NASIR MAZHAR from Ladoja & Sons on Vimeo.

Nasir Mazhar is a milliner turned clothing and accessories designer intent on bringing his bold streetwear aesthetic to the international fashion world.

A Turkish-Cypriot from Leytonstone, Mazhar presented his first collection at London Fashion Week back in September.

Prior to this, the former Vidal Sassoon apprentice worked on numerous millinery collaborations with East London star designers, including Louise Gray. Here the multi-faceted man talks barber shops, peak caps and garage music.

RHS: How did you get into millinery and where did you train?

NM: While I was hairdressing. I started creating shapes to aid the hair and these slowly became headpieces. I was then introduced to Mark Wheeler, who was a hatmaker for theatre and I started to help him.

I took some courses with Jane Smith (a hatmaker for film and theatre) and the rest I taught myself. I made lots, and was always experimenting. Hatmaking is very hands on, you need lots of practical making skills and you learn this through trial and error.

RHS: Was it a fluid progression for you, from hats into clothing and accessories?

NM: Yeah. I’ve always wanted to make clothes and I think because there was such a strong identity in my accessories, it was quite easy and natural to translate that into clothing.

RHS: You grew up in East London. Were there iconic places, or scenes you were involved in that sparked an interest in millinery and clothing?

NM: I think you are quite unaware when you are younger, but your surroundings have a big part to play in your general aesthetic and style, which I think comes to light when you’re older and for me it was when I started designing.

I grew up around Leytonstone, Stratford and Forest Gate and around there we only really listened to garage, R&B and bashment. Those music scenes have always had a huge influence on my work, and going to clubs around those areas with like-minded people. I suppose this sparked my interest in designing.

RHS: And do your surroundings – geographical, cultural etc. – inspire or affect your work now?

NM: If you grow up in an area where there are people from all over the world, I think it’s inevitable that this will have an effect on your work.

RHS: Your presentation at London Fashion Week was based in a barber shop, synonymous with many you find across East London. Was it inspired by a particular place? Where do you get your hair cut?

NM: No. Like you say, there are so many and they all have their own charm. Barber shops always feel so comforting and welcoming to me. I cut my own hair.

RHS: If you had to sum up ‘Hackney’ in one accessory or garment, what would it be?

NM: A cap. [Nasir made his name re-working the peak cap and playing with fabric and structure.]

RHS: Briefly, what’s next for Nasir Mazhar?

NM: I’m mainly working on the next menswear and womenswear collections, which I’m showing at LFW in the New Year.

Nasir Mazhar’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection will be stocked at Primitive London.


Capping it all: Nasir Mazhar


Bold designs from Nasir Mazhar at London Fashion Week