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2009 November 10

The Osman Cometh

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Osman Spring 2010 Osman Spring 2010
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(NEW YORK) London Fashion Week just keeps getting hauter, and as the trunk show season lurches into full swing, it's becoming clear that American designers are finding competition from our friends across the pond. Case in point: Osman Yousefzada, who just arrived in New York for several appearances at the Elizabeth Charles boutique on Hudson Street. This designer, known for sculptural clothing that manages to be both fluid and tailored, graduated from Central Saint Martins before launching his collection Osman in September 2005. As his brand steadily grew, Yousefzada was nominated for the Designs of Year 2007 award at the Design Museum, which features the best 100 designs selected from an international pool of all design disciplines. (His co-nominees in the fashion division included Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, Dior, Giles Deacon, and Pierre Hardy.) Then in 2008, he was tapped by Mango to create a "Little Black Dress" collection, which sold strongly in 35 countries. The Daily caught up with the designer as he prepared for his cocktail party, which is happening tonight at Elizabeth Charles from 6-8 p.m. He'll be at the store all day tomorrow as well.

Welcome to New York! Why do you think your clothes will work well here? 
Americans really respond to the idea of easy dressing, and I make easy pieces that add a little drama to your life.

Speaking of, your shows during London Fashion Week have become very buzzy. What's that like?
I don't really like shows. I'm a perfectionist, so I move very quickly from season to season. I've never really been about, 'Hi, I'm a celebrity designer. Hi, here's my show.' I prefer more intimate settings. But it is important to show your product, and shows do accomplish that.

How did you grow your business?
Early on, I received support from the British Fashion Council and a 5,000 bursary from New Look. I started with that, and I've been going ever since. The business grows every season; now we have 35 wholesale accounts in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Any designers you're admiring these days?
I try not to look at other designers' work, because if you spend too much time looking at other things, you don't have time to make your own. I do like several Americans, like Donna Karan and Narciso Rodriguez.

Any other hobbies besides work?
I collect books. I tend to buy everything I like, so that's where all my money goes. And I'm a big traveller. One of my sponsors is Kuoni, so going forward, I'll be doing a capsule collection for them. Travel clothing has been never done in an architctural way--it's usually more boho--so this is new ground to tread.

Favorite destination?
Japan, Bali, Zanzibar, India...they all have their beautiful bits.

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