Exclusive Interview: Up Close & Personal - The Sha Effect

Putting fashion in perspective and changing the conception of what is truly luxury, Sha Ali Ahmad shares his experience as an up-and-coming designer making his way in the industry -- to bring to light a new fashion era.

Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career? 

I was on my 3rd year of graphic design in college when I was invited to a fashion show. I was introduced to a new face of art for the first time. It was mesmerizing, I was captivated by the colorful draping and bead work of every single piece showcased on the runway.  Right there, I was convinced fashion designing is my calling.  This is an incredibly large industry, so many want to be apart of and yet only a select few make it and I was willing to take that risk.

What textiles do you prefer to work with?

Silk, Mesh, Organic, Georgette, anything that is soft and drapes gracefully.

Which do you choose not to work with?

Polyester and synthetic fabric.

What are some pieces that are your favorite and why?

There is so much time and effort involved in creating that one unique piece; therefore, I can’t really pick or say what’s my least favorite, because they are my creations -- it’s like my baby.

What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

Traveling and learning different cultures has been very influential on a creative level. To really engage with the local culture  -- is a wonderful way to see the world and become immersed in the design community.

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What has been your call to inspiration when designing?

Drawing inspiration from anything and everything, including the different elements of nature and my very own colorful Indian heritage.

How do you define fashion?

It’s a medium for self-expression, an extension of ones personality, and it can even be more like a form of poetry spoken through fabrics and embellishments.

What skills do you think all designers should possess? 

The love of the art of making and have a huge passion for creativity.

What qualifications are required for a fashion design career?

Fashion designers must be visionaries, good at executing their visions from the concept to the final product of the clothing line.

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What tools do you have at your disposal for designing?

Ideas and execution are far more important than shiny new equipment. I just return to the basics, my humble drawing pad and my pencils. 

What are some fashion faux pas you absolutely wish people would stop doing?

Wear what fits and suits you. You will always look better in clothes that fit right. Big prints are not best suited for plus size. Wearing a shirt that’s so tight you can see where your bra cuts into your back – is a big NO

How do you stay up-to-date regarding fashion?

I admire modern-thinking.  I follow unusual designers who are stepping forward into newer things and continue to surprise and innovate.

What do you consider to be the most important facets in the fashion industry?

I would say the exciting changes from the next wave of fresh talents, to see how they will steer this industry foward in years ahead.

How do you handle the stress and high pressure of the fashion industry?

I am a strong believer, God-fearing individual and I learned to be more patient and humble. I have to remind myself what I’m gaining from the present experience (even if it isn’t much fun), will serve me well in the future.

What kind of advice do you have for aspiring designers?

Never give up. Believe in yourself, every individual is unique in something. 

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What was one of the most rewarding experiences you had as a designer? 

Bringing a new idea to life is the most rewarding aspect of my work. 

Tell us a little about some of the challenges you have faced on your journey in the industry.

I was an artist and used to paint big canvas and murals but its hard to make a living doing this, so I decided to be a fashion designer but I learned early on that this industry is not easy, challenges are every where.  It is hard for up-and-coming designers to find a platform to showcase their work. It is all about being well connected in the fashion industry, who you know counts. Getting your work out there let alone your name may be difficult if you do not have the right connections, and in order to fuel this business you need money in every step, to make quality designs, to market it and promote it. Not everyone understand and embrace designer clothing but in time you will have your following, those who loves art and your work.

What are some of your go-to pieces?

For me personally, I want black jeans and black t shirt in my go-to pieces. As for my dresses, embroidery is my trade mark.

What are some of your greatest strengths and weakness in designing?

My strength is my knowledge in embellishing and playing with new silhouettes. Weakness? I hate stitching.

How would you describe your personal style?

Innovative and confident.

How would you relate past and present fashion trends?

It’s a cycle. What was in the past will eventually be modified and reinvented to become the new fad.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of what you do?

The most challenging part is handling workers. It’s taxing to carry someone’s load since they know they can always count on me.

Tell us a little about some of the pieces featured in this shoot?

This collection is a inspiration of the oriental culture integrating light pastel colors with beautiful hand embroidery.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations? 

Natasha Kertes she is a famous photographer from Miami, and  Zuhair Murad. 

How did you get started in the industry?

I was pursuing my bachelors in graphic designing and one of my friend invited me to see her fashion show. It was like, love at first sight and I just found myself attending the evening fashion designing classes. 

Can you give us a little sneak peek into what next year may hold in fashion design?

Its hard to predict as fashion changes so frequent.

What upcoming projects do you have?

Working on my new collection. A photo shoot  is underway in some exotic location. A big fashion show in California on December, then some shows in Miami, and saving the best for last is my final destination Kaua’i. This will be our 6th year of Kaua’i Fashion Week, a big production in the little Garden Isle.

What are some brands you recommend for fashion lovers on a budget?

Ready to wear - H&M, ZARA and ASOS

What are some must-have’s that everyone should have in their closet?

Black blazer is a wardrobe essential. Because it’s black, it goes with virtually everything. You can change the look just by changing the accessories. 

What are your most memorable moments in fashion?

Seeing my designs worn by celebrities and being on a TV show [The Real Housewives Of Orange County].

Putting together a fashion show in Kaua’i with the help of my close friends Marynel, Jhoiee, Sue and Rommel.

Recently, we celebrated our 5th Annual Kaua’i Fashion Weekend and Meghan King Edmonds with Kaua’i Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, graced the runaway, it was a show-stopper.

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What are some phrases or quotes you live by?  

  1. The diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.   
  2. Silence is a source of great strength.

Tell us a little about this photo shoot.

Meghan King Edmonds is a very close friend of mine. Whenever I travel to the US to showcase my new collection I often ask her to do a photo shoot. She is super kind and down to earth, and always has my back to support me, so I called Zeny to do a shoot and we got the team together. A big part of this photo shoot is that they telecasted this shoot in “The Real Housewives of Orange County" on 4th of September on Bravo TV.

What inspired you when creating the pieces featured here in this shoot?

When I do new collection I always talk to my best friend; photographer and artist -- Natasha Kertesfor her advice, she’s a genius. I am very grateful for her kindness and inspiration, despite her busy schedule she makes time to discuss things with me. She suggested the oriental inspiration since I spend most of my time on Kaua’i and my friends are mostly Oriental.

What goes into your designing process?

Inspiration, defining concept or theme, creating the mood board and palettes, sketching, drape, creating artwork and prints if needed. Analyzing and selecting fabrics according the design, creating the final drawings., making embroidery patterns, sourcing materials, creating patterns, embellishing, making samples, supervising production, and finally model fittings.

Where are some fashion locations you want to go to? 

Paris, Greece and Ireland.

What is your fashion mantra?

Know your body type, create style that flatters fashion possibilities.


Winter Wanderlust

  • Photographer Zeny Durano  | Fashion Designer Sha Ali Ahmad
  • model Meghan king edmonds of bravo tv's  the real housewives of orange county
  • Make-Up Artist Sylvia Davis  | Hairstylist Coco Rae Jamison 
  • Jewelry Tresa Jewelry by Lisa Meyer  and Sherry Mattia of Glamarella

Follow and Book Sha Ali Ahmad

  • Website: www.ahamdcouture.com
  • Facebook: ahmadcouture
  • Instagram: ahmadcoture
  • Twitter: ahmadcouture

For Booking please contact:

  • Phone: 205-265-5601
  • Email : info@ahmadcouture.com
Amanda Fischer