Fashion design is a new concept for Uzbekistan. But this hasn’t stopped Saida Amir from pursuing a career as a fashion designer.
By mixing modern, edgy cuts with traditional fabrics and craftsmanship, Saida is trying to change perceptions when it comes to personal style.
Here she gives Not on the Wires some insight into her world.
NOTW: What made you decide to become a fashion designer?
SA: When I finished school I went to Great Britain to take English classes for a month. I was inspired by the city, and when I came back to Uzbekistan I decided to become a fashion designer, so I found an art college, applied there and studied for 4 years.
NOTW: How did people react to your decision?
SA: They didn’t understand. Many of my classmates applied to do economic or diplomatic courses, but I decided to be an artist. And at that time I think it was just a small step for this industry because many people don’t know what it means to be fashion designer. If I am honest I think my generation is the first in developing fashion in Uzbekistan. Many younger designers ask me to teach them, but I tell them I am actually still learning myself, I am constantly learning.
NOTW: How has fashion changed in the last few years?
SA: Forty years ago when my mum and dad were my age they used to wear national dress from Uzbek fabrics, but now it has changed, many people look to Europe and Russia – I think we have different styles now. But we [also] understand that we have to keep our heritage, and we try to keep our traditional methods and culture, because by doing this we can show our face to the world. We have to have our something special that others can immediately recognise.
NOTW: How would you describe style in Uzbekistan?
SA: We have a specific style. Many designers in Uzbekistan try to use traditional methods like stitch or print, but we also try to mix our old traditional methods with modern shapes and ideas.
NOTW: What are your designs inspired by?
SA: I am influenced by my upbringing because Uzbekistan is my motherland; I am sure I would make other clothes if I lived somewhere else. It is difficult to make one definition for my style, but it’s a style [in] which you can feel freedom in certain frameworks [contexts].
NOTW: Describe Uzbek fashion in three words…
SA: Unique, delicate, and traditional.