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The Aje Report

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Creative Consultant and Fashion Designer
Nausheen Shah

Nausheen Shah is a limitless creative, casting her discerning eye over the global fashion landscape as a stylist, creative consultant, fashion designer and the latest Aje Insider. Throughout her career and multi-faceted expertises, Nausheen has placed trust in the universe to guide her through each creative revolution.


Captured on location from her new home of Los Angeles, Nausheen’s inimitable style juxtaposes feminine nonchalance with a masculine edge; encapsulating the timelessness of Reimagination and the effortless cool of a woman who knows herself and her journey.


Meet Nausheen Shah, this season's latest Reimagination muse. Read on to discover Nausheen's insightful career advice for navigating uncertainty in a new world and a glimpse at her formidable style.

Explorative notions of rebirth are found in unconventional expressions of the Aje DNA in the Fall 21 Reimagination collection. In your career journey that can only be defined as progressive, from studying Pre-medicine at university, serving as a Paralegal to then pursuing a career in fashion and the arts, how did you reflect upon your past experiences to decide where you wanted to grow in the future?

 

Life is a journey indeed. I think it is incredibly important to allow ourselves the freedom of exploration in our careers and soul development. Society often pressures individuals to choose one path and stick to it even if it doesn’t fulfil our constant need for growth. Some may say you are even lost if you divert, but I look at it as a luxury to have worked in so many fields. To this day, I utilise all my experiences and they have interestingly enough affected other careers pathways. Everything happens for a reason. I have realised it is essential to trust the universe and follow its signs. It may not make sense at first, but eventually it does.

Is there a monumental career moment in your past which you wish you could relive and experience again? Share with us why this is so significant to you.

 

While I am so grateful for all the pivotal moments in my career, I would rather look forward to the next moments. The new experiences are what give me the greatest highs. But, if I were to reflect on one of my greatest lessons, it would be when I started working for Zac Posen after I graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology in 2007. It was incredibly difficult to find a high-end designer position out of school with no real design experience besides internships.


At the time, I was set on working for Zac, but no design positions were available. And while I was offered paid jobs at other bridge designer companies, none of them seemed to fulfil me. So I took an unpaid internship at Zac and hoped if I showed them what I was capable of, they would hire me eventually. It was a huge risk considering I had student loans to pay off and my bank account was null.


After two months at the company, they hired me to do a freelance project. One month later, they hired me as their Collection Director. I always imagined I would need at least five to ten years of design experience before I would be placed in such an elevated position, but it goes to show you that when you believe in something, the universe will take you where you are meant to be.
Be humble and look beyond traditional career pathways.

 

“Some may say you are even lost if you divert, but I look at it as a luxury to have worked in so many fields.”

Where did you find your discerning eye for detail?


I wouldn’t say it's necessarily something that you find, but something that develops with time. My eye is constantly evolving. I am sure parts of it are inherited. Other parts come through life experiences of travel, art, food and people. When I see something I like, I naturally incorporate it into my work and lifestyle. I don’t even realise I am doing it half the time.

 

What are your treasured sources of inspiration when styling, writing editorials and creative consulting for a brand?


I believe the base begins with surrounding myself with individuals who inspire and uplift me. From there anything can inspire me. I personally am always on the hunt for discovery whether it be a new designer or a vintage one-of-a-kind piece. While travel, art, beautifully curated dishes, architecture, photography are standard sources, I always try to keep my eyes open. It could be a rock on the street, my nieces’ sketches, a new breed of insects on my plants. The sources are limitless.

“When I see something I like, I naturally incorporate it into my work and lifestyle. I don’t even realise I am doing it half the time.”

For your celebrated Monica Sordo jewellery collaboration, what artistic approach did you take when designing?


Monica is an incredibly talented and inspiring jewellery designer. We both appreciate the simplicity of sculptural, geometric artwork and wanted to design bold, colourful shapes which were lacking in the market. We were inspired by a range of artists including Barbara Hepworth, Paolo Scheggi, László Moholy-Nagy, Constatin Brancusi and Victor Vasarely. Each EarSculpture we developed was meant to be a piece of art in itself, hence why we created limited collections and numbered each pair.

 

How has your Persian, Pakistani heritage influenced your creative eye?


I was born and raised in a small town in Wisconsin, but visited Pakistan often growing up. The culture is so rich in colour, cuisine, music, dance and immaculately embellished clothing. Weddings also play a big part in Pakistani culture. Everyone dresses up like royalty with layers upon layers of jewellery. My creative eye is definitely a mix of the two lands, sliding on a gradient scale between do-it-yourself tomboy and heavily adorned goddess. It can be quite the juxtaposition.

 

"My creative eye is definitely a mix of the two lands, sliding on a gradient scale between do-it-yourself tomboy and heavily adorned goddess. It can be quite the juxtaposition."

At what moments in your life are you the most fulfilled?


I am most fulfilled when I have an idea and I see it come to fruition. I am a creator at heart. Whether it’s designing a collection, styling a look, preparing a dish, building a closet, writing an article, painting, choreographing a dance or laying out interiors, I always need to be creating. It’s an inexplicable force out of my control.

 

How important is the concept of collaboration to you when conceiving an editorial idea? Do you find benefits of working alone, rather than working together with a team at times?


There are benefits to both. If you have a vision, I believe it’s important to create it and release it from your system. On the other hand, collaborations can take your work and ideas to a place you never even imagined. There is a gift in that. Controlling everything can sometimes limit you. Everyone has gifts. When mixed properly you can create a whole new world of magic.

Is there a place in the world which encapsulates your personality most?


I am the type of person that constantly needs change which means I myself am constantly morphing. I need different places at different times. There is not one place that encapsulates me, but generally when I am on a body of water whether it is the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean or even Lake Michigan, I feel I am brought back to my core.

 

What does the future look like for you? Are there any upcoming projects that you are excited about?

 

I recently made another transition moving to Los Angeles after spending the last 15 years in New York. I plan on taking my styling to another level here and launching a new project. Unfortunately, I cannot say too much but I am looking forward to this new chapter.

 

Aje Insider: Nausheen Shah

Photographer: Vicen Akina

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