Merzia Qahramany - BA(Hons) Fashion Design
My collection is about empowerment and hope for women. It is a representation of strong, independent, and hopeful women. The collection consists of pastel colours of browns and blue with embroidery delicately embroidered on the garments.
What was your inspiration?
The idea of suits and women came from the power suits from the 1980s. Women were considered to be taking control and having power over men which I wanted to showcase in my collection regarding the women in Afghanistan. The colours represent the sky and the ground which also means freedom, for which women of Afghanistan have always yearned and worked hard for. The embroideries are modernised versions of the traditional Afghan embroidery, which I designed to show those hopeful women's delicateness but strong wills. I have named this collection ‘Hope’ because I want those women oppressed by the Taliban and those around the world to know that there’s hope and that if there is a will, there is a way too.
Explain what made you pick Buckinghamshire New University to study?
The main reason I decided to study at BNU was the teachers and tutors - people are important to me and wherever I go I want to be comfortable and happy with the people around me.
Tell us about what has been your ‘best bits’ at BNU?
BNU was like a second home, my friends were like my siblings and my tutors were like my parents. Winning competitions and being happy won over how much I doubted myself. The best times were when I had the full support from everyone there, not just the teachers but also my friends and even the staff members whom I wasn’t even familiar with.
What have you found most challenging during your studies?
I know everyone struggles when it comes to studying. It might not be the same for all of us, I for sure had a lot of trouble with my studies as I had a lot of self-doubts.
What has been the most surprising part of your course?
The fact that I would always cry over my work, especially sewing, struggling, and doubting my skills, and how perfectly my garments would turn out at the end has always surprised and excited me. I would become so happy to the point of crying again but with joy.
How do you think BNU has prepared you for the world of work?
Being ready for the industry and world of work needs a lot of confidence, in my case I would say which I have been working hard on and trying to build on my self-esteem. BNU has been of great support because they would bring about competition between students and bring in guest lecturers from the relevant industries. Live-industry projects are put in as part of our studies which gives us opportunities of getting internships which in my case was a full paid internship during the end of my second year at Mackintosh office/factory which was a great experience seeing the production of outerwear in person.
What would you say to someone thinking of doing their degree at BNU and why?
First of all, everyone has different expectations when it comes to university, however, for me what was important was the people/tutors because they are whom I would be learning from. Choosing BNU was an amazing choice because I could have one-to-one sessions with my tutors/technicians, meet industry experts and learn from them and have the opportunity to experience work-life by winning internships.
What’s the dream after Uni?
I would like to have my own brand in the future once I have enough experience. I would want to be confident enough to freely express my intentions with my designs and show the world my classic-contemporary designs incorporated with my culture and values.
Picture by Matt Crossick