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London's Bohemian Knitwear Maestro & Stylist:
An IZLAND Exclusive Interview with Samira Choudhury

What sets Samira Choudhury apart is her unique ability to blend diverse influences into cohesive, striking designs. Inspired by legendary figures such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and Rick Owens, her aesthetic is a dark, maximalist tapestry woven with punk, goth, and textured layers. Yet, beyond these external influences, Samira draws deeply from their South Asian heritage, creating a rich fusion that speaks to her cultural identity. Her innovative work with traditional South Asian garments, juxtaposed with modern punk elements, offers a compelling narrative that challenges conventional boundaries and celebrates multifaceted identity.

Written by Amy Woodroffe

Samira Choudhury

Izland Interview: Samira Choudhury

Tell me a bit about yourself and your journey into fashion design? What motivated you to become a fashion designer, particularly focusing on knitwear?


I’ve always been into fashion, even as a kid. It’s one of the most cliché things to say, but it’s true. I spent a lot of my younger years drawing clothes sat in front of the TV playing MTV hits. Lady Gaga was a massive inspiration for me, even now, with her outfits, music, and performances and I could envision her wearing my badly drawn sketches in one of her music videos perfectly.

I was brought up in a small town in the West Midlands, so fashion for me was a big fantasy. It was a dream world that I never really thought I could be a part of. I think even for my parents, me wanting to be a ‘fashion designer’ was just a thing they’d assume I’d grow out of. My parents chose practical careers for themselves, same with my siblings – a solid 9-5 with a stable income. The first time they took my love seriously was when I got my place at London College of Fashion, a university that I thought I would never get to attend. My initial application was for womenswear, but I was offered a place onto knit after my interviews. I saw this as a sign to push forward an aspect of my creativity that I enjoyed during my foundation, and I knew that specializing within fashion would open more opportunities in such a highly saturated and competitive industry.

As I came towards the end of my time at LCF, I really started to learn myself and what I could offer within the industry. My tutors really helped me to look to myself and push forwards things that I was blind to, such as my taste in styling and my own individual quirks that I was afraid to express. I had a habit of comparing myself to others without realizing what I had to offer. I began focusing my time a lot more on the styling aspect of my work, something that I currently do a lot of. Styling allows me to not only bring in my own flair on things but also pull in my own fabrics, garments, and wardrobe.


Who or what are your main influences in the world of fashion? How has your background or upbringing influenced your design aesthetic?


I’d say my main influences are designers such as Vivienne Westwood, early Alexander McQueen, Maison Margiela, and more recently, Rick Owens. While I say this, I don’t think I look towards other designers so much for inspiration, but I appreciate their work and aesthetics. Fashion-wise, I love dark aesthetics, punk and goth influences, layers, and textured fabrics.

I think my background has definitely had a large impact on my design aesthetic, especially with my recent work and creative focus. I’ve always wanted to explore more of my South Asian culture but never really felt ready to explore it during my studies. There were a few occasions where I attempted to explore my culture, but it didn’t feel like it was me telling the story. It felt generic, and I lacked a proper connection to it. It felt as if I was trying to box or label myself, but the label was not fitting properly. After graduating, I felt a lot more in touch with my identity and what being South Asian meant for me. I sat with a shoot in my mind for a while, mainly due to doubts and the fear of others not understanding or seeing my concept the way I did in my head. After a few months, I decided to jump and reached out to other South Asian creatives to actualize my plans. This first shoot explored traditional South Asian garments and jewellery along with punk and goth influences. I felt like these perfectly represented the love I have for not only my everyday style and the images and people I see around me, but also my South Asian culture that my parents so dearly want me to keep and remember. It felt like the images visualized parts of myself that I would struggle to express with words, and I realized I didn’t have to box myself into one or the other.


What is your creative process like when designing a new collection? Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? How would you describe your signature style in three words?


I think when it comes to my creative process, I have a habit of sitting on ideas for a while. This is something I’m trying to work on at the moment as fashion is a fast-paced industry and it doesn’t allow time to think twice. I think the pressure works well for me though as I need that kick to keep things going. Inspiration-wise, I create with my eyes. If something is pleasing to my eye, then I take it. Whether that be something I see during a walk, a jacket someone’s wearing, or a road sign. I pull inspiration from everyday things around me. A lot of my sparks also come from scrolling on Instagram. I come across a post I like, and it starts off a whole explosion of ideas in my head. This usually leads me on to spending hours on Pinterest creating mood boards for my shoots.

If I had to describe my signature style in three words, it would be dark, maximalist, and cultural.

What drew you specifically to knitwear as your specialty? What do you find most rewarding about working with knit fabrics and can you share some insights into your approach to knitwear design?


So, at the time when I applied to LCF, I was exploring knit for the first time through hand knitting things such as tape, hair, and wire. Traditional yarn didn’t really speak to me, and I guess most people’s assumption when it comes to knitting is that it’s just purely jumpers, scarves, and cardigans. I found the medium quite fun to play with, and I loved how what you knit with could completely change its purpose in terms of weight, flexibility, etc. I’m a fan of texture and knit allowed me to create and explore my own. My portfolio became heavily knit focused which really showed in my interviews, and I think that’s what opened the doors for me to enter into this specialty. While I enjoyed knit and am glad that I specialized, I don’t like to box my creativity into one medium. I’ve always been rather free with my creativity, and I like to explore different ways of creating rather than sticking to one thing. I think this is the reason why I dabble between calling myself a designer and calling myself a stylist.

My approach towards knit was never really a technical method as I don’t consider myself to be a technical knitter. A lot of my work was through exploring and trial and error. I preferred finishes on my knit over using complex knit techniques, and a lot of my pieces featured the use of hardware such as chains, rings, and jewellery. I think this is what made my work mine.

How does the vibrant culture of London inspire your work? Are there any specific aspects of London's art scene that have had a significant impact on your designs? Do you think being based in London gives you a unique perspective as a fashion designer?


London has definitely opened my eyes more to what can be. I think when I was living in a small town, a lot of this felt unachievable; it didn’t feel like reality for someone like me. It was something I could watch from afar but never be a part of. Moving here and having graduated from one of the top fashion schools in the world definitely changed things for me in terms of opportunities and mindset.

I think London’s queer scene has had an influence within my work as well as the subcultures within it. The nightlife, safe spaces, and events which are all full of self-expression and outfits that really caught my eye. Again, it began as me looking through a glass and admiring, but now I’m immersed and if anything, out the other side.

Being surrounded by so many creatives has really helped my journey too, as I find it so inspiring seeing people from similar backgrounds to me do well. I think a lot of London’s creative scene bounce off of each other; we're all connected one way or another, which I really love. It’s like one big creative family that helps support and motivate you when you need it, and I’m so grateful for the people I have around me.


What can we expect from your upcoming creations? Are there any projects or collaborations on the horizon that you're particularly excited about?

You can expect a lot more shoots exploring my cultural heritage and also peeking into other sides of myself. I have quite a few shoots planned that I’m attempting to juggle at the moment, a few of which are outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be looking to explore a few different styles that still speak to me and put my own twist on things. I’m hoping this will open up a lot more opportunities as well as helping me grow and push myself within my creative medium.

In the next few years, I’m hoping to have kicked off my styling career more full-time with a big healthy portfolio full of shoots. I’m hoping to have worked with a range of brands and really expanded my creative connections. I tend to not look too far in the future as things change and sometimes we don’t always know what we want. We may think we want one thing but might have something better come along and I think we should be open to receiving that and adapting to things as they come and go.

Click to follow Samira Choudhury: @smizerc   //   @sjc_fashion_

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