Amy Abrahams interviews fashion designer Zayaan Majiet for Between 10and5:
Zayaan Majiet, from Muizenberg Cape Town, is a talented and skilled young fashion designer. With a great love for animals and qualifications from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, she made the choice to start her own fashion label called Silly Rabbit.
The name stuck after falling in love with Kill Bill Vol.1, Zayaan’s all time favourite film. A scene about an hour and 40 odd minutes into the movie where Beatrix Kiddo is having a conversation with O-Ren Ishii, the sentence “Silly Rabbit, tricks are for kids” comes up. Itâ€™s subtle, and if youâ€™re not paying attention, you won’t pick it up. That is what Silly Rabbit is about. Itâ€™s subtle, with big impact. Zayaan draws inspiration from everything she loves and surrounds herself with.
AA: How did you get into fashion design?
ZM: Creativity came naturally and I always had an affinity for clothing and loved looking different. So when it came to deciding what I wanted to study I applied for Fashion Design, because it would allow me to be creative, practical and stand out from the crowd.
AA: Where did you study fashion design and how did the theory affect your passion for design?
ZM: CPUT. â€¨While studying, I found the theory extremely tedious and not necessary, but now that I am working in the fashion industry I find that all those little bits of history actually make sense and play a pivotal role in my design process.
AA: Did you do an internship? If yes, where and what was your fondest memory?
ZM: Yes, I have interned at ‘THE CLOSET’. They are based in Bo Kaap and do costume design for film and advertising. I was thrown into the deep end, actually getting in and creating pieces. My fondest memory was duplicating a dress for a client, recreating a pattern from a finished garment, making it up and finishing off with a very happy client.
AA: What skills do you need to be a fashion designer?
ZM: Creativity, patience, time management & definitely keeping an open mind.
AA: What do you think is the biggest faux pa when it comes to design?
ZM: When people just follow the current high fashion trend and choose to wear something that they do not necessarily feel comfortable in.
AA: If you could do anything else what would it be?
ZM: I would open a shelter for abused and abandoned animals.
AA: Who is your favourite designer?
ZM: When I was younger I was a big fan of Balenciaga, but of late I donâ€™t find that I have a specific designer that is my favourite. I draw inspiration from collections or key pieces from different designers.
AA: What do you think of the fashion industry in South Africa?
ZM: It is being overtaken by cheap Chinese imports. The public is not aware of this but it is killing the fashion industry.
AA: Do you think youâ€™re at a disadvantage trying to launch a label in South Africa?
ZM: No, because everyone has an opportunity and I feel like I have something different to offer South Africa.
AA: Take me through your design process?
ZM: I surround myself with people, pictures, and things that make me happy and are relevant to what I am designing at the time. Then I research, research and research some more before I start sketching. Sometimes I make one sometimes I need to make many sketches before it develops enough for me to make a pattern.
AA: So youâ€™re launching a swimwear line, tell me more?
ZM: Tide â™¥ Pool is my swimwear line that has been in the pipeline for a few months now. I am still in the design and production process, but my basic concept was to create swimwear that is affordable and for any occasion. The collection is also made so that the buyer may mix and match tops and bottoms and various sizes.
AA: Silly Rabbit is very feminine any plans to venture into menswear?
ZM: Yes indeed. I plan to have a big launch of Silly Rabbit in 2011 that will include a few unique menswear pieces.
AA: What part of design do you enjoy the most?
ZM: People wanting and appreciating your garments, and seeing a random person in the street wearing something youâ€™ve designed and made.
AA: What kind of woman do you design for?
ZM: Silly Rabbit is about embracing your inner child but staying true to your femininity and individuality and to the strong independent woman.
Photographers: Ashraf Hendricks, Ricky Dollie
Models: Helin Tas, Zakirah Rabaney