Breaking the mould – Friends pair up to pursue fashion outside of professional careers

Nikhat Akbar Khan (left), an environmental officer with the Fijian government, and Vedika Rathod, a nurse at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, share a love for fashion their professional careers in medicine and the environment can not fulfill. Picture: SUPPLIED

At first glance, they are your stereotypical young professional woman pursuing careers in the civil service after having completed years of training and qualifications as expected from home.

But Vedika Rathod, a nurse at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit and Nikhaat Akbar Khan, an environmental officer with the Fijian government had a passion for fashion.

Each are particularly excited about dramatic sleeves and unusual necklines on fashion wear that is inspired by European silhouettes.

So when Nikhaat, the 25-year-old Ba lass and her friend from Nadi, 29-year-old Vedika realised they had a hidden shared passion for fashion that having a professional career in medicine and the environment could not completely fulfill, NV Designs was born.

Their self titled collection is a combination of resort wear and wearable fashion that is inspired by their love for bold sleeves and bright colours.

Showing tonight (Tuesday, November 23) alongside Hosanna Kabakoro’s Duatani collection, the NV Designs was shot on location at the Official Residence of the European Union Ambassador to the Pacific, His Excellency Sujiro Seam and Jane Seam. “

We love bold sleeves and colors that give women confidence. We read a lot and follow the fashion scene. We believe in good communication and experimenting with ideas. We love the versatility of fashion as fashion has no boundaries. People express themselves through their dressing style and we like to design outfits that help people feel unique and stylish,” Nikhaat said.

“I love how clothes make me feel, when I wear something I like, I feel good. My favourite piece in the collection is a silk piece cream in color and it’s beautiful, elegant and very stylish and definitely a head turner. ”

Debuting at the FJFW21 Virtual, the two women joined FJFW to get more experience and learn from the bigger names they’re showing alongside this week in the hope the stint will push them on to make the hobby a business.

“This is our first time in FJFW and our mood board reflects our designs. It shows our love for sleeves and accessories we would pair with each outfit. Our mood board reflects the colors and our material preferences for each of our designs,” Vedika said.

“We made a list of all the ideas we had and chose our colours first, since both of us love bold sleeves and nice clean outfits, we decided to showcase that for our first collection.”

Given their chosen day jobs and tertiary training, the pair were commercial in their approach and chose their raw materials on the back off market research they conducted at the start of the season to determine what could work on the Fiji fashion scene.

“We did a survey of all fabrics locally available and sought tailors to whom we gave samples to work with so we could choose someone we felt could work on our designs,” Nikhaat said.

While their aim is to bring into the market a very different style of fashion, NV Designs is keen to make their customers comfortable while being stylish.

As they work on being out of the box with their designs, the goal is always to make it relevant to Fiji.

They’re hoping the 18-30 year age group will find their designs wearable and they’ve focused on the women’s wear market although there are plans to branch into men’s clothing later.

Although completely new to the fashion scene, the women already have much to write home about with regards to their debutant experience.

“The best part of FFW21 is the experience and outputs we have achieved. We have learnt a lot about creating garments and the thought process on each piece we have created has taken us a lot of time and back and forth with our tailor.

Vedika is studying fashion design so she was able to incorporate a lot of her ideas into the designs,” Nikhat said.

“Our advice to other aspiring designers is to always be organised and have a clear thought process. Keep an open mind to new ideas and give attention to detail – that will make sure you deliver good quality work.

“We are grateful for the support of our partners and family during the production process. We would like to thank FFW21 for their support and guidance during FFW21.”

  • LICE MOVONO is a freelance journalist and public relations consultant.

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