Q&A: Fashion designer, Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq

LCF student Tabinda-Kauser IshaqTabinda-Kauser Ishaq, 24, is a third year BA fashion design student at London College of Fashion. She designed the poppy scarf to give Muslim women a new way to mark Remembrance Day.

Artefact has been catching up with her to discuss her projects and inspiration.

You specialise in womenswear, what sparked your interest in fashion?

I’d be lying if I said I’ve always been interested in fashion. In fact I hated it, I spent most of my teenage years in probably the same few outfits. I just wasn’t the fashionable type, but I’ve always had an interest in the arts.

I come from a family of artists: my uncles spent their youth either stage acting or being a part of music bands, my aunt is a poet though she chooses not to publish her work and my paternal grandparents were quite the entertainers, so somewhere along the madness I suppose I caught the bug.

I chose to study fashion because I genuinely believe it’s one of the fewest forms of art which is so powerful. It has the ability to transform lives and most importantly it’s the only art which everybody interacts with, it’s a part of us from cradle to grave. So I wanted to utilise its strength and use fashion to create platforms of discussion.

How much of your success do you credit to the college you study at?

“…something I always remind myself when things are bad is ‘this too shall pass’.”

Absolutely 100 per cent of all the practical skills I know, I have learnt from university. I wasn’t very familiar with the diversity of job roles within the fashion industry until I started studying here, I thought everybody worked to become a fashion designer, but that’s not the case at all. I learnt textile printing here and it’s what gets me most of my commissioned work. I’m still a student so I look forward to learning much more.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

I’m working on my final collection at the moment so it seems to be the only thing I think about. It’s based around the idea of conformity and childhood expressionism, so everything I see or hear I try and think if it could link to my work. It makes you go a little mad at times, especially when it follows you to your dreams.

What advice would you give young designers?

It took me a very long time in fact I don’t think I’ve fully taught myself how to do this but the best thing an artist can do is to not care and to not compare. When you start caring about the reactions of others on your work, it restricts your creativity and an even worse habit is to compare your work with others. I used to do this a lot and really beat myself up about not being good enough but I’ve noticed when I don’t do that I create better art.

What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?

Time travels so quickly it’s hard to believe we’re already close to the end of the year. I hope to be at a happy stage of my research before January but if you mean by the end of the academic year, I hope I get through and graduate with a great degree.

What’s your motto?

I don’t really have a motto, but something I always remind myself when things are bad is ‘this too shall pass’.


Image by Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq