StylePortfolios: Faiza Jarie-Khachan
What is your employment status?
FJK: Self-Employed Freelance Designer always open to new creative opportunities.
What is your official job title?
FJK: Fashion Designer, Consultant
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
FJK: I have over 20 years experience designing women’s evening wear, bridal, sportswear and intimate apparel with a specialty in embroidery design. I have worked with numerous reputable design companies such as Elie Tahari, Oscar de la Renta and J. Mendel.
Describe what you do?
FJK: I work on several areas of design and development of a collection depending on the project I’m hired for. I work with the creative directors to design new concepts or silhouettes for their women’s wear collection which may include evening wear, bridal, novelty sportswear, accessories, intimate apparel and my specialty embroidery design.
I also work with their in house production studio staff, pattern makers, merchandisers and other designers. I keep constant communication and correspondence with factories overseas in managing the creation of sample designs, embroideries, quality, costing and scheduling timely deliveries.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
FJK: My mother is a creative person, artist and a designer. And growing up in a creative environment and watching her inspired me. I learned at an early age how to sew when she opened her first boutique and I then started designing pieces to sell in her store.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
FJK: After designing apparel for my mother’s boutique I decided to study fashion design once I was old enough for college. While studying at university I took up several internships to learn more first hand from many reputable fashion companies in NYC including companies like CNN Style with Elsa Klensch, CFDA, Isaac Mizrahi, Calvin Klein and Anna Sui.
One of my first internships that hired me as a freelance assistant designer while I was still in university was Calvin Klein and that was the real beginning of my career as a professional designer in the New York fashion industry.
After graduating from university I took a year off to work on my own collection to build my portfolio which consisted mostly of hand embellished pieces. So when I moved back to New York City looking for work I was immediately hired as an Embroidery Designer due to that and have been a freelance designer with a specialty in Embroidery Design and Evening Wear for most of the last 20 years.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
FJK: I love working with creative individuals and sharing ideas. Then seeing the final result of our collaboration come to life. The challenge is working with several teams from in house to overseas factories and make sure everyone is on the same page and meeting deadlines while producing superior quality.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
FJK: A film maker.
How did you get started in design?
FJK: At a young age I started designing women’s apparel for my mother’s boutique.
What do you like about what you do?
FJK: I love designing intricate embroideries the most. Researching old traditional techniques and embroidery details from the past is very important to me as well as sourcing materials and keeping this amazing craft alive.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
FJK: They think I do the hand embroidery myself. When actually I design and send artwork to an embroidery factory that can take several weeks to months to hand embellish a single garment.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
FJK: I’m not really into wearing high heels although appreciate how they can elevate a dress or style . I do however love comfort and sneakers the most. After all I live in NYC where you have to walk a lot and it’s such a staple integrated into our daily fashion.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
FJK: I’ve been in love with Tribal, ethnic and vintage jewelry and clothing from around the world for decades. I’ve been collecting and love coming across unique treasures that can inspire my work.
I have also been working on my own collection along with my vintage finds and launching it very soon.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
FJK: The importance of keeping in touch with past colleagues and designers. I started out in the 90’s when there was no social media or LinkedIn which makes it so much easier to stay connected now.
What advice would you give to young designers?
FJK: Learn as much as you can from your internships, ask questions and deliver much more than expected.
What’s your motto?
FJK: Believing is the beginning of a dream come true.
Faiza Jarie-Khachan has over 20 years experience designing women’s evening wear, bridal, sportswear and intimate apparel with a specialty in embroidery design. She has worked with numerous reputable design companies such as Elie Tahari, Oscar de la Renta and J. Mendel.