Weaving Heritage into Fashion

In this week's podcast Leyla speaks to fashion designer and MA student Parastro Qalandri about weaving heritage into fashion to broaden perspectives. Continue Reading Weaving Heritage into Fashion

Welcome to the 121st episode of the award-winning Diverse Minds podcast. This month, the podcast is focused on access and accessibility. Thinking about how certain groups have access to certain careers and others don’t. In today’s episode, I am so excited and delighted to be speaking to an award-winning burgeoning fashion designer Parasto Qalandri to talk about weaving heritage into fashion.

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About my guest Parasto Qalandri

Parasto Qalandari was born and raised in Afghanistan. Due to the war she had to flee to Pakistan as a refugee with her family and in 2011 she moved to the UK knowing no English. She has just graduated with a first-class honour degree and currently doing her MA degree in Fashion at Kingston University.

Her final collection is based on her life and is an exploration of the culture and context of her birthplace Jaghori, south of Kabul in the East of Afghanistan. 

Parasto has always valued her culture and so she decided to introduce her background, being from the Hazara community to the fashion industry through her work. She has been heavily influenced by the rich history and heritage of textiles in Hazara culture. She takes inspiration from shapes and colours used in everyday life of Hazaras and transferring that to knit and print.

Not many people know the positive and beautiful side of Hazara culture. It’s important for her to make sure everyone is aware of my rich culture in Afghanistan. She says she always felt a sense of not belonging to one place and her collection gives her a sense of belonging, creating a happy atmosphere for her to be lost in.

She has also worked out that she prefers to have a multi-faceted approach to textiles using multiple textural and surface pattern techniques.

In today’s show on Weaving Heritage into Fashion

  • Who Parasto Qalandri is and how she became a fashion designer. [02:31]
  • About Hazara culture, what it means to Parasto and how shapes her work. [04:50]
  • How people from various cultural backgrounds and diaspora can guard against cultural appropriation. [10:38]
  • Some things we can do to help educate people about Hazara culture. [13:12]
  • Her top 3 tips for looking after her mental health. [19:02]

Quotes on Weaving Heritage into Fashion

  • My whole collection is about the rich history and the culture, so people know that we have a lot more to ourselves than just what they see.
  • For me, it’s an honour for someone to use a culture, but what I don’t agree with is how they don’t reference where they have this inspiration from. Referencing someone’s work is the best way to appreciate and acknowledge the culture.
  • It’s been really hard, but my first therapy is my mum, any time something goes wrong I talk to her.
  • I love Bollywood movies and the music from the films, the old ones from the 90s, not the new ones.

Connect with my guest and learn more about Weaving Heritage into Fashion

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Remember to tune in next week, where I’ll bring you more insights on mental health and inclusion.

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