Published on February 19, 2013 | by Florinda Ratkoceri0
Luxury and fashionable flairHasan Hejazi’s journey into the fashion industry is something of a fairytale.
Not only was he scouted by Harrods, one of the most prestigious department stores in London, but he has had Kylie Minogue request his entire collection and has collaborated recently with Marina and the Diamonds.
The London College of Fashion graduate could not be more excited to share his Mancunian roots and his experiences so far in the fashion industry.
His move from London to Manchester was the first time Hejazi has lived away from home.
“I’m quite the mummy’s boy,” he says, “but it was nice to have a London family and in a way a London mum, which was my course tutor.”
Living in London as a student was a sanctuary for Hejazi, where he could hone his talent: “London is full of such amazing people, it does not make anyone feel ashamed and I feel safe here.”
Contacts, contacts, contacts
Prior to his studies in London, Hejazi graduated from the Manchester School of Art with a BA in Womenswear, then going on to complete a MA in Fashion Design and Technology at LCF, which he thoroughly enjoyed – describing the experience as less than stressful.
“That is the only criticism I would have,” he says. “It is all about this fashion industry where you have to make contacts because it is a difficult industry to make a list of contacts in.”
He would have preferred it if the LCF course set students up with someone from the industry, whether it was a magazine or someone who could get students a job.
He continues: “We had loads of guidance in designing the clothes but no guidance after we completed our first collection. That is what I felt was lacking.
“UAL love to support students especially the ones that are doing well but what about the others?
“I am not saying it is a bad thing. If you are studying a fashion design course then obviously you are being taught fashion design and making a collection, not fashion design and setting up your own label. I guess it is in the title so I can’t complain too much.”
In at the deep end
Hejazi explained his difficulties with work experience and internships: “I was not too sure I was even going to do a masters. I thought about work experience but financially it is difficult especially moving from Manchester, so I never looked into that too seriously.”
After his first showcase with UAL in January 2010, Hejazi was one of the lucky few to be thrown straight in at the deep end. This is where his dream became a reality.
“I named a blue chiffon dress after Kylie because it reminded me of her before I graduated. I always thought ‘imagine if a celebrity wore my dress’.” Hasan Hejazi
“Harrods came to the graduate show and they said they wanted to buy the collection,” he recalls. “I did not expect to start my own label, so I began to set it up and got myself a PR agent.”
Hejazi’s graduate fashion show took place at the Victoria and Albert museum, only 17 students out of 50 were chosen to show their work at the showcase. The showcase vaulted Hejazi to the forefront of the fashion industry and the collections kept on coming.
“This was amazing,” Hejazi beams. “And there were celebrities as well as buyers in the audience.”
Bold and eccentric
Hejazi’s first collection was bold and made an eccentric statement. “I was designing whatever I wanted, using flamboyant colours, sequins, outrageous fabrics and materials like goats fur. I never realised what was going to happen, I just did whatever I wanted to.”
And luckily for this ambitious designer, Harrods took to his collection. However, since the launch of his first line, Hejazi has taken a slightly different approach to his ideas and clothing.
“I make sure that it is wearable,” he says, “and I think about who would like the piece. Do I make it or leave it as a sketch?”
His stance on fabrics and designs has evolved; looking back from the first to his fifth collection, there is a progressive movement in the quality and construction.
“Now that you have asked me I realise it has changed. I hadn’t thought about it before.”
Harrods may have been a big break for the designer, but more recently Hejazi has had the opportunity to shoot his Spring/Summer 2011 collection with one of the UK’s leading photographer, UAL alumni Rankin. Co-founder of Dazed and Confused magazine, Rankin has shot the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears and the Spice Girls to name just a few.
Kylie approvesHejazi sings Rankin’s praises saying he was “amazing to work with” and goes on to talk about the excitement of how his clothing is named after celebrities – the women he admires and musicians.
“I am obsessed with celebrities. I have dresses named after Cindy Crawford because I loved her as a model, Naomi Campbell and Kylie Minogue.”
“I named a blue chiffon dress after Kylie because it reminded me of her before I graduated, I always thought ‘imagine if a celebrity wore my dress’.”
Hejazi contacted Kylie Minogue’s stylist and asked if she would be interested in his collection. Minogue went on to request his entire line.
“I got a response and sent over everything, and her stylist ended up telling me that she was ill and couldn’t try everything on but there was one piece Kylie really loved.”
And of course it was the blue chiffon dress named Kylie. In disbelief Hejazi responded to Minogue’s stylist with “you’re joking!”
Kylie Minogue ended up wearing the dress on American Idol, albeit a white commissioned version requested by Minogue’s stylist.
“That was my first celebrity commission and I received a lot of press from it. Jessie J ended up wearing the blue one and it progressed from there.” Many celebrities began to take a major liking to Hejazi.
“It has nothing to do with what size you are; there is always a way to compliment a woman’s body.” Hasan Hejazi
“I don’t know why?” He says modestly, “It must be the colours or the showiness.”
Marina Diamandis, better known by her stage name Marina and the Diamonds, also wore one of his dresses in March 2010 at an NME red carpet event. “We became friends from there and we have worked together a lot throughout these past three years” he says.
Hejazi recently did a collaboration with Marina called ‘Wedding Bells’. The project was based on a ‘designer and their muse’ – Hejazi and Marina even married in the video. “We admire each other’s work,” he reflects.
Hejazi went on to design two more dresses for Marina to wear during an exclusive performance at the prestigious Mayfair club Baroque in November, inspired by the style of the sultry-chic venue and created especially for the evening.
Glamorous evening wear
Hejazi describes his own style as glamorous evening wear, “with a playful, fun edge but also with sportswear influence because everything is quite clean and crisp with a focus on colour.”
When designing, he imagines powerful and confident women who know what they want: “It has nothing to do with what size you are; there is always a way to compliment a woman’s body. Whether you are size 6 or size 20 there is always a way to make you look your best.”
Whether his creations are worn by celebrity, friend, family or customer, Hejazi is keen to know how his clothing makes them feel. He says: “95 per cent of the time I am happy with the result. They all tell me they feel powerful, special and they have never felt that way before.”
Hejazi is currently working on his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, but it will not debut during the London Fashion Week schedule.
Although his work has had somewhat of an impact, he feels nervous about his next collection after having been out of the circuit for a year.
Time has flown by – Hejazi has now lived in London for five years. He hopes to sign contracts with the likes of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in the near future.
“I would love to open my own shop though, where my customers would come to see me and I can build a personal relationship.”
“Now everyone buys online and people are not as excited as they used to be.” Hasan Hejazi
The idea of the luxury shopping experience comes to mind and he reminisces about his younger years when going shopping was such an exciting thing. “Now everyone buys online and people are not as excited as they used to be,” he says.
Hejazi draws inspiration from classic brands such as Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christopher Kane.
Tom Ford on the other hand stands independently on a pedestal rasied above the rest in the eyes of Hejazi; he describes the designer as “perfection and exclusive.”
Having studied the same degree as McQueen and admired his success, Hejazi hopes to achieve as much as those he looks up to. “I would like to say yeah,” he declares with nervous laughter. “Give me a few years.”