An eminent name in South Africa’s fashion fraternity, Tasleem Bulbulia explores a gamut of elements through her designs. Her outfits are a reflection of the things that surround her; particularly culture, faith and community. Tasleem’s latest venture, Bulbulia Threads, introduces modest wear for women across the globe who want to express themselves through elegant and sophisticated designs. In a conversation with the stellar designer, much was learned about the evolution of fashion, runways and trends that need to be kept at bay.
Fashion in the age of diversity
Tasleem describes fashion as ‘fresh, expressive and disposable.’ “Fashion is no longer for the runways, nor is it specific trends that we all need to follow,” she says. She also adds that fashion is as diverse as the audience. With social media giving an unedited, non-curated point of view from different sources, fashion is more accessible now than ever before. “I do what I like and it is important that the designs I present are wearable and versatile. While it is important to be aware of the trends, it’s also key to have your own unique sense of style. I do not follow trends or dwell over what’s happening on the European runways,” she explains.
On fashion weeks and modest wear
Having been a mainstream designer for many years, Tasleem showcased at national fashion weeks throughout her career. “I took a 6-year break from showcasing and then decided to launch my new modest brand at a national Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in August 2016. The collection was very well received. Since then, I’ve showcased at Asia Islamic Fashion Week in Malaysia and was surprised at how supportive and welcoming the reception was,” she shares. Showcasing at Torino Fashion Week was quite daunting for Tasleem as she was one of 30 International designers showcasing modest wear to a mainstream audience. “I was overwhelmed by the positive reviews, even winning an award,” she claims.
The importance of street style
“I like to be able to wear my clothes irrespective of the occasion and therefore combine street elements in everything that I do,” she elaborates. In addition to that, she spends a lot of time designing garments for her bespoke clients for weddings and special occasions. So when she does her collections, she does clothes that are functional and beautiful at the same time.
Modest fashion in the modern age
“I had a very commercial brand in a local chain in South Africa where I had to constantly commercialise my designs for the consumer. With the necessary adjustments, my label will serve both mainstream audience as well as modest dressers,” she says.
Three fashion staples that complete her wardrobe
My denim harems, hi-lo peace tunic and trainers.
Three overrated trends that need to be chucked out
The 80’s mom jeans, jeggings / leggings as outer wear and ripped jeans.
Photographs from Tasleem Bulbulia