Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nima Behnoud

Nima Behnoud (in Persian: نیما بهنود) is an Iranian fashion designer based in New York City. He is the first fashion designer who implemented Persian calligraphy in a form of clothing.
The concept of hand crafted clothing started when as teenagers Nima and his friends would take Levis Jeans and other garments and draw, write and alter them to their taste. Some of these items were obtained in the black market, thus making it harder and more expensive to continue such experiments. The place was Tehran, and its northern suburbs, where a large middle class had settled in; the time period was during the late 80’s shortly after the war had ended.
Nima began, wearing what he was buying and altering, to the parties that took place in the underground scene of Northern Tehran. This became not only an outlet of youthful energy, but also a plat- form for experimentation. Nima and his friends started crashing parties and squeezing their way into as many social settings as they could, just to show off their work. Not having any formal training in fashion design or consistent supply of material, they used what was available and incorporated them into their fabrics, items such as spray paint, studs, stitches, pins and etc. In 1994 he left Iran for San Francisco to study art and design. Soon after his arrival in the bay area, he began working with several design firms, and in the summer of 1997 he landed an opportunity to work at “ Colortone ” design firm, the design house that produced the world famous apple computer campaign, “think different.” By this time, he had developed an interest in advertising design and fashion, and in 1998 was hired as an art director at “ Jamison Cawdrey Advertising” where he experienced the fashion industry firsthand by art directing photo shoots, and campaigns for a fashion brands.
He soon found that California did not quench his thirst for fashion and design, and in the winter of 1999 moved to New York City, where he now calls home.After his arrival in New York he started working for Publicis as a Senior Art Director. In the East Coast he recognized that there is whole lot more in fashion and design, and that formal training and knowledge of classical styles, can further expand one’s vision.
Nima enrolled in Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and restarted his graphic experimentation on fabric, where he had left off years earlier in Tehran. He began an experiment that proved to be a key element for his future designs. That is mixing elements of the old world and drawing them onto a modern canvas. This was the printing of Persian motifs and stamps onto stretched canvases and drawing around them. But soon Nima found the canvas of an artist stretched around a frame is limiting for him, since he did not have the patience of waiting for someone to allow him a show at an art gallery. This was the cause for the return to an old hobby, print and draw onto T-shirts and wear them to elite parties, similar to what was done in Tehran, but instead it was in New York City the fashion hub of North America.
By expanding on that same idea by 2004 a production team was put together and the first series of NIMANY T-shirts were produced. This process included hand picking the garments at various stores and vintage shops, opening and re-stitching the cuts, dying the colors through a chemical process and silk screening quotes of Persian poets such as Hafez and Rumi. By stacking poems and graphics on top of each other, new gripping patterns were created; patterns that did not state any particular literal message, rather displaying the beauty of Persian typography on a garment. This first line sold out immediately and was a motivating factor for Nima to design new styles.
Today Nima and his team are involved with every aspect of production that a piece of garment goes through, and they maintain an m.o that is important to them, which is to keep each garment individual, thus the owner of each work holds one unique piece. Today celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Nicky Hilton, Jim Carrey, Pras of Fugees and Kevin Spacey wear these T-Shirts and major publications including Vogue, Maxim, Washington Times have written about NIMANY.

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