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In March 2011, I was chosen to be a runway model in Vancouver, BC’s Fashion Week (VFW). I was so excited. Vancouver is an up-and-coming, dynamic and diverse city in the heart of British Columbia, Canada. The city is full of life, beautiful people and VFW is known for thinking outside of the box, bringing in international designers to put together a stunning show.
Photo credit: Lawrence Lu 2011
I was chosen to walk for the co-designer Nazafarin Sadat Akhavi in the line Autobiographie Paris. Backstage the models whispered with excitement because Nazafarin came from Europe and had worked at the Betsey Johnson house of design in Manhattan. Nazafarin was quiet but moved steadily in the planning and execution of her line’s presentation. She eyed the models carefully and diligently as she chose outfits for every one of us, making sure that it looked its best on the runway. I immediately liked her and admired her ambition as we found out more of her story.
Nazafarin (right) accompanying a model in her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 2011.
Photo credit: Kim Akrigg
Born in Tehran, Iran, Nazafarin then moved to Paris to study fashion at the ESMOD International Fashion School and worked at the Dolce & Gabbana showroom. She then moved to New York where she gained experience at the Betsey Johnson design house in Manhattan and learned marketing and branding at FIT. She also designed a full purse collection for Miss Coco in Vancouver, BC. She then knew that it was time for her to reunite with her long-time friend and very talented co-designer, Dena Motevalian to start the beautiful and sophisticated collection, Autobiographie Paris. She is a true entrepreneur and a doer, a mover-and-shaker, an ambitious and hard-working woman. I interviewed Nazafarin to know more about her ambition and her story in pursuing her passion.
Miss Coco by Nazafarin – Photo credit: Nazafarin Sadat Akhavi
Sayra: Who would you say is your mentor and why?
Nazafarin: Someone who has guided me in every aspect of life either personal/ work, who is full of inspirations, experiences that I can learn from and gives a lot of life lessons and motivation. I have to say that my mother has also played a very good part in being my mentor and supporting my ideas and my dad as well, who I have learned a lot of business tricks from.
Congratulations on working for the stunning and always creative Betsey Johnson house of design. What would you say were the main lessons you learned during your experience there?
I learned to always keep a positive attitude toward challenges, as Betsey herself was such a vibrant, positive icon with full of energy. I also learned about how a large company is managed on the inside and how the design team goes forward in designing, fitting, sampling the product and how the production team works and how they manage the products in the warehouse. It was such a great experience to gain in my field and passion.
You seem to be such a hard-working woman. When I met you, it was in Vancouver, and then you went back to Paris and were just in London a couple weeks ago. What fuels your ambition and keeps you going as you jet-set around the globe?
Well, this has been my passion, but of course passion is not enough most of the times, and there has to be so many other factors that come along with it, such as motivation and hard work. We are a team and we all have a feeling of responsibility. We keep each other motivated at all times. Also the time and the efforts that I have put into Autobiographie and the thoughts of seeing more and more fruits growing out from this tree and keeping it alive drives me to move forward.
Autobiographie-Paris is recognized easily by its modern, tailored and very sophisticated look to it. What is your biggest inspiration to yours and Dena’s line?
Persian art and architecture and Japanese origami.
A tailored and fit trench coat from the Autobiographie Paris website .
How do you put a collection together? Surely a tremendous amount of thought and work goes into it. How do you organize your thoughts, process and move forward?
I get inspirations from the environment or the city that I am in, the people around me, fashion, architectural or interior design exhibitions, a book, anything that I become inspired by. I collect photos of them and create a mood board/ theme, and we attend international premiere vision exhibition to get a sense of new fabric/color trends for the upcoming seasons and we start sketching according to our theme of inspirations. We do as many sketches as possible and then put them all together and mix and match and choose the ones that we like, etc. Then it will come down to the production and discussing the designs with them to make patterns in order to proceed to the main final product sample.
A beautiful gown from the Autobiographie Paris website
A true visionary and a extradordinary woman – we look forward to seeing more from Nazafarin and Autobiographie Paris!