Interview with Lilian Afshar of L'AFSHAR
“Everything so far with the brand has happened so organically, even from the start. Before I launched L’AFSHAR I was a recent graduate with just two clutch prototypes. Add a great PR team to that, lots of determination and perseverance, and L’AFSHAR was born.”
YOU’VE LIVED ALL OVER THE WORLD; WHERE DID YOU STUDY?
“We moved around from London, Vancouver, Marbella and then to Dubai. I studied a BA in Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting at Esmod.”
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS? DO THEY INSPIRE YOUR COLLECTION?
“I love LA, Capri, Antibes and Paris. Traveling completes me and inspires me as a person. My collections always start with a spark of inspiration, research and then a discovery of different textures and materials.”
WHO HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? DO YOU HAVE MENTORS?
“I have learned that not everything will go your way and as planned. At the beginning it’s a bit difficult to adjust to that, and you definitely have to remember that there is always a solution to every bump along the way. My mum is definitely my mentor when it comes to the business side of the brand.”
TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE INTERNATIONAL FASHION PRESS.
“So far it has been great. In my first season the clutches were snapped by international publications including The Cut, Vogue.fr and The Sartorialist. I do feel like there is a huge gap between designers in the Middle East and international presence but I feel like a bridge is slowly being built to connect the two.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST RETAIL ACCOUNTS – WHO WAS THE FIRST PLACE TO CARRY L’AFSHAR?
“We were first picked up by local boutiques in Dubai, it then spread onto Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Beirut and in the second season L’AFSHAR spread to Tbilisi, London, Houston, Kiev and soon to Shanghai and Australia.”
WHAT INSPIRED THE SHAPES OF YOUR FIRST COLLECTIONS?
“My first season was all about practicality. I offered three different sizes mini, medium and large. I got a lot of feedback on the mini and even large clutches. As the minis were perfect for evening occasions and the large basically fit everything!”
WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS?
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR BUSINESS?
“Seeing the brand grow and be picked up by beautiful boutiques from different parts of the world.”
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE IN YOUR BUSINESS? HAVE THOSE CHALLENGES CHANGED IN THE PAST YEAR, TWO YEARS, THREE YEARS?
“The brand is relatively young, we turned one in December. As a designer, you will always face production challenges on a daily basis. The most challenging part is being able to run all aspects of the business all at once. From production, social media, designing, packing, sending etc., and the list goes on.”
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
“Customer feedback, seeing women and sometimes men actually carry the clutch – basically seeing the product I designed be appreciated. This motivates, inspires, pushes me creatively and makes all the hard work a bit easier.”