There’s a sincerity and openness to Osman Yousefzada that translates into his highly considered, exceptionally tailored designs. A true creative, it took him a while to embrace his calling as a fashion designer, but he’s finally living his truth and it’s reflected in Osman, his namesake line.
When we catch up with the designer following his SS17 show in London, he’s both modest and candid as he describes his upbringing in Birmingham, England. The son of a carpenter father and a dressmaker mother, craft was in Osman’s blood from day one, and he grew up helping out his mother. “Women would come in with something torn out of a magazine and want my mom to recreate it, and it came really easily to me to help with that. We lived in the inner city—it wasn’t high fashion or anything,” he explains.
Eventually, he moved to London to study and went through a bit of turmoil as he discovered a whole new world in the city. “I had a really repressed upbringing, so I was a bit of a jack-in-the-box,” he says frankly of those early years in London. “At that stage, I hadn’t been exposed to true fashion at all. I went crazy partying and left school to bum around. I was clubbing a lot during that time and making clothes for myself since I could sew.”
Despite his obvious talent, Osman tried time and time again to escape the fashion lifestyle, saying, “I tried so hard to deny myself of what I wanted.” Eventually, he got the confidence to channel his creativity and designed a small collection, which received immediate praise from industry friends.
Nearly a decade later, his elegant, architectural designs are worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Thandie Newton, and Emma Watson—though Osman never intended to tap into the celebrity market. “I always picture how a gallerist or architect would dress in 2008,” he laughs. “Really though, I just want to give women what they want to wear.” In fact, his fascination has always been with how real women wear clothes, which is why his Spring ’17 runway show was almost entirely cast via Instagram and with women he knows, like artist Celia Hempton. The collection, which he describes as Nan Goldin-inspired, is built around well-tailored, creative interpretations of classic pieces like blazers, denim, and dresses.
Never one for convention, Osman also has a cross-disciplinary journal called The Collective, which he creates in collaboration with artists from his artistic community. It started because he didn’t want to do a traditional lookbook and preferred to show the collection through a more creative lens. He’s now curated five issues. We, for one, can’t wait to see what this creative force does next.