Design corner

Nima Behnoud, the man behind T-shirt brand Nimany, is giving Dubai fans an exclusive look at his new collection


You describe your designs as wearable art. What does that mean?
In the beginning, rather than clothing I was making silk screens on canvas. I slowly realised that because of the mission I had in mind – bringing awareness to Middle Eastern art and culture – the process didn’t fulfil that mission. So I decided to put it on a T-shirt – every day wear – so that people could wear the message every day.

What is the significance of the Arabic script in your designs?
It’s solely an art form, they don’t really have any meaning. They don’t form a sentence. What we do is extract these old scripts, emblems and old royal crests from ancient books, we lodge them on top of each other to create an overall form. A lot of people ask if the typography means something. Not really. It just creates a form that is aesthetically nice.

You have quite a celebrity following in the States.
The first incident that was a driving force for the brand happened at a fashion show. One of my friends was wearing one of my shirts, Heidi Klum saw him and she was very, very interested. I had him take it off and give it to her, and that was the beginning. After that, it’s been followed by the Hilton sisters, Alexandra Richards, Kevin Spacey, Jim Carrey. A lot of celebs come into my showroom in New York and grab them.

You’re from Iran. Is there much of a fashion scene there?
I moved from Iran in 1993, when I was a teenager. Back then, Western fashion was banned in the country. No one could get American brands, but they were hungry for them. Designers started using the limitation to their advantage and started building their own fashion underground. People would get their hands on a handful of denim, rip them, up, write on them and sell them out of trunk shows in underground parties.

How has Iran perceived your designs?
I thought my designs would be to the advantage of the Iranian government, because they bring a lot of awareness to the country. But when there were some people in Iran wearing Nimany shirts, they were arrested. It really puzzled me as to why the government showed such a reaction. So unfortunately, it’s been the reverse of what I was expecting.

How has your brand evolved?
The brand started as T-shirts, but in the last five years we’ve introduced other products. Now we sell leather good and bracelets, and have stepped into a higher end type of garment for ladies made from better fabrics. We’re introducing more night and evening tops. That’s the kind of stuff you’ll see in the trunk show. It’s the first time this collection is being released anywhere.

So why have you decided to reveal your collection in Dubai when your studio is in New York?
There’s been a growing demand for our products in Dubai, and there’s also something really exciting about having a trunk show here. In New York, you have 10 trunk shows a day in every corner of the city. Here, the concept is really new. I’m kind of curious to see how people here will view it.

The Nimany trunk show is on March 26 and 27 from 6pm-10pm at the Shelter, Road 318, Al Quoz 4 (04 434 5655).

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