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East Meets West

Friday, February 28th, 2014

By Amanda Koellner
Photos by Lisa Hasselgren or courtesy of Hira Shah

Pakistan. Sweden. Ireland. The UK. At one point or another, fashion designer and stylist Hira Shah has called each of these places home. “Being a part of such dynamic and vibrant cultures and environments has definitely influenced my work immensely,” says Shah, who was born in Pakistan, received a master’s degree in fashion design from the Swedish School of Textiles, resided in Dublin post-graduation, and recently moved to London. “One thing that’s very visible in my work is the fusion of Eastern and Western elements.”

She blends Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant colors with Sweden’s “less is more,” refined style, and the knowledge she soaked up from Ireland’s design talent (the country is home to the likes of Philip Treacy and Orla Kiely) in her balance of minimalism and maximalism.

“For me, fashion is an artistic expression, not just a functional and devoid tool,” she says. “I don’t follow fashion trends; instead I want to liberate the artist and the designer within me and challenge the conventional clothing norms.”

Bucking the fads has boded well for the young designer, as she’s already been featured in Vogue Italia, SÝN, and Slave, among other publications. She’s currently designing a women’s wear collection that she hopes to debut during February’s fashion-week events. 

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