We talk to Iman Malik from Farida Apparel about the delicate balance between making clothes to suit men and women but creating a genderless collection.
Your ideas on gender and style are really interesting, can you tell us more about Farida’s ethos?
I knew from the offset that Farida Apparel would be a unisex clothing line. Gender doesn’t really exist when it comes to fashion and I personally believe there are no boundaries or limitations. This is evident when we look at popular culture today. There is no definition when it comes to personal style either, you are free to dress however you want to. If it happens to be in a man’s shirt or women’s skinny jeans, that’s okay. London is such an exciting city and I feel like you can truly be who you want to be and express yourself in anyway. Farida is built from these values, which also echo my views towards fashion. I wanted to create a clothing line that could appeal to an audience that consume fashion to the fullest and like to get creative with their personal style.
Where was the name for Farida born from?
Farida is my mother’s name. I really wanted a name that meant a lot to me, I think it’s a beautiful name! Her reaction when I told her was like, “Really? And it’s for both men & women? Ummm that’s great” LOL. A step up from her reaction a few years back when I showed her my tattoo of her name in Arabic on my arm.
Where did the inspiration for the collection come from?
The first collection has been inspired by many things I would say. A lot of it has to do with my own personal style and how I consume fashion. Being comfortable is very important to me so I pay a lot of attention to the finer details including finishings, sizing and also the feel of different fabric. I love textured fabric! Other inspirations include my cultural heritage, my family, friends, photography, art, music, travel… the list goes on. I find myself always switched on soaking in as much as I can. I am also a very visual person, so drawing and taking pictures is something very natural to me and allows me to flesh out my inspirations to the fullest.
Obviously the collection is unisex and modelled on both a man and a woman, how do you go about designing something that works on both sexes?
It was all about pushing the design process when it came to the creation of our first collection. We played with a classic garment like a shirt and worked on its shape/fit to try and achieve something that would work for both the male and female form. Our collection is all oversized (with the exception of trousers), therefore we assessed the overall look and practicality of each garment, as well as how it complimented the collection as a whole. Our fabric selection was a lengthy process as on one hand we wanted the fabrics to reflect the sartorial world from our initial references so we went after mixed wools and textured cottons. At the same time we wanted to contrast this with technical fabrics like neoprene’s and mesh whilst providing consistency amongst the collection. We then added typical female fabrics such as silk French crepe and vichy cotton etc to reinterpret the weight of the classical fabrics. All these elements allowed for a collaboration of the genders producing our first unisex collection.
What was your top priority when designing the collection?
I set out with more than one priority when designing ‘Capsule1.0’. I really wanted to create something that was both contemporary and versatile, items that were easily adapted to both sexes and produced with a great level of care. Our collection is made in Italy following a high standard of handicraft with each garment on most part hand sewn to provide an exclusive experience to the customer. When you purchase an item from Farida, you are investing in a lifestyle and something that is truly unique. Exclusivity is a tremendous characteristic of this brand therefore every item is truly bespoke.
Who would be the ultimate Farida pin up guy/girl?
It would be difficult for me to pick the ultimate pin up guy/girl. I would say Farida is for anyone that appreciates fashion and likes something more bespoke than mass produced. Someone that likes making a statement with their personal style and investing in new brands.
Lastly, describe Farida in 3 words?