It’s hard to measure success, it’s such a subjective term. One man’s measure of success might be to become a self-made millionaire by the time he’s 30, whereas another’s might be just to get out of bed in the morning. Everyone has a different metric to work that out.
We don’t know how Osman Yousefzada, a British fashion designer from a Muslim background, measures his success. But it’s not unusual to see the likes of Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, Thandie Newton and Emma Watson rocking clothes from his label – Osman. When Beyoncé walked across the stage to receive her recent Grammy award, she was wearing an Osman jumpsuit.
Osman’s fascination with Islamic women’s fashion flourished early on in his childhood. It’s no secret that he’s taken a lot of inspiration from his roots as he often cites his mum as the source of his passion. She moved to Birmingham in the 70s, where she set up a popular dressmaking business catering for the local Asian community. “My mum is from a little village in the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Taliban heartland,” he explains. “She came to the UK as part of a small community that transplanted themselves in Birmingham.”
In a recent magazine interview, in Observer, he describes moments when women would “unravel their burkas when they came over and then there’d be this explosion of colour and gaudiness. I loved it – I thought they were ninjas.” At the age of 18, after acquiring a wealth of knowledge from watching his mum work, Osman left home, moved to London and decided to make a go at it in the uber-competitive fashion world. After making his debut at the 2008 London Fashion Week, he became an instant name.
“I’m honoured that my clothes have been worn by such high-profile people,” Osman told BirminghamLive last month. “The first celebrity to wear my clothes was Thandi Newton, she’s lovely and comes in for fittings.” So, now that celebs are walking around with what are essentially adverts for Osman’s products, he must be constantly rubbing shoulders with the stars, right? Maybe not: “My life is not as full of celebs and pina coladas by the pool as people might think,” he says. “I don’t always meet the celebs who wear my clothes, they often go through a stylist.”
“I’m a Brummie made good,” Osman added, which makes it pretty clear that he is remaining both grounded and true to his roots despite his great achievements in his chosen field.
To see some of Osman’s latest designs, head to his website.
Featured image credit: TheAsianAwards via YouTube