Monday, March 31, 2014

Wearing Personality on Her Sleeve: A Q&A with Buffi Jashanmal

Since her days as a contestant on Project Runway, Buffi Jashanmal has kept herself busy with many projects, including pouring her love of clothing design and her passion for all things DIY into her new book, Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles. Buffi’s book teaches aspiring clothing designers to create patterns for three basic dress shapes and then customize them to fit any body type and fashion sensibility. We talked to Buffi about her evolution as a designer and getting your wardrobe ready for spring.

Photograph © by Peter LaMastro

How did you learn to sew?

I used to hand sew and embroider my clothes in my early teens. It wasn’t until I went to Parsons for fashion design at the age of 21 that I learned how to machine sew. I was a late starter.

When did you first become interested in designing clothes?

I have always been into fashion and being unique. As a teen, I went to a funky high school where there was no uniform — we were encouraged to have personal style, and to wear our personality on our sleeves with love!

After getting my first degree in English and Drama, I decided to follow my passion for fashion as a career.

What made you decide that writing a how-to book was something you wanted to do?

I have always wanted to teach people how easy it is to design and sew their own clothes. Writing a book on dressmaking seemed like the next logical step in my career.

What do you hope people will get from your book?


You live in Dubai and have spent time in New York. How have those two cities influenced your design work?

New York feeds the fashion soul! You can wear what you want anytime, anywhere, and no one bats an eyelid. Unfortunately, I cannot get away with as much fashion freedom in Dubai — it’s a bit serious here!

The creative bunny and anyone who wants to take risks can do it in New York. In April, I’ll be back in New York City for my book tour, and I can’t wait.

What’s one tool no dress designer should ever be without?

There are two: a sewing machine and a good pair of fabric scissors.

Any DIY tips for freshening up your wardrobe for spring?

Don’t throw away your old clothes this spring — upcycle instead! Take a look at your wardrobe and see how you can use the fabric to make something else. It can be as simple as adding a fun trim or turning patterned fabric into an appliqué.

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