Sunday, October 8th 2017
There’s a tipping point, always. Where a trajectory moving forward organically and effortlessly, can be sabotaged by the allure of excess. The seduction of more. There a fine line between a pure, inimitable beauty that stems from a love of creating, and blandness that spills from work consumed by commercialism. A line Naeem Khan walks with grace.
Backstage, engulfed by racks of ornate beading and artful silhouettes, Naeem candidly shares what separates his work. How, in a sea of sameness that can often be NY Bridal Week, he keeps evolving. Elevating. Bending what we know as bridal, every single season.
And the answer - it’s passion. Choosing life and creativity first, business second. Putting art before advertising. Making sure the reason you started in the first place, remains at the heart of what you do, never dulled by the stresses that come with taking on more than we need to. But when it comes to business and career, it’s something we don’t check in with often. We almost blindly follow those logical next steps. We reach for growth because we can, without considering where on that scale brings us greatest personal happiness. That magic space that is the very alchemy for beautiful creative work - our own personal imprint.
And at that tipping point of success, it takes boldness to follow the other path - the illogical, messier, and sometimes less profitable one, that makes sense to nobody but you. To recognize that our individual pillars of success differ from person to person, and they’re not always the ones society celebrates and encourages. But for Naeem, it’s crystal clear. Success for him is about personal happiness that flows from creativity. A pillar he’s built his entire career around, making sure nothing interferes with his love of making art, for arts sake.
Money isn’t a motivator. He couldn’t care less about industry trends. He’s never bothered with market research. He’s kept his team at a small size and free from hierarchy (we’ve seen him backstage each season getting his hands dirty, working tirelessly like every other seamstress fussing over last minute details). For Naeem it’s about teamwork, slow living, and pursuing passions outside of work (one of which he says is cooking, finding creativity in preparting a meal for his team of 14 every day… boss of the century!).
Not allured by the temptation of ‘more’ just because it’s right there in front of him, acutely aware of how much is just enough, Naeem’s created a beautiful, comfortable life, rich in diversity. And the happiness that spills from that balance is the tonic for his work - designs that bowl you over with their beauty. Pieces that flicker with an unpredictable magic. The kind that spark something inside you. And remind you why you started.
See our coverage of the Naeem Khan Fall 2018 runway show on The LANE Style Guide.