French senior Ida Nematipour spent her childhood dodging scattered pins and needles around her house.
Surrounded by her family’s sewing materials, she began designing clothes — first creating costumes for her dog and eventually focusing on outfits for herself.
“My grandma and my mom were definitely an inspiration for me,” Nematipour said. “I have so many memories of them sewing, so it’s something that I’ve been around my whole life. It had a big influence on me, even though at first I didn’t take it that seriously.”
Nematipour didn’t approach fashion design as anything more than a hobby until she arrived at UT. Originally a pre-med student, Nematipour quickly realized her interests were focused elsewhere. When she began taking apparel design courses, Nematipour immediately fell in love with the work and said she felt eager to design and display her clothes. Nematipour and 23 other apparel design students showcased their pieces at UT’s Fusion fashion show Thursday.
“Being pre-med was hard, but I knew that I could’ve done it,” Nematipour said. “The problem was that it wasn’t my passion. After about a year here, I started to realize fashion design was something that I could make a career out of.”
Nematipour said her designs have changed dramatically over the years — she remembers an embarrassing yarn dress she made in an attempt to be different. The clothes she designs retain some aspects of her personal style, but she prefers to create clothes that are meant for a femme fatale, which are edgier than what she herself might typically wear.
“My clothes are definitely very revealing,” Nematipour said. “I like the confidence it portrays. It’s like a very powerful woman with a seductive edge that she uses to empower herself. It’s edgy, so I’m not expecting someone to walk down the street in these clothes right now.”
Billie Green, fellow designer and textiles and apparel senior, said Nematipour is a risk-taker, confident in her decisions without worrying what other people will think of her pieces.
“Her clothes show a lot of skin, but it isn’t for the sake of showing skin,” Green said. “Her designs still come off as very classic and romantic. She’s not ashamed of the female body.”
Nematipour who said she often struggles to find the perfect fabric in a city that lacks fabric stores, occasionally hand-paints her own fabric. She appreciates the individuality the hand-painting adds to her pieces. It’s just one way she manages to put a twist on many of the trends that inspire her.
“When I’m not designing, I like to paint,” Nematipour said. “It adds another level of art to my piece and makes it into something completely custom.”
Despite stress-inducing deadlines and the occasional bout of tears, Nematipour said all the labor is worth it when she gets to see people respond to her clothing.
“My favorite part about designing clothes is seeing people’s reactions to what I’m making,” Nematipour said. “I feel like with my style, you either love it or hate it. When I get to see the reaction of someone who loves my clothes, that’s what I’m working for.”