Soft lavenders, deep violets and rich magenta accompany a computer screen, creating a psychedelic pattern. Combining creative coding and digital illustration, McCormick junior Sahibzada Mayed is experimenting with design patterns for the upcoming fashion brand Naranji.
Naranji aims to change the future of fashion and technology, disrupt the gender binary and revive the cultural trend, according to the start of Instagram.
“The brand focuses on people, and I try to focus on that as much as possible. Who wears it (clothes)? What is their experience?” by Mayed, the founder of Naranji. “I want to give that impression that fashion is for everyone.”
During the winter, Mayed worked on his engineering capstone project, focusing on fashion and its roots in colonialism. Even if they have always been interested in fashion, Mayed said the project has helped lay the foundation for the brand’s launch.
From an engineering background, Mayed said he sees how technology and fashion design can intersect. For Naranji, Mayed uses generative art, a design process that uses code to create computer -generated patterns.
“(Generative art) helps me expand the possibilities of creation,” Mayed said. “I probably wouldn’t have been able to make these color combinations if I hadn’t seen them before. I probably wouldn’t have been able to make these patterns if I hadn’t coded them.”
Even if the computer can help inform the design process, the computer is not the designer – Mayed. They say that design involves a lot of iterations, and they often manipulate computer-generated patterns to create the final result.
McCormick junior Jazmyn Lu models for Naranji. He said watching Mayed take engineering in an artistic direction is exciting.
“Coding has (thought) something like,‘ You just plan things or you simulate it, ’” Lu said. “No … very creative, so I think it’s cool that (Mayed) adds creativity.”
Mayed said fashion is traditionally Euro-centric. Growing up in Pakistan, he said he noticed a cultural desire around white.
Mayed said Naranji draws inspiration from ‘liberatory fashion,’ which uses design to free people from intersecting forms of oppression and marginalization.They said Naranji seeks to empower individuals in accepting their identities, helping them escape from these Euro-centric rules.
“I think very hard and critically about skin color and beauty patterns … That’s important to my understanding of who’s trendy and what’s trendy,” she says. “These are important frameworks that I’m focusing on, because historically, there’s been disconnection.”
Mayed said Naranji also aims to disrupt the size of fashion labels and gender expectations. As an ethically-sourced and zero-inventory brand, Naranji works with a Montréal factory to create custom-made garments.
In Pakistan, Mayed’s mother runs a fashion boutique, exposing Mayed to custom tailoring. She said the custom-tailored clothing is made according to the customer’s size, which makes them feel their best.
In their first two collections, Mayed said they were attracted to fluidity. Naranji wants to design gender clothes to prove the different gender representation of people, he said.
“The goal is to think about how people’s gender identities intersect,” Mayed said. “You can’t put people in this gender binary … There’s no good way I can put gender representation labels, because (gender) is so fluid.”
Mayed said in the future, the brand hopes to include co-designing, so more voices are involved in the design process. If a customer wants a pattern, the brand plans to work with them to customize the patterns, colors and silhouettes, they say.
Medill freshman and Naranji Social Media Director Ysa Quiballo said the Naranji team is working together to shape the brand’s vision. In the end, Naranji’s message goes deeper than expressing individuality, according to Quiballo.
“(Naranji is) about breaking down barriers for people and providing a way for people to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of other people,” Quiballo said.
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