As a writer, I love interviewing people and discovering new talent. Gaining a new perspective on a variety of topics excites me – most notably: fashion. Considering our beloved city of Montreal is flourishing with talent in every corner and borough, there’s no shortage of opportunities.
A few months ago, I interviewed Pedram Karimi in his atelier. We discussed his new collection and upcoming travels to London, where he would present his spring/summer 2014 collection, along with several other local Montreal-based designers at the British Fashion Showcase [taking place during London fashion week]. This couldn’t have come at a better time, given the current status of Montreal’s fashion industry.
European designers are well-known for their avant-garde take on fashion. They are light years ahead of us, and have favoured genderless apparel for close to a decade. Surprisingly, Montrealers only recently began to appreciate this particular style trend.
Upon my arrival to the studio, Pedram was nothing but hospitable. He greeted me with a welcoming smile and offered to make tea to help me warm up from the bitter cold (it was quite dreadful out on that particular day).
His spring/summer 2014 collection was styled by Tinashe Musara and shot by Andy Long Hoang. It hung on a metal rack, displaying stunning pieces soon-to-be seen by international buyers. Black onyx, pale steely blues, crisp whites, neutral nudes and pewter tones dominate his most recent collection, and I won’t lie – thoughts tempted me to try them on (in the name of research, of course) but I refrained from doing so for the sake of professionalism.
It’s clear that Karimi’s vision is not bound by the ‘typical’ in traditional gender-restrictive fashion. This vision is devoid of any boundaries or expectations – that are typically portrayed – in menswear versus women’s apparel. It is reflective in the futuristic and utilitarian creations, meant to be owned by the person who wears the garments.
This is a designer who pays close attention to every single detail, ensuring that nothing but the very best be seen, whether locally or the flourishing market overseas.
Given the recent trends we are seeing in street-wear, it’s a great moment for gender-neutral style. As minimalism goes mainstream, Pedram’s fashion power-house is making minimalist attire easily accessible to the local Montreal (and Canadian) market with stunning pieces devoid of gender stereotypes.
The popularity of the style appears to be growing at a high rate. Top celebrities are embracing the aesthetic, including the queen of all things creative, Lady Gaga.
J: Hi Pedram thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Are you looking forward to London fashion week?
P: Yes I am, very much so. The event is more of a presentation during London Fashion week, so there will be six Montreal designers travelling to London to present our collections. The event is more of a trade show and it is being sponsored by the Quebec government, and this is a great opportunity to get some international exposure for the line.
J: Where would you like to see your garments sold, be it online or in a boutique?
P: I would really like to sell my collection at Harvey Nickles some day.
J: What motivates your creative process when getting into a ‘design-frame-of-mind’? (music, cinema/film, art if any of those, what else)
P: I’m Inspired by the world around me, the skater boy hanging out at the end of my street, the fancy lady in west mount, the punk high school girl in uniform, yet obviously punk, the fully covered up Muslim woman doing her groceries with her husband and kids. All these snap shots influence me and have an impact when I design a collection.
J: Help us to understand what is the spirit/soul of your vision
P: I envision a neutral concept until the garment is worn by someone – that’s when they [the garments] take on a character of their own, depending in who is wearing them. This being said, more and more I’m trying to create an opportunity where people can ‘translate’ my garments in their own way.
J: Do you feel that Montreal’s fashion industry is as competitive now as it was when you began designing?
P: No I don’t find Montreal competitive since there are so few of us in terms of quantity. Most of the designers that I know personally have their own style. Actually, we all have a unique style and cater to different clientele, so I don’t find it competitive in that regard.
J: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
P: I see myself more content as ever. Over the last couple of years I’ve striven for improvement with the knowledge that I have gained as a designer. Regarding my brand; I’m hoping to expand so that it reaches a more international audience and clientele.
J: If you had to describe your work in one word, what would it be?
Your Spring/Summer 2014 collection is lovely – thank you for making time for this interview. Wishing you the best of luck in London.
Photograph: Andy Long Hoang
Styling: Tinashe Musara
Lighting specialst: Olivier Duplessis
Hair and make-up: David Matsushita-Fournier from Kemuri Montreal
Model:Ryan from MavenModels
*The International Fashion Showcase Designers event took place on February 13th to 18th 2014 in London U.K.
** This article was translated and published in MUSES MAG in French. Print Copy no longer available