A Fashion Tale - Naz&Court for BlackChalk Magazine
A FASHION TALE –
Editorial – Black Chalk Magazine @BlackChalkMagazine
Editor – Justin Howard @Jthnomad
Photographer – Cliff Lipson @clifflipson
Make Up Artist – Victoria Payne @vpaynemua
Male Model – Michael Beliveau
Naz&Court is a fashion collection by designer besties, Naz Harounian & Courtney Barriger, inspired by their belief that life is like a fairy tale – you can get what you want if you dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to your quest. Taking their individual experiences as fashion designer and an internationally exhibited artist, the besties hope that Naz&Court will bring luxury into everyone’s wardrobe.
“Dress to the complexity you wish to experience.” Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale – Naz&Court
JH – What’s your philosophy about the ART of fashion?
N – If you’re not having an emotional response to it, it might as well not exist.
C – Fashion does not exists only in apparel. It can be found in everything. Look for it on the hiking trail, on a busy street corner, on the lady pushing a baby stroller in 5-inch heels. It comes out in how you want to feel when you are out in the world. Fashion has to do with the imagination, how we conduct our lives, what is going on around us.
JH – What does fashion mean to you?
N – I used to believe that fashion was just a means for self-expression, but the more educated I became about the industry I realized fashion is a beast or a prince all in one entity. If the people working in the industry develop products in a more sustainable and ethical manner the beast can transform into a handsome Prince, but at this point, in our history, the beast is at his most angry and terrifying. At Naz&Court we are trying to cause a revolution and change the beast into a prince.
C – Imagine, if you will, having the ability to change with your environment, adapting like a chameleon to your instincts. Fashion occupies a space, and calls on the imagination to fill it. It is a walking, breathing art installation that can be simple and functional, or as bold and wild as you feel the call for. Fashion means you can be whatever you want to be wherever you happen to be.
JH – What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
N – I was around 10 and it was a pink satin bag. I used a pearl necklace as the handle and decorated it with a patch of a punk cat with a sexy wink, actually if I could find it now I’d use it. I remember all of my friends and family asking me where I had gotten my purse and confidently responding that I had made it, that answer made me feel a true sense of pride and it still does.
C – The first models to wear my clothing designs were Mattel Models – that is, Barbie Dolls. I used to deconstruct Barbie clothes for their buttons and Velcro, and source fabric from old dresses and shirts from my mom’s closet. She never knew, but I made an entire runway collection out of them. I had my friends come over to play “fashion designer,” and my Barbie avatar, Victoria Swan (who was also a model/actress), would host runway shows in her mansion to the delight of made-up fashion magazines I would draw up. It is funny how my eight-year-old self manifested the real life experience. No sign of a mansion though.
JH – What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
N – The biggest accomplishment to date is Naz&Court being called the future of fashion by Fashion Fights Poverty and the United Nations, a close second is winning America’s It Girl, a nationally televised fashion design competition and lastly, supporting international female athlete skimboarders through my other fashion brand, SC by Naz Harounian(SCbyNH).
C – Given that I have only taken on the role of designer professionally for less than a year, it came as a shock and a great honor to be recognized by Fashion Fights Poverty – a United Nations non-profit – as “The Future” of fashion for the sustainable and ethical elements of Naz&Court, and for the functionality of the designs. Fashion Fights Poverty embodies all of my beliefs toward paying it forward and educating people about how toxic the fashion industry is on both the environment and economics of prosperity. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, second to fossil fuels – according to The True Cost documentary written by Andrew Morgan. The call to action I have taken with Naz&Court has also been recognized by Andrew Morgan. Morgan has advised me on how and where to get up-to-date scientific information the impact of fashion on the environment and is recommending Naz&Court to his connections following the documentary. It feels like a seal of approval.
JH – How do you select your models?
N – I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who are beautiful inside and out. I love having my talented friends who inspire me model for my brands. I also enjoy diversity and models who have a great deal of personality because who they are is conveyed in the images and they bring new life and personality to the clothing.
C – Historically, I professionally practice the art of performing as a model. With creating our own clothing line, Naz and I agree that we want to embody the feel of our brand Naz&Court as both designers and editorial models. It is extremely satisfying to fashion the environment we want to share with the world, and get to live in it too.
In the future we plan to bring in female and male models who perform a vision of strength, confidence, and diversity. We want our models feel like heroes whose purpose is to save the world from fashion pollutants and protect the people who are exploited for cheap labor by choosing Naz&Court.
JH – Do you consider yourself an artist?
N – I consider most people artists but some more than others. Honestly, surviving and thriving in this world is an art and everyone who is doing it right is an artist in their own right.
C – Anyone who has imagination and intuition is a dreamer. You have to be a dreamer to be an artist. The challenge is to materialize it, to animate it. That is where the metamorphosis takes place and an artist is born.
So if you are dreaming it, and doing it, there you have it! I must be an artist.
JH – What’s your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
N – Knowing that soon it will be a reality. Court and I are also screenwriters, making films takes a great deal of time, but creating an article of clothing can happen rather quickly, there’s something about feeling that gratification sooner rather than later that is quite rewarding.
C – I like to imagine what I might be doing in the garment when I conceptualize a design. That way I can design garments for all occasions, maybe even sleepwear! I want the design to be outstanding in every element it is designed for.
JH – How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
N – The preparation starts weeks, sometimes months, in advance, between figuring out the aesthetics and logistics, but the day of I try not to stress and to eat, eating is important.
C – Naz and I are our own show directors and art directors, so a lot of the pre-production is pulling inspiration from life and other artists to create our own concepts for fashion shows and editorial shoots. Then we go out into the world and build a team to bring it all to life. It is a ton of work, but it is always rewarding to see it come to life.
JH – What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
N – First learn the business, then trust your unique voice, it’s the one thing that’ll make you stand out, lastly challenge yourself to do the design better than it’s ever been done before because no designer at this point is creating new articles of clothing, we’re only creating variations of what already exist. The leather jacket existed before Naz&Court, but we set out to make the best version of it design wise, material wise and production wise. We made the sustainable, ethical leather jacket for all of our Rebels with a Cause.
C – It is always a good idea for an aspiring fashion designer to apprentice with an established designer. I apprenticed and collaborated with St. Augustine-based, award winning designer Erin Healy for her 1920’s collection that debuted at Miami International Fashion Week. Though you may not learn everything, you get a good idea of how the business works and how to create a sellable line of production that is successful. When you are ready, really focus on your story and message before doing anything else. Coming from a writer, your story is everything.
JH – What do you like best about designing clothes?
N – For me it used to be about bringing my design ideas to fruition and making beautiful yet functional works of art, but now there’s a whole new layer because I love doing all of that while also saving the environment, the economy and individuals, the latter brings my psyche greater joy.
C – Knowing that strangers will alter the global climate for the good by wearing Naz&Court is definitely my favorite part about designing apparel. I want to lower the fashion industry’s carbon footprint by working with the system in place – consumer capitalism -if you can’t change the system, change the product.
JH – How would you define your personal style?
N – My style has changed a great deal over the past few years as I’ve changed as an individual, in one word BLACK.
C – Stay simple, stay elegant, and dress to the complexity you wish to experience.
JH – How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
N – Naz&Court is a legacy collection, every piece is designed to look modern, yet classic.
C – We are making heirloom pieces, legacy pieces that are comfortable, classic and timeless.
JH – Where do you get your inspiration?
N – When designing for Naz&Court I think we find inspiration in the material, we ask ourselves “What’s the best article of clothing that we can design with this sustainable material?” and then we create it.
C – We design based off of the fabric we consider to be the most sustainable. Fabrics that are organically grown as cotton or eucalyptus, contain no azo dyes in our silk, no cancer causing chromium 6 in our leather, and decompose in the most natural way possible.
JH – What are your favorite fabrics to work with and why?
N – SUSTAINABLE. SUSTAINABLE. SUSTAINABLE and BLACK. Sustainable because it saves the environment and black because everything, according to me at least, should come in black and studies show people are more attractive when they wear black. Basically, let’s save the world and look sexy, why not, right?
C – Since I’ve discovered Tencel, I have fallen in love with the buttery soft jersey. It is organic material grown without pesticides, the chemicals used to break it down are safe and recycled back into the factory, it is water resourceful, and it is so safe for the environment you can throw it on your compost and it will go back to the earth. I consider it to be the most sustainable fabric out there.
JH – Why the name ‘Naz&Court’?
N – Naz & Court is equal parts Naz and Court, hence the name, we also thought it sounded regal.
C – Naz Harounian + Courtney Barriger = Naz&Court. It could have been Har&Barr – but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…
JH – How did you launch your new brand into today’s world?
N – We used a great deal of online networking and social media.
C – We launched Naz&Court with a great deal of help from our very talented and amazing friends and supporters who are photographers, website developers, magazine editors, models, sound engineers, drag queens, rock bands, actors, cinematographers, make-up artists, connectors, editors, brain-trusts, store owners, club promoters, talk show hosts, advocates, and folk who bought from us before we were an official business ( have I left anyone out?). Everyone who believes in Naz and myself and who sees a sustainable future as a reality they are willing to give themselves to has helped us become what we are now.
Without the village, Naz&Court would still be an idea. We have a lot of love and gratefulness to give out in thanks.
JH – Are you influenced by any music or art movements?
N – YES! I’m influenced by almost everything around me, especially music and art, but my taste is so vast I can’t possibly list it here, but this would be a day that would influence and elate me. Wear all black. Listen to Placebo. Go to museums. Hold the hand of the person I love.
C – Not only am I influenced by music, movies, and art movements, but Naz&Court dreams to dress musicians, create sustainable wardrobe for films, and create art installations on runways and 2D art displays that tell the story the mess we have made in the fashion industry and the hope we have for “The Future” of fashion. The current movement is toward sustainability and saving our planet. Let’s do this!
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