Raishma is the predominant fashion brand within the UK’s Asian fashion market, which has been growing stronger than ever. Raishma’s online platform has been an emerging success, which landed her Best Online Business Award 2015 at the English Asian Business Awards! Not only that, but Raishma opened their boutique store earlier this year at the East Shopping Centre located on London’s Green Street. The fashion brand prides themselves in affordable contemporary fusion wear; a blend of East and West fused to create versatile pieces, that can be worn for any occasion. Their offering covers a vast array of designer Indian outfits, including anarkali suits, lehenga, sarees, tunic dresses, formal dresses and kaftans. Not only does Raishma have her own creations, but also has Indian fashion designer Satya Suman on board, famous for his minimalistic design and textured fabrics.
Raishma Islam, the founder behind the brand, shared with us some exciting insights behind her brand, life as a fashion designer and her thoughts on the UK Asian fashion industry. She began to gain recognition within the industry, by working alongside renown designers such as Elizabeth Emanuel (who made Princess Diana’s wedding dress), and designed dresses for British royalty including HRH Princesses’ Eugenie and Beatrice.
What would you say your vision is as a brand and what differentiates you in the British Asian fashion industry?
The brand focuses on blending eastern style fused with contemporary fashion, and our pieces are versatile enough to be worn as Asian suits as well as Western dresses for parties and dinner dates which is something that we pride our selves on. There aren’t many, if any, Asian fashion brands that focus on creating pieces for the Asian woman with both a cultural/religious wardrobe and an every day wardrobe, and we are expanding into the wider more mainstream market with our innovative designs.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I fell in love with fashion at the age of 10, and at that point I was already sketching clothes and designs and using a sewing machine. I was mainly interested in Bollywood films and admired the patterns and embroideries on my mother’s Indian clothes, but I always loved mainstream red carpet glamour.
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Designing a piece and then seeing the finished product on a client or a model, and realising the hard work paid off.
Where do you turn to for fashion inspiration?
The design process begins with an idea, colour, or theme, or just a piece of embroidery. I’ll look at trends in the mainstream fashion scene as well as in India, and these have a big influence on the collection, but my looks are classic and don’t date season to season – I create timeless pieces that can be worn regardless of what’s in fashion.
What do you feel has been your best achievement so far as a fashion designer?
Launching my boutique as well as my online store for my prêt collection. The website (www.raishma.co.uk) recently won the Best Online Business award at the English Asian Business Award ceremony, which was held earlier this month, so that’s another massive achievement!
Please tell us about your latest collection; what is the theme and what was your inspiration behind it?
The latest collection is our Spring/Summer range for this year, and we’ve created more floral and bright colourful pieces that can be worn to weddings and cultural events, as well to summer parties and on holidays.
Who inspires you the most in fashion?
Valentino and Elie Saab.
Could you please tell us about any fashion shows you participated in last year?
Last year we participated in the Asian Bride Live show, and worked alongside makeup artist Gini Bhogal who helped create the Vintage Rose Bride look to complement the vintage rose bridal piece that Raishma created. Raishma found inspiration for the bridal outfit after visiting the Kensington Palace gardens, and began layering soft hues of pinks, reds, purples, and greens over the rose pink base.
What do you feel is trending at the moment in the UK Asian fashion industry?
Our customers are noticing and requesting sari dresses more than ever, and many are starting to shop for more evening gowns for parties rather than typical Asian suits. As usual, our churidars are very popular, as these are timeless classics and will always be current and trending in the UK Asian fashion industry.
Do you feel Western fashion is being influenced by Eastern fashion more than ever? And vice versa, do you feel Eastern fashion is being influenced by Western fashion more than ever?
Yes, definitely – leggings are very in at the moment to wear with dresses/long tops which have derived from churidars and anarkali style outfits. In terms of cutting, tailoring, fit, and style, the Western fashion scene is definitely influencing the Eastern designs.
What do you think the modern UK Asian bride wants today? And what is your advice to any Asian brides when looking for their bridal outfit?
She wants something unusual, well cut, bespoke, and something that she can put her own signature too. Don’t be dictated by price, because you can lose out in the end if the product isn’t made properly.
What is your advice to any aspiring fashion designers?
Be focused and determined and appreciate that it will be hard! Believe in yourself and motivate yourself, and take your inspiration from anywhere and everywhere.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue growing the business, and to develop our collections for the wider and more mainstream market.
We are looking forward to seeing her upcoming collection and what the future has in store for Raishma. If you wish to see more, you can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For more information about Raishma, please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Raishma