May 17, 2019 | By Anupreet Bhui
Ever wondered what it’s like to showcase your designs at NYFW for the first time? This season we spoke to designer Oday Shakar, who just debuted his S/S17 collection at New York Fashion Week. The designer who is no stranger to creating stunning womenswear, is best known for dressing celebrity clientele for events and launched his namesake brand in 2009. After building up a steady business, he was inspired to create an entire collection and debut it on the runway. We caught up with him backstage:
Hi Oday, first off let’s talk a bit about the inspiration for your debut show…
OS: I grew up in Southern California, my first love was drawing horses and riding horses. Then I left the country in 1993 and had a bit of a culture shock when I moved to Baghdad (Oday’s parents were originally from Iraq but moved to the US during the Gulf War) and I never really felt that I fit in anywhere. Coming from one place and being born as an American and then seeing my heritage, it was always difficult and a struggle to find where I fit in. So when I moved to New York and started designing this collection six months ago, I just took some time to self-reflect and I realised that I didn’t need to find inspiration elsewhere. I just looked at my story and found beauty in that, blending the two worlds is what I’m really trying to achieve here.
And this is your first fashion week, so far is it living up to your expectations?
OS: Yeah. It’s been a ride, it’s been a journey.
What time did you get up this morning?
OS: I was up at 6 am this morning (laughs) and in bed at 2:30 am. The adrenaline is keeping me going.
You’re best known for celebrity dressing, how different is it from what you’re doing now at fashion week? Does it feel like a shift?
OS: Yeah it’s definitely a shift. I used to rely on just glamorous fabrics and silhouettes that looked great on the red carpet and photographed beautifully, but it really didn’t tell anything about who I am. And so finally I feel like this collection really speaks about me as a person and as a brand. I hope everyone understands the beauty in it, and that I can share it with the world is an honour.
Amazing. And who is your woman, when you’re designing what’s your inspiration?
OS: She’s an international woman, she’s well-traveled, she’s my mother and my sister. She’s pretty much very educated, she’s bold, she’s strong, and she knows what she likes. She doesn’t need a pretty flirty dress but if she wants one she can wear one. And I wanted to make this woman feel like no matter what she was wearing she had a feeling of a bit of independence and can style it any way she wants.
New York feels like the type of place where you hustle and overcome a lot, does it feel like a good fit to be here?
OS: Yeah I never felt like California, where I was living before, was the right fit for me. I’m more of a city boy, so it’s definitely more up to my speed and it keeps me challenged which I like and not such a relaxed attitude as California.
Let’s talk ‘see-now-buy now’ it’s a huge talking point in fashion right now, what do you think about it?
OS: For me, it’s not really on my radar right now because I needed the time to develop and showcase something that was really worthwhile and I didn’t want to rush anything. I just don’t believe there are seasons anymore, so for me it’s more about creating something that’s timeless, that doesn’t mean it’s fall or spring it’s all year long and lasts a long time. That’s what I’m trying to achieve.
Like this? Follow Oday on Instagram here.
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