Born and raised in Southern California, fashion designer Bijan Andre Bonakdar is bringing a new level of sophistication to the world of luxury women’s wear.Tell us about your personal history and that of your brand: I was born and raised in Southern California. My love affair with the world of fashion and celebrities started when I was a child. I always knew that I would become a fashion designer and fashion illustrator. Opting to stay close to the LA fashion scene and Hollywood celebrities, I studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. After FIDM, I worked at Michael Costello Couture and his secondary line Stello, honing my skills in evening wear design. During this time my original designs were featured in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015 & Spring/Summer 2016. Beyoncé wore a body suit I designed for a performance in 2015. At the end of last year, I turned 25, I started my brand called Bijan Andre Atelier specializing in luxury women’s wear and evening wear. Every garment is proudly produced in the U.S. creating local jobs.
What is your development process like, from initial conception to final piece? I start each collection with specific colors, and silhouettes in mind. I search for luxurious fabrics and trims that inspire me. With fabrics chosen, I communicate the vision to my team through my illustrations. Designs are finalized after draping the fabric on dress forms. Sometimes the fabric is compliant and my vision comes to life, sometimes the fabric dictates the silhouette and takes me in a different direction. It’s this unspoken dialogue during the draping that is the beginning of a creative high on which I thrive. I love being involved in every step of the design and production.
Where do you find inspiration? A lot of my design inspirations come from studying the works of iconic fashion designers. I enjoy taking elements from classical styles and adding modern twists to them to create new fresh gowns with a certain woman or celebrity in mind. I also draw inspiration from colors. It is amazing to me how the same garment can look and feel so different in different colors. Colors have the ability to make you feel different and communicate your present mood to others.
Who is the woman you are designing for? The Bijan Andre Woman is smart and self-confident. Her style is sophisticated, glamorous and chic. She likes looking amazing, but more importantly, she has the interest and pride of a connoisseur in how her garments are constructed and where they are made.
Tell us about your brand’s commitment to sustainability: Currently less than 5% of garments sold in the United States are produced here. It didn’t always used to be like this. As manufacturing moved overseas, we lost talented artisans and the secrets of their trade. American customers are voting with their dollars and are seeking for American made products. I am proud to be part of this new movement to bring back manufacturing to the United States and create artisanal jobs.
Where would you like to go creatively, that you haven’t already explored? At the age of 25, I am doing what every designer dreams of doing one day. I am fortunate that there is a demand for US made luxury goods. The next step in my journey is expanding my brand and aesthetics to high-end day wear.