The next designer up for our Special Feature is Seattle’s very own Atiz! If you were at Shop Garment on Friday you most definitely saw her designs gracing the runway at Hotel Valley Ho. I was able to get some in depth answers on how her journey into fashion began and what you can expect come October. Check it out below!
What is your fashion background?
I have been exposed to fashion since childhood. Coming from a house of all artists, I always had an eye for color and experimented with them. Soon I saw myself styling for other people. I also never wore a garment as is, I altered it to fit me right. I loved to accessorize. I started my fashion business with ethnic wear targeting the East Indian market and soon realized that I am capable of more and did not want to pigeonhole myself to just ethnic wear. That’s when I went back to school and got a bachelor’s degree in fashion and learned the nuts and bolts of the fashion world and business. In 2011, I formed my own company, Àtiz, and introduced my first collection of women’s contemporary sportswear/dressy daywear in Spring of 2013.
1. Where are you from?
Originally from Mumbai, I have been living in the US for 23 years. That truly makes me a global citizen and that fusion of Eastern tradition and Western innovation meet and merge in the elegance of a single style.
2. What peaked your interest in fashion?
I have been exposed to fashion and style from my childhood. My mom was a fashionista and she would dress me up and called me her Jackeline! That is Jackie O, the fashion icon of her time.
3. Do you have any formal education in fashion or design?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Fashion from the then IADT Seattle. Along with my fashion degree I have a masters in Inorganic Chemistry and an MBA in marketing. Each one of my degrees has played a part in maneuvering the fashion business better.
4. What was the first item you created (fabric or design)?
I created my first design when I was 16 years old. It was a dolman top using a bias cut technique. As a designer, my first item was a trench coat that still is my favorite garment in my collection so far and I pull a lot of inspiration from that piece.
5. Who or what was your first fashion “ah ha” moment?
It is so hard to pick one! It has been a wonderful journey of discovery and creation. I remember my first fashion show and when I heard the audience applaud. That was a “ah ha” moment!
Tell me about your clothing line.
The Àtiz Brand is an apparel company that caters to women who are bold and adventurous and love to travel. I have adaptable garments that can be used to transform the look from day to evening wear. I have lots of statement pieces like jackets, trench gowns, and jumpsuits, as well as dresses that are perfect for every occasion.
1. What motivated you to start your own line?
For me clothes are form of expression. I always struggled to find that right expression that conveys my style. This challenge motivated me to create a collection and create the brand Àtiz. Fashion motivates people to be, and to transform, who they are. It is the magic of inspiration and transformation that sustains the creative energy at Àtiz, and it is this energy that gives you a voice, a mode of expressing yourself in forever new and imaginative ways.
2. What is your tagline?
Eastern traditions meets Western Innovation
3. If any, what is the message you are trying to convey with your brand?
Àtiz is elegance. Àtiz is luxury. Àtiz is inspiration. Each piece is constructed to enhance, transform, and inspire. In other words, the Àtiz collection enhances the personality, transforms that personality anew, and inspires ever-new forms of discovery. The Àtiz collection provides a sumptuous, distinguished experience. I want those who wear Àtiz to feel that they can change the world
4. What kind of clothes do you create?
Women’s Contemporary Dressy Daywear.
5. Who is your target market?
Àtiz is a Luxe brand for the international woman who loves to travel and discover new things. This woman is educated, sophisticated and confident and enjoys bold designs.
6. What is your favorite fabric (or design) to work with or create?
I love fabric that is luxurious, vibrant, high quality and feels good to the touch. Then when I make the garment I can make someone feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. They can make an impression through their clothing.
7. Where is your brand based?
8. What are some challenges you have faced as an upcoming designer and how did you overcome. If you didn’t overcome, then how did you work around it?
Finding the right distribution channel. As an emerging designer you are constantly busy creating products but showcasing those to the right audience is crucial. I have been working with my marketing team to create a brand image that will present Àtiz to the world and reach my target market. Limited resources are another challenges a lot of us emerging designers go through. I overcome this challenge by doing a lot of planning before I start designing. By estimating costs, marketing and using similar silhouettes and patterns, I use my limited resources wisely while also giving each of my designs a unique look.
9. Who would you love to see in your clothes (famous or an everyday person)?
Michelle Obama, Indra Nooyi (Pepsi’s CEO) or any woman who has achieved in life and is a celebrity in her own right. I want them to celebrate their success by wearing my brand.
10. What’s the best piece of advice you have received thus far?
Follow your passion. Just do it: This is my inner voice. As far as advice from others, they have said fashion is a difficult industry to be in and the path to success is hard. Then again what is easy in life. I believe in enjoying the journey and the success will follow! This is advice I give myself, and it keeps me motivated.
11. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I get inspired all the time, be it nature, fabric, color you name it. For example, my previous collection was inspired by a peacock feather, and my current inspiration is the Seattle skyline. So you will see the muted colors, lush fabrics and liberal international elements in my designs. The inspiration and scope behind the Àtiz collection is rich and wide, but each piece contains the blending of Eastern sophistication with Western originality. Though my Indian heritage informs all of my looks, I nonetheless translate this historical and cultural legacy into a refined, timeless international look.
12. What collection season will you be showing at Phoenix Fashion Week?
(Spring/Fall/Resort) Spring Summer 2015. I won’t say much about the collection as of now, but I will say that this collection is targeted for women on a mission.
13. What edge do you feel your brand poses to win the emerging designer contest?
Àtiz brand takes extra care to make the garment well. That means the inside of the garment is equally well finished as the outside. The textile choices are made taking this mission into consideration: to enhance, to transform and to inspire. This makes the brand special and stand out and declare to the fashion world that the winner has arrived!
14. Lastly, where can we purchase items from your line?
In local boutiques, and online on my website Atiz.
A big thank you to Swati and her team at Atiz for letting us get to know her and the brand Atiz better! Make sure you check her out on the runway in October!
Stay tuned next week for another Great Designer!
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