FAST 2022: Ishmael Jasmin discusses the design process behind a streetwear-inspired collection

Starting from a simple shirt, Ishmael Jasmin sews streetwear.

After receiving a sewing machine from his mother eight years ago, the fourth-year psychology student says his first foray into fashion resulted in an unattractive top and caused him to walk away from design for five years. After high school, Jasmin was reintroduced to sewing through simple alterations that he says motivated him to return to the craft, and he was further inspired to design by YouTube videos featuring custom designs. Making his Fashion and Student Trends runway debut at UCLA on Friday, he said his streetwear-inspired collection was infused with elements ranging from stylistic influences from his Los Angeles upbringing to signature Japanese fashion silhouettes and fabrics. .

“I want them (the public) to see that streetwear can be mixed with a lot of different styles,” Jasmin said. “I never want to be locked in as a designer…because I feel like I can design anything.”

Although Jasmin said her design process varies from piece to piece, many of her garments start at the fabric store or with second-hand materials. For one piece in the collection – the American Gothic Jacket – Jasmin said she found her eponymous textile buried under other skeins of fabric after an unsuccessful shopping spree. The roll of fabric was an unconventional woven texture, and he said the addition of American Gothic paint and bold proclamations like “Time is Now” added to its eye-catching nature.

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For another jacket, the Black Inferno jacket, Jasmin said she discovered the garment’s focal point — criss-crossing strips of red fabric across the front — at another fabric store in downtown Los Angeles. Although there was a full bolt, he said he chose to buy half a yard, as he intended to combine it with some black fabric he already had in excess. After the American Gothic jacket, Jasmin said he hoped to refine the details, so he created a union of textiles in a criss-cross pattern that wraps around the jacket.

“People have told me that (my process) is all over the place,” Jasmin said. “I always source fabrics, save money, go downtown – and I may not be buying fabric then, but I’m always on the lookout for new fabrics and ways to use what I bought.”

Regardless of the design process, Jasmin said he went into model selection with the idea that he would choose models who shared his stature since he only had experience designing clothes. to his size. Once he realized that goal was unrealistic, he said he turned to choosing models who seemed to enjoy walking the runway, instead of focusing on the intricacies of walking. of each individual. As a model for Jasmin’s line, second-year computational math student Ben Cloutier said he auditioned with an affinity for the show’s all-student-designed lookbook and was selected. by Jasmin through FAST’s model auditions and recalls process.

Although he also walks for other designers, Cloutier said Jasmin’s clothes are comparatively closest to the composition of his personal wardrobe, which has made him feel more comfortable in his set of raised jeans and gray hoodie. He said the walk he planned to perform was confident and relaxed, with clean poses that exuded masculinity. Although the show itself is still going through some tweaks, Cloutier said he got to see Jasmin sew her outfit during their initial fitting at the UCLA MakerSpace — an exciting experience because of the personalized aspect of the creation.

“It was really cool to watch him lay out the fabrics and sew,” Cloutier said. “I’ve never had an experience where someone made clothes especially for me.”

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As Jasmin’s high school friend and neighbor, Ryan Toovi said he was able to act as a sounding board for Jasmin and felt intimately familiar with her design process outside of the realm of modelization. Professionalism is at the forefront, and he said Jasmin is detail-oriented to the point of being hard on himself – but the results are clothes that consistently showcase his best efforts.

However, setting aside time to design each piece to the best of one’s ability is no easy task, Jasmin said. Balancing design and a degree, he says he often works nights and stays awake until he feels he’s been productive enough. As a psychology student, Jasmin said he plans to work in the field focusing on mental health, but also wants to dabble in fashion on the side, as he sees it as a passion for fashion. a lifetime. However, due to his separate professional field, he said he hopes to use FAST to present his pieces at the end of the design process, which is his favorite part.

“It may be the only time I’m able to do a fashion show,” Jasmin said. “This collection is more for me to express myself and show what I’ve learned over the past two years, and then people can interpret it however they want.”

Abdul J. Gaspar