As part of Business News Wales’ Women in Business Series, we have interviewed fashion designer and business owner, Luna Amani. She talks to Tanya Lynch about her creative family history, juggling her hectic career with being a mum and she shares advice for those wanting a career in the fashion industry.
Who are you and who do work for?
My name is Luna Amani and I am a business owner, handbag designer, mother and much more.
I run my own design agency based in Cardiff. Where I run and operate my business activities. I head up a team of designers from my west Cardiff studio. And together we create design concepts for some of the key fashion players on the UK high street in partnership with a key factory in the far east.
I also design and develop my own name sake label from the same studio.
What is your role within the fashion industry?
In a commercial sense I would call myself an interpreter of trends. Our main customers want to offer their customers key fashion items at affordable prices and it is my role to come up and direct these concepts.
For my own label it’s really about creation and education. Creating bags that have a social conscious.
Why did you decide to work in fashion?
I was destined to work in fashion. My whole family is very creative. My mother is an artist my father a vintage children’s car maker, my brother an artist and my younger brother a musician. As well as three of my Persian aunties being tailors. I was influenced from an early age. To be honest I am the only one out of my immediate family that has made a good living from my art. We sometimes joke that I sold my soul to the devil. ;-).
How has the fashion industry changed over the past decade?
I think that a lot has changed, especially in Wales. There are designers working everywhere and the internet allows you to work from anywhere. I would like to help students stay in Wales and work for companies here and not leave to pursue jobs in the big smoke (unless they really want to do that). I think designers can reach an audience easier, which is fantastic. It’s not just about living in London. The world is a smaller places these days.
What challenges have you over come as a woman working within the fashion industry?
My main challenge has been to be able to stay in Wales with my family and work. I have had to work hard for that and be clever and make sure I made good contacts. It has helped being passionate about my job.
What has been the most exciting time in your career to date?
To be honest I am still filled with excitement when I see girls wearing bags I have designed on the high street. The novelty hasn’t work off yet. I also feel super excited about the future of my label and being able to help young women in Iran fulfil their dreams with the money generated by the sale of my bags.
What advice would you give anyone wishing to start their career in the fashion industry?
Find out what your good at and work hard at being the best at that you can be. Never burn your bridges with anyone and talk to as many people as possible. Stay true to yourself and who you want to be. And be a good human.
How do you motivate yourself?
I am highly motivated by my art/work and that is what drives me. I often work until 4 am in the morning, but I don’t complain. The real key is I have truly found my passion and what I am good at.
How do manage a work/life balance?
As a rule of thumb I don’t work weekends and I finish at 5 pm – unless I have a lot of work on. Then I tend to work out of hours if I need to, when everyone is in bed. I am fortunate to sleep very deeply, even if it is for a short period. I find sometimes I can do some of my best work during the night. Without the distractions of emails and calls.
Who is your inspiration in the fashion industry?
My main inspiration for the last few season has been Teija Eilola – a friend of mine. She has been chipping away season after season and she is finally making headway. She is shinning example of if you work hard and believe in something, you can make it.
On a more creative note I have been in awe of Gucci and its maximalist this season. Simply amazing!!
What do you like most about working in Wales?
Wales is a great location to be based . You can get the train to London and then head west and have a fantastic time/weekend with the family by the sea. It makes the work life/balance thing easier to manage.
What’s one of the biggest advances in your industry over the past five years?
More and more brands are caring about the environment and trying to be sustainable or give back. China’s emissions are stable, employers are paying fairer wages and there is a lot more tech advancement being incorporated into garments and accessories.
If you didn’t work within the industry you’re in what would be your chosen career or business?
I would retrain as a hairdresser and own a salon because it is also creative and you have contact with customers face- to-face. Alternatively, I would set-up a cool glamping site with a Persian inspired café and tents.