Fashion Spotlight: Womenswear Designer Mahsa Gharahgozli

Wear Mahsa

Photos by Demetrius Philip

When was the first time you noticed that fashion was something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?

I discovered that fashion is something an individual creates the first time I created a piece of art for my sister. It made me realize that fashion is an art form and there’s so much more effort that goes into it than what you see when you’re in a store buying items.

What made you want to pursue design vocationally as opposed to it just being a hobby?

As a child growing up, I developed a love for drawing and painting that would later help shape my career in fashion design. While studying graphic design, I spent my time outside of class creating custom made to measure garments for my friends and family. In another life-changing move, I had the opportunity to move to San Francisco to pursue a career in fashion design.

What was your training in design? 

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design at University of Nicosia in Nicosia, Cyprus and a Master’s of Fine Art in Fashion Design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

There’s a lot of competition out there. How do you separate yourself from the pack? 

I spent years searching for the perfect pair of pants, and then finally I designed them myself. I call them magic pants because when a woman puts them on, she instantly looks fantastic! Starting with one perfect pair of black pants, I achieved my dream of launching a fashion career and much more.


Photos by Demetrius Philip

From season to season, how do you keep yourself from burning out?

I think outlining a list of priorities and staying focused on them every day is one of the keys to avoiding burn out on the job. Keeping my focus on what I need to do to accomplish my goals and staying healthy through exercise and good eating habits gives me more energy and helps me channel my brainpower more efficiently. It also helps me to deal more effectively with stress and to maintain a positive self-image. I also try to keep expanding my knowledge and find new sources of inspiration through reading and scheduling free time to try new things and meet new people. All of these habits help to inspire me and allow me to be more creative and organized.

The internet has changed the fashion industry in numerous ways. How have you utilized it and social media to get your work and your brand to a larger audience?

For me, using social media successfully for business comes down to being creative and having the opportunity to get personal and engage with my customers. Although it’s sometimes challenging to keep up with so many social media platforms, I do feel it’s important as people often rely on social media when making online purchases. I use social media as a tool to stay current on what competitive brands are doing and also to show my customers a more personal side of myself. It’s also a powerful way to showcase my latest designs through great images.

Fashion blogs and style bloggers are front row at Fashion Week, something that didn’t happen ten years ago. Ten years from now, what do you hope the fashion industry looks like/is headed?

My biggest wish for the fashion industry is for there to be more optimism about the future. It would be wonderful if there was more support for new designers who are striving to establish themselves and encouragement of their creativity and new ideas.

I hope that shopping becomes more about the journey and experience and less about the buying process for customers. I hope the desire for fast fashion declines and people return to valuing craftsmanship.

Wear Mahsa

Photos by Demetrius Philip

Who is your dream person/celebrity/public figure you’d love to design for?

My dream celebrities to design for are Jessica Alba, Giuliana Rancic, and Tyra Banks. These women are talented, successful, innovative businesswomen who have inspired me throughout out my life and career.

What was it like the first time you saw someone wearing your designs in real life? 

It felt so great to see my creations come to life on the fit models and observe them wearing my final garments during the photoshoot, but the exhilaration of seeing my designs on a customer for the first time was just so wonderful it’s hard to describe. When I saw my customer wearing the Magic pants and Shay top I designed, I could not stop staring at her. I was filled with pure happiness and a burst of confidence in myself and my potential to succeed as a designer. It was at that moment that my passion for pursuing my career as a fashion designer truly ignited and I knew it would be a lifelong ambition.

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