ZARAMIA AVA is an independent fashion label established by BA (Hons) Fashion alumna ZaraMia. Established shortly after her graduation in 2013, ZaraMia aimed to create an ethical, sustainable, gender neutral luxury brand; “for the fashion conscious with a conscience”.

ZARAMIA AVA was showcased at the Fashion in Leeds show as part of Leeds International Festival, 2017, and was recently featured in an episode of BBC 1’s ‘The Apprentice’. With things set to go international this year, we caught up with ZaraMia to find out more about her time at the University, and where she’s heading next.

Can you tell us about your time studying at Leeds Arts University?

Leeds Arts University is a community of inspiration that cultivates creative potential. I was able to use all the areas of the University to help my work progress. From doing my own screen printing in the textiles department to making collections in the fashion & jewellery department, designing on the computer to taking photos in the photography studio whilst collaborating with creatives, I also met some lifelong friends.

We learnt the basics of business planning through innovative projects which helped me start up my own business, and I learnt a lot of very useful skills such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop which has helped me do graphics, prints, illustrations and CAD flat drawings.

I was really passionate about Leeds Arts University. I worked my way up from an Art & Design BTEC, to a National Diploma in Fashion, to a BA (Hons) Fashion degree, graduating with a first class honours. I studied at Leeds Arts University 6 years in total!

Do you have any memories of specific projects you worked on that were significant for you?

The variety of projects I worked on gave me time to express my own creativity through draping, moulage on the stand and pattern cutting. I developed this into my own style which today is minimalistic functional clothing at its finest, contrasting structured shapes with draping. This helped when working on projects for brands and different markets, as you had to adhere to their style vision and price point whilst creating your own designs.

Working towards creating a collection in my final year has really influenced the path I have taken; my ‘In Pieces’ graduate collection was the beginning of the multi-purpose and versatile clothing I design today. Oh, and I still reminisce about the extensive library collection!

Tell us more about your label ZARAMIA AVA?

I launched the business as soon as I graduated in 2013. The ethos of the brand is provide sustainable luxury, produced with zero waste. Any fabric waste gets recycled and reused. Designing is done with zero waste in mind; pattern cutting and fabric cutting is done to eliminate the amount of waste.

The majority of the garments are produced in the UK, and the brand always uses ethical factories, business and freelances. Where possible we produce or outsource handmade products using traditional skills, and aim to use organic and biodegradable fabrics.

Our garments are designed to be timeless, most of them are lined to increase durability. They are season-less made to be worn any time of year, produced with quality, and made to last. They are designed to be gender neutral; to be worn by anyone, and to be as versatile as possible; with each garment designed to be worn in a variety of ways.

Any career highlights to date?

In November 2017 ZARAMIA AVA was one of the chosen designers to participate in BBC1’s The Apprentice, series 13, episode 10 The Fashion Task. In the same year we were also featured in print and online fashion press including: No Serial Number, The Sustainable Edit and Amplified.

2016 was the year the brand was developed into a fully sustainable business. This was the best move we’ve made as a brand; reinforcing our values has helped us refine our consumer market and boost our inspirations and marketing techniques.

What does the future hold? Any exciting developments in the pipeline?

I am travelling to Japan this year for inspiration and to make contacts, which will be a life changing experience. This year I’m hoping to sell ZARAMIA AVA garments worldwide, both online and in independent boutiques.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to students studying Fashion?

Always think about the ethics, sustainability or waste from the very beginning in design process.