In collaboration with Mia Jafari, Sketchbook magazine calls on all creatives to participate in Sketchbook’s first competition. In order to contribute, one will have to illustrate a masterpiece that will team up with another of the material kind.
To be involved in this milestone, you will have to do the following:
- Draw an animal or template with an element of Sketchbook that can be added to a unique design of a Mia Jafari scarf.
- Send your completed illustration along with a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org, with Mia Jafari as the subject.
Participants are encouraged to visit the Mia Jafari website prior to take a look at her fabulous designs and discover more about her accomplished brand.
Illustrations will be accepted until Wednesday the 15th of September .
The Sketchbook team along with Mia Jafari will then choose the best ten of these applicants, those of which will be broadcast on the Sketchbook Magazine Facebook fan page. The public will be encouraged to “like” their favourite and the illustration with the most “likes” will be pronounced winner.
The winning drawing will be announced on September 25th. It will then be printed as an exclusive Mia Jafari and Sketchbook Magazine scarf originale.
And now, more on the lady in question…
Mia Jafari makes her accessories debut with a range of limited edition scarves under the coy name of “Ladybirds [love] Strawberry Cosmos”. Already stocked in New York, Dubai and Bahrain as well as online globally at Dia Boutique, Ms. Jafari is taking a refreshed digital era of design to an entire new level.
A Goldsmith’s and Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Mia incorporates traditional Iranian symbols such as birds and flowers, with her own modern twist of present day influences; some of which include Christian Loboutin shoes and vintage Cartier. Every one of these interests mixes collectively, creating an assortment of vibrant colour and matchless design. The scarf designs are complex and individually processed, an aesthetic she named “digi-broidery”. In short, one could define this technique as an infusion of artisanal Middle-Eastern embroidery and digital prints with 20th Century chic.
Each of the nine designs debuted hones into an extensive cultural reference and craftsmanship made to seduce and dazzle, a fabulous addition to any city girl’s wardrobe, along with those Louboutin’s of course…
Megan McDowell speaks to Mia on all things that add to the creation of the Mia Jafari brand.
You graduated from both Central Saint Martin’s and Goldsmiths. Tell us about your path into fashion via scarf design.
Upon completing my BA in Textile Design from CSM, I needed to explore other art forms to develop my understanding of the larger context of my work. So at Goldsmiths I explored textiles alongside photography, installation and video art but I always came back to working with textiles. My time at Goldsmiths was a series of experiments to see what fit and what didn’t; whilst all the time I was desperately missing working with textiles! My scarf collection was born out of the necessity to combine the influences of Goldsmiths with textiles, the language that fits me. I wanted to do a scarf collection because I want the buyer of my pieces to wrap it around their head, neck, bag, for it to be seen by all rather and than just hung on a wall or worn a few times. My scarves are designed so that they can be worn as jewellery pieces, day after day to accessorize an outfit. I love that kind of versatility!
What process does one go through to create a scarf?
William S. Burroughs popularised a trend in literature called cut-up technique. He once said; “When you cut into the present the future leaks out”. My process doesn’t involve design; a lot of what I do is found in the very activity of cutting up the worn out visual culture within the East and West and pasting it together in the hope that this iconoclasm will create new sensibilities. I work very organically on each scarf, adding, deleting, cutting, pasting, and slicing images for week’s on-end until I am happy with the final look. Because of my training at Goldsmiths I work more like an artist than designer, allowing for spontaneity in the creation process rather than having a set brief. I find through making mistakes my best work is created.
What is digi-broidery and how did you come up with such design aesthetic?
At the time of digi-broidery’s conception I had two concerns. Firstly, digital print is opening up a whole new world of possibilities but as I believe it there is still some uncertainty of how to take it to the next level. Rather than transferring photographs onto fabric or illustrating them graphically, I wanted to create a completely new print technique. Secondly, I have always loved the embroidery and embellishment of handmade fashion but find it quite difficult to wear due to its fragility. Digi-broidery therefore aims to make prints that have a hypereal aesthetic of intricate handiwork yet can be worn and handled effortlessly because it is a digital print process. It’s actually a very complex process even with the Arts Council funding, it took 9 months to develop and saw me travelling to Iran to research hand embroidery and back to the UK to work with Claire Mason, a graphic design in. Digi-broidery is something I really want to push the boundaries of with my next collection.
Design is a complex process and yours are often an array of intricate looking forms. Who or what are your personal design influences?
This collection grew very organically and so did the design influences. I have a real soft spot for touristic gaze that sees a culture as a postcard image. One day I was in a book shop in Green Park and came across a stunning, thick bounded book on Persian carpets, I knew instantly that I had to use these in some way! With this collection I really went to my cultural roots and dipped back and forth between traditional eastern influences and contemporary sensibilities. ‘Berrypolitan’ in particular is built on the traditional design of domes that can usually be found in Islamic architecture. The domes don’t relate to my London sensibilities so I jammed Miu Miu heels, skulls and cocktails into them.
Designing the collection was fabulous and fun, I spent days in designer boutiques collecting a library of images to use and days at the Victoria and Albert Museum looking at their carpet collection! I can’t wait to start researching my next collection.
We are invited into a distinguished world in your website description:
“Jafari invites you to bask in a world where majestic creatures drag Christian Louboutin heels across endless domes filled with ruby red lipsticks – where nocturnal, gem-encrusted birds take nightwatch over enchanted trees dripping with strawberry pink muffins. A wonderlust of Eastern landscapes exploding with iconic perfumes, vintage Cartier and luscious cocktails. ‘Ladybirds Strawberry Cosmos’ blends Eastern rhythms with a cosmopolitan sophistication that tantalizes and delights”
What kind of woman would wear a Mia Jafari scarf?
When designing, I imagine a nomadic, globe-trotting bird of paradise making her nest from Chanel lipsticks, Dior sunglasses, Christian Louboutins, vintage Cartier and treasures found from her travels. The type of woman I picture wearing my scarves has the spirit of that bird of paradise.
Where in London are you based?
I live and work in east London by Victoria Park. In the summer I like to get away from it all and live by the sea in Brighton.
Describe the day in the life of Mia Jafari.
I’m a workaholic! During the 9 months of developing this first collection I worked 16 hours a day, every day. Now things have developed and I include time for PR and sales where my working day is controlled by the normal working hours of other companies. My morning starts with hot yoga (which keeps me focused and on track), then about 3 hours of admin and meetings. At about 3/4 pm I actually can start designing and don’t stop till 3am! I have a few research days per week (more so in the summer) where I visit galleries, museums and shops, snapping images on my blackberry and sketching ideas to incorporate into my designs.
What is in your sketchbook?
When I was at CSM I had so many sketchbooks, but now I work on the computer I only have a very ripped, old sketchbook always to hand, which I use a line sheet in-progress. Each A3 double page is dedicated to one design and I rework the pages, taking things out and adding new ideas as I go along. In my sketchbook I have images of vintage Cartier jewellery, perfume bottles, colour swatches, Persian miniature paintings, sketches and actual embroidery pieces.
Being a new brand which has already had significant press and acclaim (Vogue, Nylon magazine and Grazia), what do you want to see in the near future for Mia Jafari scarves?
I have been approached by so many young girls wanting to purchase a scarf but unable to afford the limited edition price tag. Therefore I would love to collaborate with a company to make a more affable priced diffusion line. I would love the world inside my scarves to be accessible to all!
Words: MEGAN McDOWELL
Images: SARAH MORTON
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