Olivia Smith/The Record
Barinder Gahir, an accomplished printed textile designer, never thought she could be successful doing what she felt most passionate about.
Gahir gave a lecture open to all students at SUNY Buffalo State on Sept. 6 and presented “Developing Your Brand: Insight from a Textile Designer.”
She left her steady job as an accountant to pursue her dream in creating fabrics and earned her degree in textile design from Loughborough University in 2009.
Since then, Gahir made her own luxury silk scarves, bags, cushions, wall art, lanterns and lamp shades by hand from her studio based in Nottingham, England.
Inspired by 17 and 18th Century Japan, and European artists Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, Gahir created her own classic chic line, which includes nature and floral prints. She also has a passion for luxurious, high quality items.
She has sold her designs around the world to Calvin Klein, DKNY, Coast, The White Company and Victoria’s Secret.
Gahir’s line mainly appeals to women in the professional world.
“Traditionally, women have to wear black at work,” Gahir said. “I wanted to create something with color, yet still give that luxury feel.”
Gahir also works to accommodate those who want her work in different ways.
“I can use any of the designs on my website as a canvas,” Gahir said, “which is great for people who don’t wear scarves.”
In the future, she hopes to create wallpaper and tunics.
“I’m always trying to develop my brand further,” Gahir said.
Senior fashion textile design major Thomas McNamara thought Gahir offered great insight as to what it’s like to start a business.
“She was open, and definitely wasn’t selling fairy dust like some speakers do,” McNamara said in reference to Gahir’s points on all of the hard work she pushed herself through.
“It was a breath of fresh air to hear what it’s really going to be like someday,” McNamara said. “I really learned a lot.”
Gahir once had a father come into her business and asked if he could have his daughter Emily’s drawings incorporated onto a scarf for the daughter’s mother.
“The mother loved floral, so I was really excited about this,” Gahir said.
The daughter had always been drawing foxes, in color and in pencil, so Gahir created a scarf using those drawings. After that, Gahir had Emily sign her name on her Ipad, so that she could create another scarf for the mother with her child’s signature on it.
The finished products ended up being a huge success between the family, Gahir added.
As for now, Gahir is focused on enhancing her online shop, increasing stock and increasing the visibility of her own brand. She explained how difficult that can all be alone.
“I am my own everything,” Gahir said, although she hopes to have others work alongside her in the future.
Gahir has several events lined up for herself in upcoming weeks. Handmade at Kew is from Oct. 15 to Oct. 16, where she hopes to develop a database of potential customers. She recently received a second call back from the Liberty at London, a department store which was impressed with her work. Through them, she hopes to develop a capsule collection.
“I’ve got to keep getting out there and promoting myself,” Gahir said, “I’m always open to more.”
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