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Nima's Debut Collection Takes Saks By Storm
Lauren David Peden
December 14th, 2006 @ 1:42 PM - New York
Designers Proenza Schouler and Zac Posen have made the idea of launching a collection right out of school and finding overnight success a brass ring dream for many Seventh Avenue newbies.
But in reality, most recent fashion school grads are lucky to land a job as an entry level assistant to any designer who'll hire them, let alone have the chutzpah - and financing - to establish their own line just months after collecting a diploma.
In fact, among the hundreds of fashion design students who graduated from Parsons The New School For Design in May - which included many supremely talented young designers - only one has launched a line that's been picked up by a major retailer.
The line, called Nima, is the brainchild of 24-year-old Iranian-born charmer Nima Taherzadeh, and it debuted on the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue's New York flagship store earlier this month - just in time for the holiday and resort rush.
"Effortless, simple, functional, wearable and modern," is how Taherzadeh described the aesthetic of his collection via e-mail. The line is heavy on ladylike sheath dresses, crisp bow-front blouses, slim hip-slung trousers and cool cropped jackets - all of which come in a refined black/white/khaki color palette and feature subtle embellishments, from black patent trim on a white button-down to the high-shine fabric of a portrait collar coat to the sheer peek-a-boo panel that encircles the knees of a polished pencil skirt.
"These days, women look for effortless beauty," explained Taherzadeh. "My design philosophy is to make women feel elegant without trying too hard. While I use luxurious fabrics and rich details, such as metallic embroideries and leather trims, the collection maintains a modern edge and an easiness in the silhouettes that makes it ideal for today's fast-paced lifestyle."
The young fashion buck is clearly doing something right, says Saks' Fashion Market Director Colleen Sherin, who first saw Taherzadeh's work when she participated in the annual senior thesis panel at Parsons' last spring, which is when the graduating students present their final collections to a group of editors, buyers and fashion journalists for critical feedback.
"The sophistication of Nima's collection really grabbed my attention when I served on his Parsons' senior thesis panel," said Sherin from her office in midtown Manhattan. "He presented a well thought out collection, complete with accessories."
Although Taherzadeh was too late to attract buyers for his fall 2006 collection, as most had spent their fall budgets by the time May rolled around, Sherin was the first to snatch up the spring 2007 Nima collection, and she urged him to rush delivery so they could have it on the sales floor - in the store's Young Designer Sportswear department - right after Thanksgiving.
"We have already sold some of the dresses," said Sherin. And Saks is planning to advertise the collection in The New York Times in January and has invited the designer to do a personal in-store appearance that same month.
Pretty heady stuff for a guy who was still in school seven months ago.
"I'm so glad a department store like Saks believes in young talents," said Taherzadeh. "I think that now, more than ever, it is the right time to start new brands and businesses in fashion. At this point, I do everything myself, from creation to packing to shipping. It's a great responsibility, but I enjoy it and I'm learning a lot."
And who knows? By this time next year, fashion students who dream of one day launching their own line may be invoking the name of Nima Taherzadeh along with Proenza, Posen and co.