Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Young Designers Wise Beyond Their Years

Terra boutique recently hosted the creative talent behind independent label Eva Khurshid, Fatima Monkush and Nyla Hashmi. The lifelong friends brought their first collection to DC in hope of finding an audience – they left with an instant fan base.

Upon my arrival, a few minutes past the start of the event, I sensed community forming. Perhaps it was the eagerness of the two young designers to introduce themselves or seeing how the Washingtonian woman could have easily been the designers’ muse translated into conservative construction but bold in color and fabrication. Guests touched, inquired and tried on every garment in the roughly 15-piece collection to the delight of the designers and boutique owner, Oriana Khatso (who has a trained eye for quality and innovative styles).

“The Eva Khurshid woman is confident and always on the go,” Monkush, 26, and Hashmi, 24, said practically in unison. “She wants pieces that are easy to wear and simply are a great fit.” Oh, and don’t forget sexy.

“We really considered our line as sexy rediscovered,” they continued. “Being sexy really comes from confidence.”

The New York-based designers’ fate was sealed as childhood friends growing up in Connecticut in Muslim households. They both pursued their interest in fashion by majoring in design - Monkush specializing in printmaking and jewelry and Hashmi in knitwear. Despite choosing different schools to hone their skills, they remained committed to a design partnership.

A year ago they honored that commitment by starting Eva Khurshid, named after their grandmothers. The line appeals to young women, and Muslim women in particular, who want fashionable clothing without compromising their faith or modesty. They unveiled tailored pants, billowy blouses in bold hues and signature prints and pleating, and shirt-dresses that could be worn over leggings or skinny jeans to accommodate those who prefer not to show bare legs. The collection describes the design duo's nature - thoughtful and respectful. And fabric choice is not spared.

Monkush and Hashmi present a fresh alternative to business attire this city so wholeheartedly embraces while maintaining the integrity of what has so affectionately been dubbed the sisterhood of traveling pantsuits (a la Hillary!). Similarly, the line evokes the qualities we seek in community: familiarity and acceptance. Kudos to Terra for recognizing genuine talent and making Monkush and Hashmi feel at home.

No comments: