Transcript

For this week’s episode, you’ll listen to an interview with Owais Haji. A fashion designer (and podcaster) from Pakistan currently working in Australia, Owais will share with us in this episode:

  • His experience with formal education
  • The importance of honouring informal education and skills being passed down through generations
  • The teachings of his incredible Dean of Design 
  • Why asking, “who is this for?” is so important and more! 

Curious about Owais and his work? Here are some links:
Instagram
E-mail
His podcast ‘Binge Box’ , the show that answers your "what are you watching?", 'what should watch' , "what to read" and "what podcast do you listen to" questions

 In an effort to make this podcast accessible, we make transcripts of every episode. You’ll find the transcripts on our website here, https://doineedschooltobe.buzzsprout.com

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Owais Haji:

One of my teachers used to say that a pencil is such a beast, that it's really, really hard to tame. Because when you make a mark on the page, you're the one who has got holding the pressure and everything. But it's the pencil that's making the more and but you still need to tame that beast.

Alex Villacis:

Hey everyone, and welcome to join me it's cool to be a podcast in which me Alex is going to sit down with creatives of all types, to ask them about their education, and what their journey into the creative field was. This show is for people who are thinking about entering the creative field, whether they are young and just coming out of high school, or whether they're in their 80s and want to become an illustrator. Yes, of course, join us and learn how people who are in the field learned developed what books they read what movies they watch, who are the teachers that mentors and how to develop their unique style. In this episode, I'm talking to awais Hadji who is a fashion designer. And we go so much deeper in this episode, we don't say only on fashion designer education, we talk about how designers and creatives can shape the world and why it's so important to educate them properly. We talk about his inspiring Dean, we talk about having respect for ancestral knowledge, and so much more. So enjoy the episode. And here's my conversation with a waste Haji. Well, welcome always How are you today?

Owais Haji:

I like some good, how are you going?

Alex Villacis:

I am great. It's cool. Here in the Netherlands. It's like it's so it's a good 17 degrees with a little bit of humidity in the air. So it felt like I was biking through an AC which was amazing.

Owais Haji:

Oh, nice. Oh, nice.

Alex Villacis:

So how are things? How are things on your side of the world?

Owais Haji:

Um, we're going through a vintage chill here in Sydney, and we are gone in lockdown. So yeah, we're all part and parcel of this pandemic.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, it's the world is a different place than it was before. But we'll adapt. And we'll survive. And we'll make it through. Yes. Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much for being here with me today. And I would love to start us off by asking you, who you are, and what you're currently up to.

Owais Haji:

So my name is always I am originally from Pakistan. And I did my textile design from India, sadly, School of Art and Architecture. I was working there as a fashion designer. And then I moved to Sydney for my Master's in fashion and textiles. And now I work for like small retail boutique. As a fashion designer, but I also do styling photography. So it's a mixed bag of things.

Alex Villacis:

You're the first fashion designer, I have an a podcast. No kidding. And also, and also the best hair. I can give an award right now for who has the best hair Indian. Oh, my guest. You have the best hair. It's glorious. I have. I am extremely jealous right now. Thank you so much. So you have so you have a formal background, you have a formal education behind you. Yeah. Yeah. How? How did you come to like, how did you get there? Was it a choice that you always knew that you wanted to go to school for a creative field? or How did you get into this field.

Owais Haji:

So I come from a very, very business minded family. Because in Pakistan, you have to be especially in South Asian culture. It's either an engineer doctor, or, you know, one of those professions. This is like a safe bet. And I did, I went through the whole process, I applied to all those school and let's just say, I did not get in. And then my parents were like, do whatever you want. And I'm like, I just because sometimes they go like yeah, okay, we'll do whatever you want. And I jumped at that. And I took an entrance exam to an art school within the city because they weren't letting me go to another one. So they were like, Okay, this is the next best thing. And I applied to that school, and I got in. But I did sort of like did art school during my art, like not formal art education. But I used to be really interested in the art and during my a levels, I used to just go into art classes that used to be there and just sit and just talk to people. And that's how I got in my undergrad because they did not have a requirement that you had to study art beforehand. You just needed to know how to draw and that's why that's one of the things my teachers told me that you're here to study and question things so we have to teach you. So you don't you need to know some things but you don't need to know everything.

Alex Villacis:

That's such an interesting approach. I think it's so interesting because many times in formal education they have like a complete syllabus of you have to check all these boxes. But sounds like you had a different experience there. were like okay, what interests you How do we get there?

Owais Haji:

especially because a school especially because the school where, you know, sometimes schools have this requirement that you probably need to come from like a chemistry or you know, if you're going in an engineering background, so you need to sort of like study chemistry and physics and all of those things. And so yeah, that was the thing that this one didn't. And all it needed was like, You need to have like some drawing skills. And the rest you were taught. So yeah, that's how I sort of like had that from education. And and so in Pakistan, specifically, a Bachelor's is a four year course. So in my first year, we did everything, we would do architectural drawings, we would do sculptures, we would do basic design concepts of, you know, negative spaces, line, texture, and all of those things. And then we will also do like, basic drawing, because like it or not, basis of everything, especially in design is drawing. So even if you know, in in terms of like fashion, your silhouette, or like nine heads, which is like you know, more extended, you still need to be able to draw. So I used to sort of like contest that a lot in the beginning, but then I sort of like gave into that process. And one of my teachers used to say that a pencil is such a beast, that it's really, really hard to tame, because when you make a mark on the page, you're the one who has that's holding the pressure and everything, but it's the pencil that's making the mark, but you still need to tame that beast.

Alex Villacis:

That's beautiful. That's a T shirt. T shirt right there. I mean,

Owais Haji:

with the pencil,

Alex Villacis:

exactly that I see that easily being like that slogan for a new pencil, or those fancy pencil companies that sell like 10 your pencils be like, a pencil is a beast, you need to take like, magical.

Owais Haji:

It was so good. So yeah, that's and then after first year, then we choose our majors, which which Pro, which were offered to us with green textile design, interior design, architecture, and Fine Arts. So I had an option to go to finance, but that wasn't like, you know, very, just also to appease my parents. It was like, okay, and I was because I was also interested in fashion. So the next best thing was textiles. So that was my perfect sort of, like, entry point into that with fabrics with textures and all of that. So that was my first entry point and seeing how things worked and all of that. So basically, I in our textile design, you experience a number, a range of skills, but and then in the end, you choose your majors within those skills. So I was trained, or I was sort of like taught as a handloom Weaver. So I know how to handle on V fabric. Yeah. So because you know, yes. So my basic logic behind that was that I can learn how to no doing print techniques and screen printing and all of that, because you do it as a minor and you do projects with it. And but handloom weaving is something that you that you would get an opportunity to learn only in school, because I know after school, I haven't sat on a low handloom, I knew how to weave and do everything, but having sort of like set, but I have worked with beavers, and all of that throughout my professional life as well. But I would tell them that, you know, I need this sort of weave and this even this leave, so I could tell, and I could check. So yeah.

Alex Villacis:

So your education gave you a vocabulary and taught you a process that you have now used in your professional career. And so you graduate from textile design, how do you go into fashion out? Because you can so there?

Owais Haji:

Yeah, I could have stayed there. So India, India, and Pakistan has a lot of, yeah, it's pretty much we have the same people. So Pakistan has a lot of textile companies, especially the mills because Pakistan is the sixth exporter of cotton in the world. So because it has all these textile mills and all of that, but I wasn't. And I belong to this sort of like people group of people in terms of my my family connections and everything that, you know, a lot of these mills are owned by these people, but I wasn't sort of like too keen on that culture. So I first sort of I gave out a range of interviews for fashion design jobs, and And I was like, you know, because what I used to do every time even say I was leaving fabrics, or I was doing any projects during school, all of my projects were very fashion forward and fashion based. So everything was apparel, you could have a choice between home furnishings and do things, and installation. So mine were always used to be a pero. Because I knew in my mind that after I graduate from this place, I need I need to step into that field. So a school gives you that skills and it gives you that aesthetic, to develop that aesthetic. And because I know for a fact there were like students who would always do like intricate work. And students who would always do like bold strokes and bold brushes. And I was always kind the middle because if I would do too intricate work, I would get bored with it. And if I go too bold, I would get bored with it. And I was like, Huh. But the good thing that came out of it, I got a variety in my work and in my portfolio, which is always important that you go about and the most thing is when you enjoy doing this because in one of our courses during my undergrad, we had one fashion course where we had to design a pair of pants or a shirt and you know, a whole look, and I aced it. I aced it, I was like I was like

Alex Villacis:

the pride in your face right now. People like they cannot see it but the pride your face right now you're like I aced it, just so you all know that I am

Owais Haji:

because I was like so excited about doing it. I was like you know, the teacher would ask for 10 sketches, I would make 100. And I would just be like just going on and on and on. So I just like that. And that was a semester I enjoyed the most because apart from that fashion elective I also because we also had to go outside our departments to do different things in terms of different electors. And I because I also interested in Fine Arts. So I chose printmaking, which is a completely different medium. It's like in fine art, I just call it the dirtiest medium that requires the cleanest result.

Alex Villacis:

Okay, description.

Owais Haji:

Yeah, because you know, you're playing with inks and plates and everything. But you need your final copy of the print to be a zactly within the bounds and within the frame. And I was like, Yes, this is so messy, but it was so satisfying once it comes out. So that gives you a lot of foundation to build layers, build lots of drawings, and all of that. And I did a sculpture in there and developed range of printing there. So yeah, that sort of like give me a little more sort of.

Alex Villacis:

Hi, everyone. It's me, Alex. Again, just to let you know that if you're listening to this podcast through Apple podcast, and you're not subscribed to the show, you might not be able to enjoy the links on the show notes, which are usually to my guests recommendations if they're recommended a book or to the website social media, if they have a course going on the shop or something I'm always going to feature it's there. So I would highly recommend that you subscribe to the show so you can enjoy that feature and support the amazing people that I bring on the podcast. You will also find their links to the show social media and to the website where I put transcripts of every episode. So yeah, if you can please subscribe. I'll start babbling now and go back to my conversation with always Hajji.

Owais Haji:

But what it gives you is like a broader perspective into something that is much more than just fabrics or design or fabric in terms of textile or fashion. So give me that so once you know it helps you in your prints, it helps you in your other things as well. So that's why I wanted to do that. So that was one of my ideas behind going into printmaking. As a sort of son even now when I when I go to a printmaking exhibitions and anything, I would just get more excited. And it's like, wow,

Alex Villacis:

I love that. And I love the idea that going to a formal education gives you a broader perspective that is not only what you are curious about what you experience, but all those additional factors in the sense that maybe if you had gone to learn from directly from a master textile maker, you only learn from their experience. But when you go to a formal education you get such a broad thing. Yeah influenced your work. And I'm guessing now that when you're thinking of an outfit or a design, you think, Oh how I can create a tech for it, or you have a different level of understanding, or you see something and you think of not only the outfit, the lines, the shapes, you see also the material.

Owais Haji:

And what happens is sometimes because a design as an approach, what I was taught is very holistic, you don't teach design, you obviously come up with ideas, you come up with things, but you don't design within a bubble, you have to sort of like, contain everything, because one, you're a member of the society, so you have a certain social responsibility, as well as design does not have to be if you're doing just textile design, then it's just your thing. Or if it's, you know, if you're just doing interior design, you'll only sort of like restrict yourself to that, if because whatever you're doing could actually garner a reaction for someone who works in the corporate world. That's so true. So one of them like one of them, that's my, my, especially my dean of design in my school, she had a very, very holistic approach about it, she would be like, you know, go to this area, go to that area, because weavers and crafts maker and all of these people, they have a language and aesthetic of their own. What you developed is a very, very sort of like, polished and very learned aesthetic. But when you work with someone who has a generational education pass through it, and generational training passed to them, you can benefit and you can learn from that. Because what has happened is that it's very vernacular, because it's, you know, it's their language, it's their, it's not sort of like formal training of ABCDE. It's passed through them from their parents, to their parents, from their parents. And because I have worked with beavers, in villages, I have worked with beavers in the city. I've worked with all of these people. And there is so much to learn from them that when you see your education, it can and you see your their skills, it's when they both meet somewhere in the middle. It's an amazing thing. I remember the first time we went to was like around 10 years ago, we went to this village and we went to do these projects with an NGO because we had to do an internship. So we had to do we develop and we went with an NGO to these areas. And we had to develop a few products with these basket Weaver's and handloom Weaver's and all of that, now with the basketry, we, it's amazing how many we ask them to create colour samples, and how do they do colorings and how and their skill set. Now as much as I try to get that skill set, I can't I can try it, but I can't do it. So what we did was we created a range of products with their set of basketry skills. So we had like plates and all of that 10 years later, I see the same thing in IKEA.

Alex Villacis:

Oh, that's some people.

Owais Haji:

I know. 10 years later, I see the same things, and I can't and I'm like, on campus. So

Alex Villacis:

yeah, I think I think it's great that you had these Dean, this person that told that there was never a separation of because they don't have formal training, they're not good, or your training is better. Went to school, it was like that it's different, recognising that there's different ways to learn and different paths to education. value in both.

Owais Haji:

Yes, exactly. And because Pakistan has this tradition of this sort of craft thing that's called truck art, which is art and paintings on trucks. Now that is entirely done by craftsmen or painters or sticker artists who, who don't have any sort of like school education. They had just seen their elders do work on that. And now what happens is designers like me, they see that which is their design their thing and we see you be used that as an inspiration. So that is amazing that you know, a lot of designers use that as an inspiration. So if you google say truck or Pakistan, you will come up with this huge range of people who have done this art and then you will seek fashion designers who have used that in their clothing.

Alex Villacis:

So there's a lot of like cross influence. Yes, from that so great. But that's fine, too, that you're open to those things as well.

Owais Haji:

Yes, that's why I never sort of go like oh my god, you know, someone else who hasn't done like, you know, education, education is not sort of Amazing because what happens is it my perspective might be broader. But their skill set is far more narrower and far more sort of in tune so well, that they can pick up a mistake like this.

Alex Villacis:

That's amazing. And I want to I want to talk now about your teachers, because you mentioned a teacher that told you that the pencil had needs to be mastered. Yeah. And then you have this amazing Dean, who told to pat this holistic approach to design? Yeah. Did you have any other teachers that really imprinted on you?

Owais Haji:

Yeah, like, um, so my dean of design was one of them, she would have this very, very holistic approach, she would go, she would be like, you need to go out there and you need to, you need to get in the middle of things to actually do it. What she was told she, I heard her one interview, and she sort of like said this to told a story about, she told a story about the she sent all of these, you know, students to get threads, and thread buttons, and all of those things to go to market. And, you know, sometimes students get very, very precious about things. They do, and they get very precious about things that oh, my God, I'm not gonna go here, and I'm not gonna go there. And all of that, and she was like, No, you need to go. And when these girls went to the certain area, and all of that, across from that is a highly highly Nobel laureate, filan, philanthropic. He's like a philanthropist, I would say, but he was he was the guy who Ed, who has been a Nobel laureate, and he has done a lot of social services within Pakistan. So he was his office was across the where these girls who are going out and getting all of these things. Now, obviously, these girls look very out of the place within that market. And, and this guy who has nothing to do with design, he came over and he asked these girls that what they were up to, and then these girls told him that you know, we are design students, we do this, we textile design, and all of that. And then my dean of design actually called him and invited him for one of the graduations. And he did come in his like one of like, last few days before he passed away.

Alex Villacis:

Wow, yeah. That's an experience right there exactly like you with this person who you're like, wow, you're Nobel laureate, you're like high up there. And I get this chance to have like a one of almost a one on one with you. Yeah,

Owais Haji:

let me check if he is a Nobel laureate, I'm not sure though. But he did a lot for social welfare. That was

Alex Villacis:

also very important. Even if he didn't get in the world price. If he offered search force, for social advancement, that's also great.

Owais Haji:

So this guy who is a social welfare legend, has nothing to do with design, you see how a design practice of just sort of going to the market can bring in someone within that process? Wow. Yeah. And yeah,

Alex Villacis:

I think that's pretty impressive from your dean to be in that space, in that in that space of mind to say, like, Hey, this is for everybody. This is not just for this narrow group of people, we have to learn from everybody and keep an eye out for because talent happens anywhere.

Owais Haji:

Exactly. And she was like, so but she was like a straight talker, if she would, like, hate something, she would tell you that, you know, this is not nice. I mean, she has to be and this is like one of the things that I really liked about it that, you know, if it's bad, then it's bad. It's trash, no one's good. And her sort of like, approach was also that design is supposed to integrate people's lives. It's not supposed to be just in the corner or just sort of like, you know, especially in the case of fashion or textile, just to be you know, in your closet and just be there. It's supposed to integrate your life. So every time we used to make something, the first thing she would ask is who's going to buy it? Because Oh, because every and everyone was like, Oh my god, a VR sort of like artists and we are, you know, this person. Why do we need to think about buying what you do? You are if you are bringing about a social change, say you are working with handloom Weaver's with organic threads and working through that cycle of chain, you need to provide a certain market for it because then if it doesn't sell, then that cycle breaks and there's nothing to feed That cycle for it to continue.

Alex Villacis:

So a very circular so she had a very circular approach to everything. It's like, okay, you're gonna make this beautiful thing. Yeah, who's gonna get it? He's gonna use it.

Owais Haji:

So you know, every everyone was used to go like oh my God, why do we have to be so commercial? And I was like, no you do

Alex Villacis:

later totally agree I think there is this misconception about when especially when it comes to fashion that you see all those fashion shows or at least I do like the Paris like Paris railway and so on the few times that it goes I'm not I that's my struggle with fashion that sometimes I see in the article that I went to like fashion students design something and I'm like, Who's gonna wear this exactly what human being it's going to go to work wearing this? Or Who who are you designing this for?

Owais Haji:

And that's one of the missing I think links sometimes I find because I find you get to explore a range of things and skills within your design education. But you need to sort of put that out in the world design can't exist in isolation. Like I said earlier, and the thing is, you can be Tom Ford or you can be McQueen. Exactly you if you want to be McQueen Go for it, because he was a genius and all kudos to him, but he left his company in a debt. So that is not. Yeah, so that is not that is not a very savoury part of this business. Because Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah. And I think that's also thinking about, I love how you mentioned before about that social that that the person that was involved social welfare, because it's also the question there. When you're designing something, a product no matter what, in the design field, there's this whole right now that we're only designing for a very small group of people, in the sense that, for example, our graphic designers for graphic design, we create these, they make this beautiful box silkscreen with gold leaf, but then who's going to use it? Who buys it? What 50 people can't afford it, you get your money back that said, but what about the 83% of the world's population who cannot afford this 50 euro book?

Owais Haji:

Yeah, this is this is usually what I can test with a lot in terms of design practice that, you know, you have to strike a certain balance between art and commerce. And you have to sort of like make peace with things somewhere that, you know, people might not pay for something, but they will pay for other things.

Alex Villacis:

Exactly. And also thinking that if you have a like that circle, that approach, it's like, okay, I am going to design this, I'm going to hire these weavers, I'm going to create jobs for them, yeah, then they're going to sell it to people, and then I'm gonna be able to pay them and they're gonna continue to work. And it's very idea that what you're making needs to come from needs to have, like a need that you need to be making a service. Like, what's your service why this is exactly

Owais Haji:

because now people are very aware, especially after this whole pandemic, they're very aware of where they're spending the money. So and the transparency about the whole, who made your clothes movement, and that came about so that was one of the things that things is that you know, you if you're creating the need, you need to tell a story with your design.

Alex Villacis:

I love that, that you have such an interesting practice that like such a deep and interesting practice. I love that we're talking today. So how are you going to bring this forward? Do you see yourself like one day becoming a teacher or a mentor because you have these very interesting socially responsible idea, I you bring it forward one day, spread the message hopefully

Owais Haji:

because I teach like here and there I teach sort of, like do workshops if someone asks me to, in terms of how to create prints and works and all of that. So I do sort of like dude here and there, but not sort of, because I have also worked as a fashion designer. And my fashion design practice is just that because we have block printers in India that I work with, we have so they would serve it's not entirely because we are buying still mind clothes for them from the middle. But we have traditional block printers who would do block prints for us then we create and then when but when we will send we will send the design from here we would send the patterns from here and but we would ask them what blocks Do they have. So we would make an arrangement and make a silhouette and have a sample made. And once a sample is made then you know there are corrections and things so I am sort of doing that but I was still sort of like getting more integrated within that process. But yeah, that's where I think my whole sort of like design practice or design the static lies that everyone goes like oh my god, it's organic. It's supposed to be drab and you know, very sad looking. No, it's not you're a designer, you need to design better.

Alex Villacis:

Let's Go to the future of creative education. So we are now like far away from the times of going to an apprenticeship. And we have the internet where you can learn anything I mean, you can technically learn, you can learn to do your taxes, or you can learn how to paint a masterpiece. Or you can learn how to maybe even weave like you're like you learned from weavers. So where do you see creative education going in the future.

Owais Haji:

So personally, for me, because I'm a very, very tactile person, and especially fashion because it has to sort of like drape on your body and your skin has to feel it. that education is still sort of like necessary on how you feel the fabric, how you sort of like how it feels on you, the textures, the patterns and all of that. Now what is happening, especially in the realm of fashion is digital fashion, where graphic designers come in a lot with 3d rendering, and fabric, how. Not at all. Now the thing is that these design because they want to be very sustainable, because fashion is one of the most major pollutants of the planet. Now the because they're still sort of like very initial stages, it's still sort of like working its kinks out. And I was talking to someone yesterday with regards to that. And so now what has come into the fore is a 3d fashion, which is mostly digital, which is, is mostly but what they can't do is isolate what already has been. So what these people with 3d renderings, they have another set of skills, another set of tools, like Photoshop, or like illustrator, they have this set of tools that need to be harnessed. But the thing is, you can't isolate people, or you can't sort of distance yourself away from the practices that already were in place for so many years. Because you need to know how the fabric folds you need to know how the fabric drapes on the body. And there are practices that are coming up that, you know there was a collab with fabric and Tommy Hilfiger, where traditional designers sat with the 3d designers and they both exchange notes on how the fabric fell on the body, what kind of fabrics were these designed, and all of those things. So I think the skills and as the technology progresses, especially in the creative design sector, and creative design education, I think the number of skills people will have to get is more because one is just not going to cut it. Let's be honest, and you have to be much more of a rounded person in terms of your aesthetic. And that's when the same thing that I said earlier that you can't be very isolated in design, when you're say designing for textile or designing for interiors it has because it will spill into other avenues. So if I am a fashion designer, but I am doing interiors for house of a friend, I would do it with an aesthetic, that's mine, that would probably reflect in fashion as well somehow. So there's a lot of cross pollination of different disciplines that need to happen and that will happen. And we have seen that happen throughout generations and a lot of designers collaborate with fabric sculpture artists, and they collaborate with a lot of sculptors and fine artists for their shows and a lot of digital artists for digitising them collection. So people we have seen that and it will happen more and more and more. So a student who is getting into design education specifically, obviously he needs to get the basis, right. That is what my ultimate thing would be you once you get your basis, right? You can sort of get into different avenues very, very easily because I know for a fact when I used to do my education when I used to study my teachers used to be like just go to the library and flip through interior design magazine. Now I'm a textile designer and I'm studying textile design or what would interior design do to me, but what it does is it sort of calibrates your brain to see how you see colours together how you see unexpected combination or expect to come combinations of colours, textures that work together. So all of these things come through and come through that and when I did my masters at the USGS in Sydney, one of the major questions that we asked was in specially in creative design. What are we designing and why are we designing for it? So a Say you have a cup in your hands. Now cup or a mug has a handle on the side. Now you're a designer, and I personally think designers are people with superpowers, they actually control people. So if you are making a mug and you have a handle on it, then you are dictating to the other person that you need to pick it up with the handle. But if it does not have a handle, and it's just a regular mug, or just a mug without handles, then it is your choice that you're dictating as a designer, to the other people that it needs to be picked up with both hands. So you have that superpower, you need to sort of like, harness that potential. And no one understands that when I give them that example.

Alex Villacis:

No, I love it, I totally get it. Because let's say you have a handle that has three holes in it, you're telling them you're gonna have to pick it up with three fingers. So it is a responsibility that you have to be aware of that you're shaping this person's life in something as simple as how they're going to pick up a mug, or how they're going to where they're going to wear, whether they're going to head out to the world in or exactly comes to document how they're going to fill them out. And all those things.

Owais Haji:

Yes, and the best design practices or design solutions, because design is basically creative solution seeking. So design and the best things that I have seen personally in design is that anything that finds a solution of things that you probably didn't think that you needed a solution for. But it resolves that so beautifully, that when you integrate it in your life, you don't serve. It's not a hindrance to your life. It makes it easier. Wow, that's deep. So it should integrate very seamlessly in your life. Yeah, and

Alex Villacis:

for that you need to understand who you're designing for and see like, what can I integrate into their life?

Owais Haji:

Yes, yes. So if you say if you go if you are designing render, where supposedly that's the most sort of, like, easy example, you need to design something that's lined that's with you know, some sort of padding and you're creating something so that when that person goes out in from his home, he doesn't feel that cold, he still has the normal body temperature. Now that's a design solution that you know what material you use, what you whatever you think you use, and you're solving a problem. And that integrates seamlessly into that person's life that he just wears it over their body. And you're not overly asking them yeah, so design solution have to be in that single course.

Alex Villacis:

Of course I love that and I love that your education prepared you to think about those needs and to think to get ready for that. Like you said beautifully cross pollination with other disciplines that you can start thinking about Well that was a great episode we made it to the end thank you so much always for being with me today. And for dropping so many knowledge bombs and dropping so so much design practice philosophy that I personally, honestly like fashion design to me feels almost like sometimes even been for the fashion designers that I've met.

Owais Haji:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it feels very superficial. But you know, there is a lot to it that you can tell about a person without even communicating and that's the fashion power of it. That

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, but I love that and I love that we had this conversation and I hope that a lot of people will have get a lot of insights from it. Unlike some people think I actually asked one of my professors if he wanted to be on the podcast, and he was like so are you going to tear the school apart? And I'm like no, that's not the point of it. This episode is a great example of that that we're not i'm not saying at any time don't go to school it's bullshit it's like no it's

Owais Haji:

no no no you go to school but you also respect the education of someone who has had years and generations of track training. So and you find a middle ground with it.

Alex Villacis:

I think that's the perfect way to summarise this like I'm gonna steal that for the for the for the for the show description I'm gonna put that at the top. So is there anything that you want to promote right now something that you're working on a project that's coming up and if not a bulk or some kind of like education or a personally want to promote me,

Owais Haji:

I'm not like a person that I would like to promote but in terms of like, you know, students getting into design education, just be aware that you know, it's not going to be easy You have to be in it for the love of it. Otherwise don't get into it because I know for a fact that, you know, I used to climb three flights of stairs, three stories every day at my school, because I would like big bags of things that I need to do. And everyone's like, Oh my God, why are you doing this? Because I love it that much, then I would do it for like four years. And you need to love it that much. So ask yourself the question of why are you doing this? And ask that question a lot, and expose yourself to designers and peoples to see what you like, and specifically what you don't like and question that as well that why don't you like it? Why does it align with your setting, as far as promoting goes, Nothing as such to promote, but just sort of keep at it and create, we need more fashion designers. To be honest, we need good fashion designers, one who had like more solutions to the problems that are in fashion itself. And we need if there are any investors out there who want to sort of like invest into designers, go for it, look up labels who are doing that and invest time time. Because that is the future because we need to find sustainable solutions. Because that's the only way going forward.

Alex Villacis:

I love that. That's that's so deep. So thank you so much for this interview. It was amazing. I will include all your information on the show notes so people know how to contact you because I'm sure people will be inspired by you. So thank you so much.

Owais Haji:

Yeah, you can just contact me on my Instagram. Owais Haji. It's pretty straightforward. Yeah. And yeah, feel free to DM me any questions? I'm good.

Alex Villacis:

That's great. Well, thank you so much. And I hope you have a great day. You too. I love this interview with a waste. I have to be honest, I went into it thinking like okay, we're gonna talk a lot about fashion design and the artistic side. But I love how we got also into the commercial side. And the potential that fashion designers and designers all around have to change reality change systems bring forward people who are extremely talented, and maybe they did not have access to formal education. So yeah, super deep, super insightful. I really hope you enjoy that. And you reach out to awais. You'll find links to his social media, his email and his podcast on the show notes. And as we come to the end of another episode, I want to thank you for joining us today and recommend that you listen to our other episodes with other amazing creatives and listen to their stories and get inspired by all the different journeys they have put forth. Also, if you want to reach out to us on social media, please do leave us a review. Give us your comments. Give us your feedback, keep us learning. And yeah, I hope to be in your ears again next week. Keep learning and stay curious. Bye