Velvit Welcomes Noctex
Velvit welcomes Vancouver based designer Negin Izad, the talented woman behind the environmentally conscious brand NOCTEX, who designs and creates in predominately all black.
Negin Izad talks to Velvit about her strategy in juggling her last year in school as well as her successful line, her passion for creating a socially responsible brand, and the importance of knowing where you fashion comes from.
Velvit: When did you first start showing interest in fashion?
Negin Izad: From what I can remember, my interest in fashion design started when I was 7. My mother had a little sewing machine from her childhood that I used, and my aunt taught me how to hand sew little garments for my toys. That same year, a relative of mine bought me a sketchbook during my visit to Iran, and I filled it with sketches in every possible form I could think of. I remember being very proud of it at the time. My mother has always been a very fashionable woman from the earliest I can recall. She would always insist that I wore the nicest clothes to school and to any outings, so I learned from her what it meant to present oneself in garments.
V: Tell us a little about you background as an artist.
NI: I started drawing and painting at a very young age, and my parents were always putting me in different art and drawing classes. Thanks to my passion for music, I also played guitar for a number of years. I think I loved art because it was something I could do alone and it was just for me. I stopped drawing and playing music during high school because my parents were always pushing me to do more. It became increasingly hard to create art on my own when I was being pushed, so I stopped altogether for quite a while and starting sewing. I found that making clothing was the challenge I always needed, where I could involve pattern-making, which is a form of art and mathematic precision on its own. I began using clothing to convey messages on bodies, a form of expression I couldn’t express through painting.
V: How did you choose the name Noctex for your brand?
NI: My parents always valued academics over creativity when it came to school. During high school, I was taking classes over many summer breaks in order to graduate early. I knew I had to finish all of my school work before I could work on anything creative on my own. I would finish all of my homework during the day and work on creative or design-related activities throughout the night when my house was the quietest. Learning about Latin roots and etymology was one of my favorite pass times. Noctex came from the word Noctis. I added the ‘x’ because I wanted to mark my own roots at a time when everything felt like it was just beginning.
V: What were the initial stages like when creating your brand?
NI: To be honest, I can’t even pinpoint where it all really started. It has all been such a medley of seizing opportunities and not taking ‘no’ for an answer. When I started, I never knew I was going to have my own brand so early on, or where it was going to go, but I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. I was 17 or 18 when I first started to sell on Etsy. It was right before I started my first year of University in Fashion and Technology. I was 20 years old when I released my first seasonal collection. I had only learned how to make patterns the previous semester, but I was determined to apply my education directly. I kept working in that system: I would take a class, apply what I learned to Noctex, and repeat. I am in my fourth and final year now. I don’t think anyone, including myself, thought I was going to see success in my career before I even graduated.
V: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting Noctex?
NI: The learning curve while being in University full time was the most challenging aspect of starting Noctex. I didn’t start my brand with a full range of knowledge in design. I was in school sometimes six days a week working on my academic assignments, only to come home and work on Noctex for hours on end. Surprisingly, the fact that I was so incredibly introverted growing up has been the reason I am here today.
V: You are very conscious about being a socially responsible designer and enforcing the slow fashion model. Why is this movement particularly important to you?
NI: Fashion is the most wasteful, globally impacting industry in the world. Not to mention it has some of the biggest humanitarian issues. After graduating from high school, I got a job in a large warehouse as a buyer for multiple vintage companies. I saw truck loads of used clothing come in by the hour, and many of them were clothes from fast fashion brands that still had their sale tags attached. Nothing could have impacted me more than having to sort through all of that garbage, and by garbage I mean the sales rack items from mass-producing chain stores. I became conflicted for a while and didn’t know if the fashion industry was for me.
It became my own personal mission to create a spot for myself in the design industry that did not compromise. Using dead-stock and working with a local, low-impact manufacturer has been amazing, but I do not plan on stopping there. There needs to be more awareness about the fast-fashion process. People need to know where their fashion is coming from, how it's made, and where it ends up. Reincorporating slow fashion, where individuals buy less that mean more, is the only hope we have to stop the fast-fashion cycle.
People always assume that if something is made in their country it's immediately ethical, or if something is made from an organic fiber it's suddenly a ‘green’ design. It’s not that simple. The entire process of fashion is so much bigger than one step. I promise you that there are factories overseas that run better than some of the places here in Canada, and that some plant-based fabrics take more chemicals than any other fabric in order to make it into a textile. Consumers need to want to know more about the brands they support. There should be a consumer right to fashion awareness.
V: With each season, how do you show your point of view?
NI: It’s an organic growth. I don’t necessarily look at my seasons as being separate entities, but snapshots of where I was during the making of that collection. I see my growth in each season and it’s almost as if I am looking at myself from afar. It is the closest I get to seeing myself without using a mirror.
V: What can we expect to see from the new pieces you are currently working on for Noctex?
NI: I try to work on new pieces each season. You should expect to see more menswear, collaborations with talented artists for Spring, as well as an expansion after that into a secret collection that is going to take Noctex into a new direction.
V: Does music play any role in your creative process?
NI: Music has played a major role in my life. I can’t separate what it means to me. Often what I choose to listen to can determine my focus and creative angle.
V: From your perspective, is there a crossover between art and fashion?
NI: Fashion can’t be categorized into one subject. What may be fashion to you may not be to someone else. The beauty of art and fashion is that not everyone has to understand it. When I find those who understand what I do, that in itself creates a bond.
V: What advice would you give an aspiring designer?
NI: Although you should know what is going on in your design environment, don’t get sidetracked by what others are doing. You will always have a different path to success than the next person.
V: What does fashion mean to you?
NI: Fashion is nothing without mindfulness of what you put out into the world.
V: Why have you chosen to use black as your main color palette?
NI: Black is a beginning and an end.
For more information on Noctex, visit our Artist profiles and shop our Velvit boutique.