She may come across as an inexperienced young designer because of her young look and shy demeanor, but I realized quickly that her look is very deceiving. Ten minutes into the conversation on our first meeting, I immediately learned that she is not only multi-talented, but she’s also a big dreamer and a go-getter. At 22, Taranjit Cheema is a painter, fashion illustrator, photographer, and a fashion designer. Having just graduated from Parsons New York in March 2013, Taran’s design is unlike the work of a fresh graduate. Each piece from her thesis collection is a transformation of look that goes through three stages to reach the final state, it’s a metamorphosis! Her method of layering the fabric and color is so mature and unique that I identify her as a young Hussein Chalayan. And when I mentioned this to her, she excitedly replied that Hussein Chalayan is her favorite designer. I think the fashion industry should watch Taran as she is not only a big dreamer, but she also has the talent and drive to make those dreams come true.
Englave: Where are you based?
Taran: My brand is currently based in Vancouver
Englave: Describe your brand in 3 words
Taran: Innovative, Local and Colorful!
Englave: What unique characteristic do you incorporate in all your collections?
Taran: I believe that the way the collection is produced is a unique characteristic. The process of making this collection along side the color and material is what makes the collection stand out.
Englave: What is your creative process to create your first couture pieces?
Taran: I always try to take my inspirations in a more literal representation through my collections. For example this collection was inspired by brush strokes and the way a sari or turban is wrapped. So I started with a blank canvas, and preceded using different brushes (such as a filbert or fan brush) to create multiple layers of strokes. Taking these strokes I found geometric shapes that lead me to the silhouettes for my collection. I didn’t want to take these avant -garde shapes and just sew a jacket or a vest. So I erased what I know about patternmaking and created new rules for myself. These rules were inspired by the way a turban or a sari is wrapped. The first rule was that each look would contain three garments. The second rule was that each garment would be one piece of fabric with no seams (except the sleeve). Finally the third rule was that each garment piece would consist of two colors that could be flipped to reveal a new color. Figure out how to create these futuristic looks with a new set of rule proved to be a challenge. I worked with miniature paper modules to figure out how these shapes would intertwine and flip with each other to become a look. After that I scanned and projected the pieces on to an life size muslin. Once the muslins were put together, it was all about figuring out fabric and color.
Englave: What is your proudest moment?
Taran: My biggest achievement would be seeing my collection in The Province newspaper. It has been one of my dreams to be an up and coming designer in my hometown. Seeing my collection being featured in a local newspaper that I use to read growing up, meant a lot to my family and I.
Englave: Where do you usually get your inspiration?
Taran: Most of my inspiration comes from movement. Like the gesture of painting or the angle or the way an object falls. Inspiration to me is discovering a new technique or new method and seeing where I can take it.
Englave: What is your biggest struggle and wish as an emerging designer?
Taran: I think my biggest struggle, as an emerging designer would be starting a name for myself. I am still a very teeny tiny fish in a really big ocean!!
Englave: What is next for you or your brand?
Taran: A new collection!! Right now I am working on a collection that will include avant-garde shapes with ready to wear pieces that will be available for purchase!
Englave: How do you plan to differentiate your brand in this saturated industry?
Taran: My brand is different from many others because of the unique ways the patterns are made; also everything produced and manufactured will be done locally.
Englave: Which designer do you admire most and why?
Taran: Hussein Chalayan, his creativity makes his pieces truly unique wearable art! Also admire the works of Dion Lee and his innovative use of textiles!
Englave: Which designer do you want to collaborate with the most?
Taran: It would be a dream to collaborate with Hussein Chalayan!!
Englave: Where can we purchase your product?
Taran: Currently nowhere but hopefully in a couple of months on my website taranjitcheema.com