Mirna Nakhla talks about growing up in a design-loving environment, her never-ending passion for fashion and her own favourite “Golden Age” design collection. We also got to learn about her nerve-wrecking, and consuming college days at Istituto Marangoni in Milan and how this experience pushed her to overcome her fears. The beautiful Mirna talks to us about the importance of hope, hard work and her aspiring wishes of making the world a better place, and we absolutely admire her strength and wisdom.
Has design always been a growing passion?
Yes, I’ve always been into design. It’s always been one of my many dreams. I grew up with a love for all forms of art.
As a little girl I used to draw, design clothes for my Barbies and write poetry. I was also fascinated by young actresses and singers my age, and it has developed my passion for acting and singing as well.
I grew up with a passion for fashion, film and music. During my studies at Istituto Marangoni, I learned that they are all connected and they are all complementary. They influence one another simultaneously.
What was the reason behind your passion for design?
My parents used to work in the fashion industry. They were apparel/garment quality control inspectors, and I used to tag along with them and go to T-shirt factories.
I got to see the whole process; starting from the pattern making, the sewing, and dying the fabric to the ironing. I was exposed to the basic know-how of design/production.
I also used to watch ‘That’s So Raven’ on Disney Channel. Raven, the main character of the series, designed her own clothes. She was a character I looked up to.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration in nature, subcultures, old Hollywood icons, past eras, geometric figures, movies, our culture and heritage, as well as art and poetry. I end up mixing and matching different themes together; it turns into a patch work of inspirations.
What were your fears when you decided to pursue fashion design?
I only had one fear which was that once I start pursuing fashion design, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my other dreams and that I would lose sight of my other goals.
Did you ever design something you didn’t truly like just to please a client? If not, would you?
I found myself in similar situations where I had to submit a capsule collection to Dsquared2 and Calvin Klein.
I also had an interview at Saint Laurent’s for an internship in the shoe design department and I had never designed shoes before, but I did a lot of research and designed a collection of sandals that went along with a theme of one of my previous collections.
If I ever do launch my line, I don’t think I would design something I don’t like just to please a client. I mean we could meet halfway, maybe find a common ground.
What are your best designs in your own opinion?
I can’t tell what my best designs are, but I could definitely tell you my favorite ones.
There was this collection I designed during my second year in university called ‘Golden Age’; it was inspired by the “Golden Age” of Hollywood, Francesco Vezzoli’s work and geometric shapes. It was a mixture between those elements. I got to create a mix and match between the silhouettes of the 50’s, geometric cuts and embroideries inspired by Francesco Vezzoli’s work.
Also the shoe collection I had designed turned out to be one of my favourites.
Who are your design role models?
Alessandro Michele (Gucci’s current Creative Director). He took Gucci by storm and completely transformed it. Also Riccardo Tisci, Valentino and Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce.
Describe your designs in one word.
I mix structured and flowy pieces together. I get inspired by the serenity of nature. I get inspired by the rebellious subcultures and the peaceful ones. You would constantly find some kind of paradox in each collection’s inspiration that would create harmony.
What is the experience that you will never forget? Hilarious or embarrassing.
Most of my experiences were nerve-wrecking to be honest, like that one time I had to submit my final three outfits. I was done with the two first gowns and there was only one missing, but no tailor would accept to work on it as the fabric was made of sequins that could damage their sewing machines.
One of my classmates recommended an Egyptian tailor and since I was desperate, I paid him a visit and showed him the design. The pattern was ready and the fabric was cut; he only needed to sew the gown. He told me it would take him five days so I called him three days later to make sure everything’s okay. He asked me to pass by because he wanted to show me something and when I asked him if something was wrong, he denied.
I paid him another visit just two days before my final submission to find out that he messed up everything; I went back to my old tailor who decided to help! She broke all the sequins on the edges of the fabric with a hammer to protect her sewing machine, and luckily I had some extra fabric to fix what he had ruined.
What do you aspire to do with your talent?
I believe that any talent we’re blessed with is a gift from God and that we should not let it go to waste. Make a good use of it and work hard because talent alone won’t make you succeed. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” is a quote I go by.
I know that what I’m going to add might come off as cheesy or unrealistic to some people, but I do hope that I can put my talent to good use so that it gives me a voice that would allow me to make this world a better place. I hope that it inspires people to follow their dreams and to never give up.