At Debut we love seeing young designers making their mark in the creative industry, so we were super excited to meet with Middlesex University graduate and RUN Womenswear designer, Varun Sharma.
Known for his masculine silhouettes and his eclectic prints, we were blown away by the presentation for his latest SS17 Collection.
Debut: How did you get into fashion designing?
Varuna: I’ve always been a creative person, I would love to do music, that’s one thing that I always wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure exactly what direction I wanted to go into. So one of my cousins – she was actually doing knitwear – and I ended up getting into it through her because she was really creative and we were really close when we were growing up. Then I just did a foundation course and ended up loving it – I absolutely loved it – and ever since then it’s just a big part of my life.
Debut: Tell us about your journey to London Fashion Week?
Varun: It’s been a bit long to be honest! I graduated in 2010, then I took a few years out. Around 2013, I decided I was ready to do this. And I’ve just been working on the low-key, you know doing my own designs – but this is my first commercial collection.
Debut: Have you changed your design styles for commercial purposes?
Varun: Just being in London and the way things are at the moment, I’d love to be able to be more creative with my work but the reality is that you have to be somewhat commercial cause you’re not going to survive as a business otherwise. So I’ve kind of geared my work towards being aware of all of that, but the prints that I’m doing I think in the last three collections are great to do because you can really show your personality and still keep your clothes wearable.
Debut: Where do you get your inspiration for your designs / Prints?
Varun: I always love doing bombers, I think those are my favourite pieces that I just love doing anyway and the prints for this collection specifically, I was inspired by the Hamar Tribe in Ethiopia. They wear a lot of their own prints and they mix them with clothes that have been given to them through charity, like sports tops and jerseys. So I’ve really tried to pull through that aspect of it and really bring it into my prints. I love keeping my clothes a little bit masculine as well.
Debut: Which designer did you look up to growing up?
Varun: I love McQueen because he knew how to put on a show – he knew how to do that. He was amazing.
Debut: Is there a place in particular that inspires you?
Varun: I love travelling, take me anywhere near a beach and I’ll be happy and inspired. But I love Saul, I absolutely love Saul, I’ve been there a few times and I’m so inspired every single time I go there, purely as a designer because they have everything you’ll ever need to do anything in terms of work. It’s a beautiful place and it’s so inspiring.
Debut: Does any genre of music or artist inspire you when you’re designing?
Varun: I don’t really focus too much on specific artists, I mean if I listen to a track it might take me to a certain place, but it’s nice for it to be more of a natural journey. Where you see a colour and you think, wow that’s great, and then you’re thinking about all the images you’ve seen ages ago or maybe a certain shape and naturally it just starts coming together, it’s always really organic.
Debut: What does your work ethic have to be like when working in the fashion industry?
Varun: You have to be really hard working, I think more than hard working, you can work hard but you have to be really passionate about it, otherwise you cannot do it and you will not be able to last. The reality is, there will be times when its really hard, emotionally and physically. It’s really strenuous and people necessarily don’t see it from the outside, but because you’re so passionate about it, you put so much love into it. It affects you even on an emotional level. Your work ethic has to be very passionate more than anything else but you have to be able to work hard, work during the night, and be crazy.
Debut: What advice would you give to our readers that want to pursue a career in fashion?
Varun: Honestly I would say go and intern for someone. I haven’t because I’ve always been sure what I wanted to do and knew I could do it myself. But it’s never a bad idea to go and work for someone because that’s how you’ll learn to do the job properly and you’ll understand things you never even knew existed. Because it’s not just about being creative, it’s an actual business more than anything else. So go and work for someone and really find your feet first and be sure that you want to do it because it’s really expensive as well.
Questions: Flaka Dula