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sumaiyah akhtar

Sumaiyah Akhtar is a graduate of the prestigious Parsons The New School for Design based in New York City. She was born and raised in the Middle East and moved to New York City in 2009 to pursue her Bachelor’s degree. As a designer, she is constantly fascinated by the idea of exploring contrasting relationships between ideals such as rigidity and fluidity, linear and curvilinear and applying these relationships to the human body and its interaction with time and surroundings. Her work holds a strong, graphic, sensibility coupled with architectural elements with an elegant and edgy aesthetic. The concept of her senior thesis collection titled Transitions was an exploration of a personal journey and the idea of constructing the ‘self’ through ones appearance. The inspiration came from the various cultures she had been immersed in. Being born and raised in the Middle East her whole life and then moving to New York allowed her to look at how people assimilate the different cultures they experience. The power in being able to personify tastes and interests, through the simple act of putting on a garment, is something that is often overlooked.

sumaiyah akhtar

It was the juxtaposition of these two vastly different cultures that fascinated her and prompted her to explore the idea of how we portray self-expression and how it manifests differently, in the East and West, based on the idea of covered versus uncovered. She went further to explore the concept of how one’s cumulative past experiences end up shaping their present-day identities. Each life experience is a metaphorical shadow of one’s multidimensional self. The link between the movement of shadows and the journey of life experiences, both of which are ephemeral in nature, became the primary source of her inspiration. She carried out an investigation on the movement of shadows, documenting their transformation through various phases. Using this as a foundation for her work, the collection manifested into the idea of layers, opacity, translucency, and angled lines creating a narrative of this journey.