Introducing: Ramzi Musa
Designer Profile: Ramzi Musa
‘Garments are an interesting way of presenting art’- Ramzi Musa
It’s rare that you hear Cinderella fashion stories. Like the one about the designer who created his capsule collection for one of the UK’s biggest e-tailers before he’d even completed his degree. Step forward Ramzi Musa, 21 year old wonderkid artiste and 3rd year Fine Art student at Leeds University. Musa’s first collaborative SS11 collection with Browns Focus hit stores in February and his digitally-inspired designs have been getting fashionistas in a right old spin since. We sat down with the man himself to chat about not studying fashion, graphic novels and loving H&M…
Hi Ramzi, so tell us where you’re from and what you study?
I’m from Kent and am currently studying Fine Art at Leeds. I studied art throughout school, despite many people advising me against it. I’m also really interested in history and psychology, which is reflected in the Freudian-inspired prints I’m currently working on. Art has always been my passion, though. I immersed myself in it from a young age, selling artwork and gaining knowledge on what people look for. I started viewing it in an unusual way, especially under the teachings of Nick Gorman who I credit for my understanding of the use of colour.
How did the collaboration with Browns Focus happen?
To make money during my first year I started making portraits of people through Facebook. I wanted to create the opposite of the idea of complementing the subject. At the time I was reading a lot of graphic novels like ‘Watchmen’. I hated the idea of the traditional portrait, so they weren’t meant to be flattering; quite the opposite! Browns saw them and it went from there. Then I started making T-shirt designs and the collection progressed naturally. To me, garments are an interesting way of presenting art. You can put the same image on a garment and in a gallery and it can have a completely different effect. The prints were taken from paintings, water colours and sketches – nothing was completely digital.
Tell us about the collection:
My portrait ‘You want flowers, you got flowers, now eat it’ inspired the collection. It’s fun, vibrant, colourful and brash. In some ways the brashness comes from the fact that I’m a guy making a woman’s collection, which is reflected in some of the heavy-handed brush strokes for example. My favourite pieces are those in leopard print; when I was doing it I didn’t labour over it and the pattern works really well, especially on the scarves.
What inspires you?
People who have the balls to do something new, something that not everyone will like. In terms of design I’m usually inspired by looking closer at things that seem like mundane objects – I tend to always look at things differently.
Is there anyone else you’d like to work with?
I’d like to work with H&M. I like that their clothes aren’t ridiculously expensive. I also love the accessibility of their pieces and the fact that anyone can wear them.
Who is the Ramzi Musa woman?
Someone who is fun, bubbly and confident, but not arrogant. Someone who is young at heart and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s not what you mean to do that matters, it’s what you actually do.
Any advice for up and coming designers?
Never shy away from opportunities to show and promote your work, and no matter what reactions you receive, always keep trying. Some people may have thought I was being a show-off or arrogant for being passionate and confident in my work, but it paid off!
What’s next for you?
I’d love to gain more knowledge on the design side of things and eventually start my own label. I’d also love to design menswear, focusing especially on areas where print works well, such as linings, cravats and scarves.
Words: Jacqueline Anyanwu
Images: Ramzi Musa Art