Could Nasir Mazhar become as familiar and ubiquitous as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein or Rick Owens? It's an exciting thought and a more tangible reality now that we’ve danced in his world.
In a season that tightened and heightened the Nasir Mazhar's head-to-toe uniform, London’s logo prince collaborated with Skepta for a bespoke soundtrack that boomed as his designs two-stepped beyond the catwalk and straight into its spiritual home, the club. Brought to life by the Red Bull Catwalk studio, the night a offered a glimpse into the potential of his hyper reality. Not only could the ever growing cult of Nasir buy into his label, they could hear it, dance to it and dream in it. Here, on the day we return to the Metropolis dancefloor and joined by two of his earliest disciples, freelance writer and editor Daryoush Haj Najafi, and MACHINE-A's creative director and owner, Stavros Karelis, we celebrate this designer’s world.
"This is the Nasir Mazhar wardrobe,” shouted Nasir over the backstage buzz of his London Collections: Men finale. “Our task is making people know that's our image, that's what we do, and then next season we can develop and build on top of that because these are our foundations, this is our uniform,” he added a little quieter but delivered with no less emphasis. Rather than design a collection around a throwaway theme, Nasir Mazhar is perfecting a uniform for his world through repetition and refinement. "I don't believe in scraping good ideas, I want to build on them,” he continued. “We're going to keep working on the things I'm into and the things that work, improving each and every season. We look at what we do and make it stick in people's heads. I want people to see a clear look when they think of Nasir Mazhar.”
Does Nasir design fashion, sportswear or a hybrid? For me, he's a reality designer. Tapping into the desire to belong, he’s part of a movement of emerging brands using clearly identifiable style symbols to communicate their message. From what music they listen to, where they party, who they fuck, a sweatshirt dripping in logos can reveal so much about the wearer. Whereas the evolving cliques of #Beentrill, HBA and co are entrenched in US culture, Nasir is undeniably a British beast.
“His is a symbol that everyone connects to. By wearing one of his garments and accessories everyone feels part of the same community, the Nasir Mazhar family,” Stavros began. “He’s into music, he’s into hot girls, he’s into muscles... he’s into the good life,” Daryoush chipped in. “That’s pretty (double meaning intended) fashion. He appeals to that part of your brain that just can’t understand why anyone would separate sleek design led aspiration and fun. If people are wearing Nasir it’s like visual code for this guy/girl is unpretentious and has good music taste,” he added.
“Like the music he’s inspired by, Nasir is creating a world that has a way of talking, a way of dancing, a way of moving, a way of dressing. It’s got a whole world around it that is just thought of as street but’s it’s not just street, it’s so much more,” Stavros continued. How do you feel wearing Nasir Mazhar? “Modern as fuck basically. It's a little bit like I’m riding a flying moped,” Daryoush dreams. “And almost dancing already,” he adds with a smile.
At times the industry struggles to place Nasir. "Watching these clothes on a catwalk sometimes leaves you feeling unfulfilled," Alexander Fury recently conceded in his column for The Independent. He’s not alone. Why would critics feel this way? Simply because Nasir’s designs stretch beyond high fashion. The criticism directed towards London designers, particularly London menswear designers, is that they fail to compete for editorial and shop floor space because their brand equity pales in comparison to established European and North American powerhouses. In the space of a few seasons, he has proved that a globally recognised brand can be built through repetition and refinement. "Shows are much more than just good clothes," Rick Owens recently reminded us in an interview with i-D. "People have to believe in what you’re saying. Every single thing has to be specific, intimate and personal." As much as this statement applies to the dark corners of Rick's otherworldly landscape, it applies to the sweaty dancefloor of Nasir Mazhar.
“Malcolm McLaren once said fashion is the most musical form of painting, my personal take is that Nasir runs with that,” added Daryoush. “He seems potentially like one of those really powerfully commercial designers, the ones who can sell perfume, he’s a great art director, his presentations just felt so relevant, projecting an idealised version of young city life for people to buy into.”
Clearly identifiable, Nasir Mazhar had a presence at every single show at LC:M, his logo littered the audience but he’s adored by everyone from K-pop stars to the greats of grime. “MACHINE-A’s customers are obsessed with Nasir,” Stavros proudly confirmed. “But what surprises me even more is to see that Nasir’s customers have opened up to be all sort of people; from celebrities and industry insiders, cool kids, fans of sportswear. Everyone wants to be part of his world,” he added. From the dreamy reality of London’s club scene to the hyper reality of CL wearing his head-to-toe uniform, his works longs to be worn by buff bodies in the real world. They’ve never been happier than at his after party in Metropolis. As pole dancers, naked except for slithers of Nasir Mazhar logo, hovered over Skepta, Boy Better Know Crew, Jammer, D Double E and Novelist, the turnt dancefloor escaped inside the designer's mind and experienced the true Nasir Mazhar experience. Following this visceral adventure, everything makes sense. I can see what his future stores will look like, I can even take a nap on his yet to be designed sofa. I believe, do you?