London is a fashion frenzy at the moment with London Fashion Week taking place! AND joining us on #gossipstation is fashion model and designer Danish Wakeel who has very kindly taken some time out of his busy schedule to have a chinwag with us Alegre Ladies!
Danish thank you so much for joining us! It was fab attending your catwalk show last week – thank you so much for inviting us we are very appreciative! So, let’s get to it! Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself…
Hi everyone! I am a London based British Pakistan fashion model and fashion designer. I went to London College of fashion (LCF) for my BA in fashion design and later read my masters in fashion specialising in menswear from University of Hertfordshire. Prior to my fashion studies I have done a degree in aviation, BSC in Air transport operations from City University in London as my dream was to be a commercial pilot.
I am also current Mr. Commonwealth International 2014-2015 and was crowned Mr Commonwealth international last year in London after competing with contestants that travelled from 53 countries in the world. I have recently became very passionate about acting and unmaking intensive acting programmes in London from Met film school and Guildhall school of music and drama for over past 8 months.
Wow you are a busy bee! Do you get any time to sleep? Haha! So, what made you decide to go in to fashion?
It has purely been a decision of destiny as I never planned it. I come from a family of doctors, engineers & MBAs so academics take precedence over everything.
It’s quite a funny story of why I decided to go in to fashion! I was discovered in one of the West-end clubs in London to be a model by a journalist for a fashion show a few years ago. Immediately after that show I had requests pouring in and the next thing I could remember was walking the grand and glorified ramps for London fashion Weeks, Clothes Shows in Birmingham, Belfast etc.
I have modelled extensively throughout the UK prior and during the advent of my fashion design career, hence why I comprehend the craft so well. I studied fashion design and during my BA in fashion I decided to showcase a collection in London in 2010. The show received countless applauds by my audience. That’s how the ball started rolling - Showcasing a collection each season became a norm whilst I was still studying apart from modelling for various brands in London.
What an exciting journey you have had so far in your career! Modelling, designing – on top of a list of qualifications too! Can you tell us about your up and coming collection?
My capsule collection 'Ascendance' was showcased at the opening day of SS16 London Fashion Week which was held on September 18, 2015 .Through 'Ascendance' I created an enlightened bridge between faiths and cultures, particularly between Brazil and Pakistan, the latter being my ancestral home. The collection is a stylistic tribute to Brazil, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
We loved the show and the fact that you were inspired by bringing cultures together! Kate’s family are from Brazil so she was in her element! What was your inspiration behind it?
The Universalist theme of 'Ascendance' is inspired by the esoteric notion of ascending towards light or God. The premise of Ascendance's inspiration is that the common link between all true religions is a universal path that gradually leads people to attain a higher state of consciousness, whereby they overcome the conflicts and the sense of separation that springs from being double-minded. The link between all religions is the universal path which leads to a union with God. The only way to a peaceful coexistence between the world’s religions is to make an effort to promote this universal path to a higher state of consciousness or an 'ascendance' towards the light.
In addition I feel that there is a critical need for both international, national, and local agencies that promote Christian-Muslim-Jewish cooperation and understanding which at present are notable by their absence. I hope showcases like 'Ascendance' will help to raise consciousness and awareness about this issue.
Hopefully people will be able to feel your passion of this through your work! What is it that excites you about fashion?
To be able to see your rough sketch being transformed into a creation and being worn by a model and showcased at the glorified ramps of London fashion week and even showcased intentionally gives me enormous joy. I thoroughly enjoy the whole design process, especially the initial research process. I extensively rummage through the concepts at various art galleries, museums and read up a lot on the concept. Sometimes I travel to research a various place or concept which is the fulcrum of my concept.
The beauty of London is that one never knows what will happen next. For me, it is a city of opportunities and one that has given me my identity. I can never flee from this city. I owe London a lot for embracing me and giving me the refinement both academically and practically. I feel extremely enriched - London is my home as much Karachi is home my home.
We agree with you on that one! London is fab and there is so much on offer! So, for your catwalk show - we love that you decided to have kids walk the catwalk! Why did you decide to do this?
I have been wanting to produce a line for kids for quite some time. I feel children are the prime creation of God and what better time to fuse a few creations into the main collection than now for my 'Ascendance'. Children bring us pride and joy. They give us escapism from the mundane hectic lifestyles. We live in such a high tech and stressed out era hence why I feel they shouldn’t be avoided.
We love the fact that you have designed a kidswear line and feel very privileged to have attended the first ever preview of the collection! The kids looked adorable and did such a fab job on the runway! So, Apart from fashion, what other projects are you working on atm?
I’m currently being trained as a professional actor from the best film and drama schools in London (Met film school and Guildhall school of music and drama). I have been attending university every day for the past 8 months and am very soon to complete my training in acting. I am passionate to start an acting career and manage both fashion and acting career in juxtaposition.
Multi-tasker! We like it! After your incredible event last week – what did you do to celebrate?
For me I have no time to celebrate as I work around the clock. I haven't taken a holiday for the longest time due to my prior commitments with various companies in London. Post my show, I have attended most of the VIP invitations and other London fashion week shows invited by my fellow designers, local and international press and pr.
My show was on Friday 18 September, 2015 and from Monday 28th September I am back to film school. However, I am planning a big celebration for my team, models and our elated guests attended from London. My team worked very hard to make our show a huge success last week and deserve a celebration!
Yaaaay you must find time to celebrate! Especially, after how hard both yourself and your team worked! And last but not least, what are your hopes and aspirations for the brand?
My aspiration now after a firm establishment of the brand in London is to move outside of the UK. I am taking 'Danish Wakeel' to various countries such as Brazil, Pakistan, France Middle East and in the long term even the States. I have already started working on it and in due time I will be announcing about creating some international ripples outside of the United Kingdom. I aim to make Danish Wakeel, a global enterprise, Insh Allah.
Well Danish we wish you all the best! You’re a grafter and we are sure that all of your hard work will be recognised. Thank you so much for joining us and again for allowing us to join you at your catwalk show! We can’t wait for the next stage of Danish Wakeel!
AND don’t miss out on our exclusive chat with Danish on our YouTube page which was edited by Maddie Watts: