Photo Courtesy of Nura Dhar
From using watercolors and prismacolor markers for fashion illustration, to sewing with unconventional materials, senior Nura Dhar is passionate in the art of fashion design. At WCHS, Dhar has taken four years of fashion design, as well as AP Art History, and now interns in the new architecture course at WCHS.
“I’ve enjoyed every one of these classes, and each class has added a new layer of my understanding of the art world,” Dhar said. “Taking fashion design has honed my technical skills of sewing and drawing. AP Art History exposed me to the many different aspects of art and how it is a product of history, culture and society. It also inspired me to create an Architecture course at WCHS and create the curriculum.”
Dhar’s initial exposure to art was through fashion design, when she started taking sewing classes at G Street Fabrics. Nine years later, she is still pursuing her passion and beginning to take fine art classes like drawing.
“My family friend used to sew, and she would come over and tell me all about her latest projects,” Dhar said. “I was fascinated by how she was able to transform a piece of cloth into garments her family and friends would actually wear, from wedding dresses to pillow cases. For my birthday she bought me a sewing machine, and I started taking classes to learn how to use the machine.”
The creative aspect of fashion design really drew Dhar into her craft. She enjoys being able to create pieces of clothing that others can actually wear in daily life.
“Art and design, especially fashion design, is meaningful to me because it enables the artist or creator to be able to physically manifest a figment of imagination into an object,” Dhar said. “Fashion design is particularly meaningful to me because fashion is an art form that people cannot live without, as clothing is a necessity.”
The process of creating a new piece first begins with a spark of inspiration. Dhar likes to take inspiration from a variety of things, ranging from movies like “Lady Bird” to even just a color.
“Fashion design, just like any other art form, requires an iterative process,” Dhar said. “I usually start by being inspired by something. I begin sketching a design just as an idea to start off with, and oftentimes my design process will take me in a completely different direction than my initial sketch.”
Dhar’s talent for creating interesting pieces out of unconventional items, like a sculptural jacket created out of blue tarp, which has allowed her to explore the intersections of sculpture and fashion design while reusing an material that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
According to WCHS Fashion Illustration teacher Tiffany Carmi, Nura Dhar is very talented in the art of fashion design.
“Her sewing construction has improved and she experiments with different materials and processes to explore the art of fashion,” Carmi said. “Nura has so many creative ideas that you never know what she is going to do next.”
Dhur’s major inspiration for her art are Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen. She has also been inspired by the many works she has read in her AP Literature class, such as “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Elliot.
“Nura has a very clear idea of what her style is,” Carmi said. “She has worked hard to maintain a clear aesthetic that is pleasing and yet thought provoking.”
In addition to her work in Fashion Production class, she is a part of many fashion related extracurriculars.
“I intern at the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., which is an Asian art museum,” Dhar said. “I also used to assist a freelance fashion writer who worked for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Elle Magazine. I am also the president of the WCHS fashion club.”
In the future Dhar would love to pursue a career in design and maybe start her own fashion brand or design one day. She advises anyone that wants to pursue art or design to branch out and learn more about these topics in any way possible.
“Whether it be joining our school’s fashion club, taking drawing classes, going to museums or even researching artists or designers online, the best way to learn new techniques is to be exposed to many new ideas,” Dhar said.
For Dhar, art has changed her life in many positive ways. It has taught her many skills that she can apply to other fields and parts of her life.
“Art has taught me how to work through the frustrating parts of the process when things aren’t looking the way I imagined and continue to edit and sometimes even restart a piece until it’s as close to my imagination as possible,” Dhar said. “It has also taught me a lot about perception, which is how the brain and the eye interprets principles of art, like line and color, to draw conclusions. I find this very interesting and a metaphor for understanding other fields as well.”