Fashion Meets Culture
When I think of fashion, I think of two things: a basic human desire to look and feel your best, and the opportunity to create art while capturing and exuding your mood and personality. Along the lines of happiness, laughter, love, etc., I truly believe that everyone at some point in their lives wants to achieve these things. This is what fashion means to me.
As a form of art, I also believe fashion has the ability to transcend cultural boundaries. I mean, you don’t seriously think fashion is confined only to New York, L.A., Paris and London, do you? Quite the contrary, as it comes in various art forms, shapes, colors and sizes, and is interpreted and presented differently by each culture. That is the beauty! It is ever changing, innovative and universal!
I recently had this theory confirmed by fashion designer, Benafsha Noori. Originally from Afghanistan, she left her family and traveled to the U.S. to pursue her dreams. After attending business school, she realized that she wanted to bring her culture’s art to light in a positive way, via fashion, eventually birthing her clothing line, Kochyan.
Below, I am wearing the MYE shirt (letters “M” and “Y” in Dari language), and like many of her designs, has a message of love, art, and peace. Not to mention, the quality of the shirt is amazing and comfortable, and I absolutely love the color and the deep-V neck style!
Meet the Designer:
I had the opportunity to sit down with this ambitious fashion designer, Benafsha Noori, and her story was really inspiring! Check out our Q&A session!
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I always loved fashion and I always wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to be a designer, but I wanted to do something different than what everyone else was doing. So, being originally from Afghanistan, I came up with an idea to design a clothing line with the art and literature of the country. The goal is to introduce my culture, literature and art through fashion.
Where do you see your clothing line in 5 years?
Currently we have the business online, but I want to open up my own boutique in the DC area, and eventually expand into the major fashion cities. Then, I would like to take the brand overseas, specifically in Afghanistan because Kochyan is the first of its brand; no one is doing anything like this! I am currently looking for a partner to help with the expansion. Once overseas, we are looking to get into wholesaling as well.
If expanded overseas, how accepting would your culture be of your fashion line?
Of course, my market has to be a little bit different, a little more conservative, e.g., scarves to cover the head, blazers, etc. T-shirts are fine, but they have to cover up.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Never give up on what you want to do, because down the road there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to discourage you, even family members and friends! For example, people tell me “This is not going to work. Nobody is going to buy it. Your market is limited to people from Afghanistan, etc.” No. My market is for everyone that loves fashion and wants to try different things. Never give up. Never let anyone discourage you. I know this is going to work out because I believe in it!
Describe your clothing line in 3 words.
Fashion. Meets. Culture.