The doors to the new salon for Nardos Design officially opened to the public on May 13, 2016. Located in the heart of Victory Park, next to the W Residences, Chad Rookstool Salon, and two doors down from the trendy restaurant Kenichi, it has become a source of inspiration for Nardos' creations. The contemporary architecture and bustling energy of the location have all contributed to formulating the designer's vision of a modern woman. With an impeccable eye for glamour and sophistication designer Nardos Imam looks forward to continuing with her legacy of introducing the art of custom design to her clients. Whether it is a bride dreaming of a signature or event gown for her wedding day or a glamorous socialite wanting to make a grand entrance at a gala, she leads the industry designing high-end, one-of-a-kind couture bridal gowns, evening wear, and cocktail wear.
Growing up in the war-torn country of Eritrea, a small country of 4.6 million in northeast Africa, Nardos had limited exposure to fashion during her childhood. This did not deter her from her destiny but only made her more curious about an industry that she would go on to master. Gaining knowledge from what was accessible to her, she would look through her mother's old Vogue pattern books looking for inspiration for the designs she created using the scraps from her mother's work room. Already at an early age she dreamt about becoming a fashion designer.
Graduating from high school, Nardos decided to move to the United States to attend college, where she would pursue a medical career as a nurse. After taking several classes, it wasn't long before she realized that her heart belonged to the fashion industry. Taking a leap of faith, at the age of 25 Nardos enrolled in El Centro College in Dallas so that she could develop her skills in costume design. Immersing herself into her courses, she quickly found her niche and developed a strong passion for designing wedding gowns.
Nardos' first job out of school was as an In-House Designer at Richard Brooks. She then went on to secure a job with the prestigious retailer, Stanley Korshak in Bridal Alterations. Wearing her own creations to work, her incredible talent for design was soon discovered and cultivated into what would end up as her first real opportunity to create custom couture bridal and evening wear designs for clients.
Her love of detail combined with the bride's sense of fashion and personality compelled Nardos' vision to design a unique look catered to each bride forming her perfect dream dress. Nardos handcrafts each detail of her gowns bringing them to life, by adding select high-end fabrics, custom beadwork and jewels hand-selected from around the world. In her evening and cocktail collections, her love of print and color boldly immerses and tempts the senses with rich palettes and sensuous fabrics.
Wanting her designs to be accessible to every woman, Nardos hopes to create an affordable, ready-to-wear collection of wedding gowns in the future that she envisions will introduce the exclusivity of couture to brides without access to high-end designs. "You can put any girl in a wedding gown and she's going to look beautiful. But to give the bride that extra boost of confidence, you have to bring her idea for the perfect gown to life," Nardos says. "That's the beauty of custom."
Never forgetting her childhood and its richly woven tapestry of lofty experiences, Nardos realizes the importance of dreams and whole-heartedly believes that what is envisioned and dreamt is inspired by a higher power and with the simplistic beauty in which her mind designs, it is no wonder that her creations are none other than divine.
Haute Living had an opportunity to interview Nardos Imam to discover what some of her favorites are around a city where she draws so much of her inspiration.
How did your career begin? I was always disappearing into my mother's tailoring studio as a child. I would spend hours there,cutting scraps with her scissors and looking at vintage Vogue magazines. Everything I know about sketching, fitting, fabric selection, and sewing I learned first in Eritrea, with my mother as my teacher. When I came to this country I had no idea what it meant to be a fashion designer. I just knew that I wanted to make beautiful things, and to make a career of that if I could. Going to school required many sacrifices, but with the help of God I graduated. Today, design is so much more than my job. It is my excitement, my passion; the dream God put in my heart come to life. The cut of scissors and the hum of sewing machines—this is music for me, the song I could listen to all day long.
What is behind the inspiration of your gowns? There is an array of creativity of where my inspiration came from for my gowns. I was inspired by vibrant colors, beautiful colored print and handprinted fabrics that look like art.
Who is your mentor in design? My clients inspire me to design. I believe that strength, passion, and future inspiration come from the Lord and creates who you are. What you envision and how you dream comes from above.
If you were to do a collection in collaboration with another designer, who would it be? I would collaborate with Ellie Saab. The femininity and how elaborate his gowns are speak to me.
How has Nardos evolved since its inception? The road to becoming an independent fashion designer and label has not been without its obstacles. Happily, the brand that has since emerged, Nardos Design, is all the more precious to our team because of our unique journey. We feel blessed to be able to design and create on behalf of our clients once again, and are so grateful for the support our friends have shown us as we've worked to bring this new dream to life.
Describe your latest collection? What was the inspiration behind the collection? Our collection reflects femininity and dynamism these are the key words that describe a collection which makes the exaltation of the female figure its primary objective. An attention to detail carried thoroughly with embroidery, impeccable draping, and precious hand painted fabric, defines a sensuality that speaks for itself. A result of the skillful use of handmade crystal embroidery, which outlines the body, along with sharp lines that trace abstract trails on our couture gowns and cocktail collection. Bright colors to define figures in constant motion.
Who is the perfect Nardos Design woman? I am a mom, sister, friend, daughter, wife, which encompasses every perfect woman for Nardos Design.
What's in the future for Nardos Design? Our future is to become an international brand. Also, to have a ready-to-wear line accessible to every woman/bride.
Define fashion? Fashion to me can be a trend or style, a piece of art and creativity. I dream and live for fashion. It is all encompassing in my life.
What has influenced your designs the most? Textiles and following fashion trends influence my designs. There is no limit to what we can do in the fashion world. My brides really influence my designs that are produced.
What advice would you give aspiring fashion designers? I would tell them to follow and pursue your dream. Have patience and faith in what you do. But, most importantly surround yourself with good people.
What is your favorite material to work with? I love to work with natural fibers. However, I have many other materials I like to work with, like structured materials, lace, custom beading, etc. I do not really have a favorite.
Will you always do bridal? I will always have a bridal line and customer couture gowns. In the future want to create a more accessible bridal line and designing a ready-to-wear line accessible to my clientele.
I had the opportunity to wear one of your beautiful gowns for the Dallas Art Ball. Could you tell me the inspiration behind the gown and color choice? My eyes were in love with this fuchsia color. Then, I picked the fabric to create the collection and this ball gown was made. It was created with a lot of love and architectural designs.
Your favorite designer? My favorite designer is Chanel. Her story inspires me and is relatable to me. I love her classy, elegant designs. She is all around a great designer!
Where were you born: Eritrea
How long have lived in Dallas: 19 years
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Favorite Restaurant: Cafe Pacific
Best dessert: Carrot cake
Best Sunday brunch: Bistro 31
Best place for a power business meeting: Neiman's Zodiac Room
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Mansion
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: I don't shop a lot. I make my own clothes. But, I do love shopping for Tom Ford shoes.
Favorite Cultural Event: Traditional wedding from my culture.
Favorite Cultural Institution: Going to my church.
Best Steakhouse: Nick & Sam's
Best Museum/Exhibit: Dallas Museum of Art
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