Couture designer Hajar Gala's journey from Azerbaijan to Australia to Paris Fashion Week – ABC Online

Hajar holding up a pink dressd.

Seeing your designs take centre stage on the prestigious Paris Fashion Week is the epitome of profession satisfaction for a excessive-finish designer — however for Canberran Hajar Gala, it additionally marked an enormous private feat.

In opposition to her mother and father' needs, Ms Gala took on a profession as a younger grownup that she was pressured to abandon simply as her lifelong dream appeared on the horizon.

However persistence paid off and after beginning from scratch a second time, she made it to the world stage final month.

Reflecting on her turbulent journey, Ms Gala traces it again to her childhood in Azerbaijan, the place she could be roused on for reworking curtains into Barbie Doll attire.

As she excelled academically all through her college years, her household inspired her to research drugs.

"I feel I did disappoint my dad a bit as a result of I had the potential to turn out to be a health care provider," she stated.

"However I used to be simply actually drawn to trend and my purpose was couture from day one."

Close up of one of Hajar Gala's dresses

After Ms Gala educated on the Worldwide Fashion Academy in Europe, her household migrated to Australia.

So, she took a danger and established her personal model in Sydney.

Earlier than lengthy her designs have been catching the eyes of worldwide designers and her dream of showcasing them in Paris — the birthplace of high fashion — appeared in attain.

However household points pressured her to abandon the model.

"I simply got here again from Florence, and I used to be getting approached by all these magazines, however I had to give all of it up," she stated.

"It was due to various unlucky and really private occasions."

She clearly remembers disconnecting her telephone on the night time she shut down the store.

Hajar Gala holding dress in studio by window

"It was robust, as a result of I used to be practically there," she stated.

Deciding to transfer to Canberra for a contemporary begin, Ms Gala was unable to relaunch her model for one more decade - however she by no means stopped stitching.

"I'd sit at dwelling and gown Canberra brides at any time when I may," she stated.

Ultimately she gained sufficient help to open one other couture retailer and launch her model, De Challie.

Simply two years later she was invited to exhibit not one, however two reveals on the 2017 Paris Fashion Week this October.

Whereas deeply ecstatic concerning the honour, which has been awarded to few Australian designers and none from Canberra to her information, she had simply two months to put together.

Hajar Gala holding dress in cabinet in her fashion studio

"I stated 'oh my god, we're not going to make it'."

However after many sleepless nights spent working in her studio, she did.

Standing backstage on the Renaissance Resort in Paris and sending her fashions off, every wrapped in 200 hours of her exhausting work, was an indescribable second.

"I had tears in my eyes," she stated.

"This was Paris Fashion Week — often called the house of couture and trend internationally — the place it began. It was the one.

"I would felt like I would caught up with all of the misplaced time."

Ms Gala believes its her potential to painting her personal story by her creations that makes them distinctive.

Whereas gaining inspiration from basic designers and following the fundamental rules of high fashion, she additionally combines the Azerbaijan model she admired rising up with trendy developments.

Model wearing Hajar's black gown with flluted skirt

"Azerbaijan costumes are very very similar to this 50s silhouette, sturdy-fitted waist with voluminous skirts," she stated.

"They usually've at all times been by dream. I at all times wished to put on one after I was a younger lady, with all these hand embroidery and beading; belts with numerous jewels."

She stated she wouldn't have made it with out help from the Canberra neighborhood.

"I bear in mind after I first opened this store, this younger lady noticed my pictures and stated 'oh you copy couture?'

"And I stated 'no, they're my designs'.

"However whereas there was not a lot couture in Canberra, I knew I had to make it on this metropolis that had turn out to be my dwelling.

"Now, I'm proud."

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Couture designer Hajar Gala's journey from Azerbaijan to Australia to Paris Fashion Week - ABC Online