A TALENTED young graduate has designs on success after launching her career in the competitive world of fashion.
Since graduating last year, Saleha Bagas, aged 24, from Halliwell, has showcased her collection at Graduate Fashion Week, won a university award, designed her best friend’s wedding dress and was featured on numerous fashion websites, including Vogue.
Her collection is named British Rani, which translates as British queen, and was inspired by the fact that her designs mirror the heavily embellished garments and glamorous jewellery a queen would wear, as well as her heritage.
Miss Bagas said: ”Being British and Indian made me a foreigner in both of my countries.
“This brings the discovery of an exquisite new style and twist with a silhouette inspired by 1950s Dior, and the embellishment with the colours inspired by Indian couture.”
Her uniquely put together collection grabbed the attention of not only fashion show crowds, but also of fashion websites, Catwalking.com, Wgsn.com, Pheonixmag.com and Vogue.
Miss Bagas, a BA Hons Fashion Design graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has always had an interest in fashion, which stemmed from her father, an embroidery teacher and tailor in India who continued to carry out his passion when he moved to England in the 1970s.
She said: “I still remember, as a child, coming home from school to my dad sewing away on the machine or doing freehand machine embroidery on dresses he had made for me and my sister.”
This inspired Miss Bagas to go into the field of art design and textiles at Bolton Sixth Form College where she experimented with different subjects and decided to pursue a degree in fashion.
During the final year of studies at UCLan’s Fashion Institute, 15 out of about 50 students are given the chance to be selected to showcase their very own collection at Graduate Fashion Week at Earls Court, London.
The global event is attended by everyone from new and upcoming fashionistas to world-leading designers who are looking for fresh ideas and talent among students.
The freelance designer, who won the Creative focus fashion award at UCLan, said: “When my collection was picked to be showcased, I cried. I was over the moon.”
She said her collection cost her “an arm and a leg” and she had many sleepless nights, with the fashion department being kept open 24 hours a day closer to the time of the fashion week so students were able to complete their work.
Her idea was to create clothes which represented her culture and her as an individual.
Being of British Indian heritage, with both her parents born in India, she decided to fuse the two and create modern hourglass-shaped silhouette garments, pencil skirts and cigarette trousers, inspired by 1950s Dior, while following in her father’s footsteps and putting an “Indian stamp” on them using her hand embellishment skills.
Having been through it all Miss Bagas’s dream would be to open a bridal boutique selling her own designs after she was asked by close friend, Faizah Atcha, to design a bespoke wedding dress.
The former Smithills School pupil said: “This really excited me and I couldn’t refuse so I did it.
“I'm currently working on a wedding dress I designed for a client to be ready for her wedding in August.
“I am also doing high street versions of my high end collection, which is watered down to high street level and I’m working on them on a freelance basis.”
Miss Bagas often shops at Zara, in the Market Place Shopping Centre.
She admits she will “hunt down beautiful clothes from anywhere and everywhere, even the local charity shop.
And what would her advice be for anyone wanting to go into the fashion industry?
She said: “Be prepared to live on very little sleep and think fashion constantly.
“Inspiration comes from anything and can even be found in the home.
“Hold the vision and trust the process. Basically you seriously have to work, work, work. No breaks and always think one step ahead.”