DALLAS, Mar 21, 2010 / FW/ — In big fashion houses, creating a collection is a collaborative effort. The Creative Director designs the collection and with the help of his or her assistants, the vision is turned into reality.
There are times when some elements in the collection is commissioned like embroidery and beading. This is often seen in haute couture when the designs are so intricate; the designer has to work with artisans to achieve it.
MFA graduate Sabah Mansoor Husain used that method to finish her graduation collection. Inspired by chandeliers, Sabah designed a knitwear collection that combined an eclectic set of techniques derived from both craft and design.
Drawing upon traditional methods of felting fabrics, crochet, hand embroidery and Shibori (a Japanese technique of dyeing a pattern which begins with binding, stitching, folding, twisting and compressing fabric); Sabah incorporated these first steps of Shibori to manipulate the fabrics and enhance the sculptural textures in her collection.
Still, an inherent part of the design is the beads and crystals that would evoke the chandelier, the muse of the collection. Sabah worked with an artisan in Firozabad, India to customize the jewel-shaped crystals and faceted glass beads she used to embellish to her entirely black and charcoal collection.
Relating on her experience in commissioning the beads and crystals, Sabah said, “When I began working on my collection, a search for the right materials led me on an interesting exploration. I wanted to use a jewel component; however, I was not satisfied with the size and scale of the crystals available at local stores. I searched shops and salvage yards for crystal chandeliers, yet didn’t find the colors and quantities that I needed.”
“Since I grew up in India, and started my design career in the textile industry, I had heard about factories and artisans who created faceted glass beads and bangles in a small city called Firozabad, located within the state of Uttar Pradesh. I traveled there and discovered a small workshop run by a gentleman, Ahmed Farouq. He agreed to work with me and together we designed the pieces from scratch; he even taught me how to facet glass and make it shine like crystal. In a gesture that seems to speak of the importance of his craft and the personal dedication to his work, Mr. Farouq made the trip from Firozabad to Bangalore in order to work on the final product and hand-deliver the finished pieces to me,” Sabah added.
A native of Bangalore, India Sabah Mansoor Husain entered the Academy of Art University for her MFA degree in Fashion and Knitwear Design, after receiving her BA degree in Textile Design from Bangalore’s Srishti School of Art Design and Technology in 2005.
Photos by Randy Brooke, courtesy of AAU