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Young Designer of the Year

Young fashion designer and Darwin Middle School student Maneeza Rahmany first learned to sew in 2015. She hasn’t looked back, recently taking out the top gong at the 2017 Apex Australia Teenage Fashion and Arts Youth Festival in Perth.

Off The Leash caught up with the inspiring and driven emerging designer.

How did you learn to sew? 

The first time I held hands on a sewing machine was at a City of Darwin workshop. I was the first to arrive and the most anxious entrant. Dixi Joy Bankier helped me immensely in the creation of my garment in 2015 and she’s been an extremely dedicated mentor ever since, consistently working with me to grow as a young emerging fashion designer. 

Would you recommend the workshops to others who want to get involved in the fashion industry? 

The workshops are a great help for young designers hoping to participate in the NTeen Fashion Festival. As most teenagers desire to showcase their talent and creativity at the show, they’re generally disabled by the necessity of cutting and sewing. This factor is a huge drawback for young teens entering the competition. However, the workshops have enabled designers to display their true capabilities by assisting them in the sewing requirements. The workshops are also a great way to interact with the other contestants in a mutually  respected environment.

Where do you draw your inspiration? 

At this point, my style has evolved tremendously and it's all due to my growth as an emerging designer. I gather my inspiration from a range of different sources and utilise them towards my designs. The most significant inspiration however, is my home city, Delhi. The vibrant colours, flavours and textures are truly mesmerising and the constant energy and fiery vigour captivate any soul. The city drives as my main source of inspiration. Designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Roberto Cavalli, Karl Lagerfield, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and many more all motivate me through their creative energy and freedom of style. Their infinite passion for design and fashion is truly inspiring. From time to time, various textures, certain silhouettes and specific fabrics can really influence my style and encourage me to design something new. 

How did you prepare for the competition? 

The initial design process began way back in mid January. I began with countless sketches and searched for design inspirations everywhere, from Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, magazines, fashion archives and antique pieces in my Mum’s wardrobe. I also scavenged through textiles, materials, fabrics, drapes, appliqués, gathers and certain finishes to create my desired vision of an Indian-Western fusion design. Then I pursued the technical side, which involves sewing the garments in a muslin form. This practice run helps develop the design and structure of the garment and any necessary adjustments and changes can be made. After the muslin run, I was ready to cut and sew the designs on the finalised fabrics.

What was it like to win 2017 Young Designer of the Year? 

It was absolutely incredible. The feeling of listening to my name being cheered and receiving the title as ‘Young Designer of the Year’, was insane. The sensation was euphoric and no amount of words will be able to justify the sheer happiness. 

What's next for you? 

I always strive for more, the past is never enough. As soon as I allow myself to believe the present is adequate, I risk losing my passion. So I’m constantly on the reach for more awards, more titles, more recognition and more success. I’ve always dreamt of having creative control over my very own label one day, myself as the creative designer. Being a fashion designer of my own fashion house gives me complete creative control over the designs and allows me to input my style and persona on an international scale. The freedom of such an occupation is great and I'd love to be able to transform my dream into a living, breathing reality. 


Images: designs by Maneeza Rahmany, 2017

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