Stylist, fashion designer, TV star and now author, with the launch of her debut book, Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles: Make it, Own it, Rock it, Buffi Jashanmal is fast becoming the UAE’s very own Martha Stewart.
Buffi Jashanmal knows a thing or two about style. Fashion designer of her own label, star of the recent season of Project Runway – ok she didn’t win, but ask anybody who watched it, Buffi’s the one you remember – and now author with a fantastic guide to dressmaking, Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles: Make it, Own it, Rock it. We’ve already got our copy on order at amazon.com and are plotting designs to start 2014 looking fabulous. Emirates Woman caught up with Buffi to find out more…
Tell us, what can we expect from your book?
My book is more then a DIY dressmaking book. It’s a sewing and pattern-making manual! There’s more to it then learning basic skills, you’ve got tips and tricks of the trade with a fashion designer angle. People are getting far more then they bargained for with this.
So, who is the target reader?
It’s for anyone from beginners through to more advanced sewers, from ages 15-60plus. Put simply, if you wear dresses then this book is for you.
How can it be for both beginners and the more advanced?
If you’ve never seen a sewing machine, fear not! I help you through the basics, but I also reveal more advanced seamstresses techniques too.
Tell us, what we can learn from it all?
You can make 33 dresses with the information you get in this book. I also have a special bonus section on reworking vintage garments. It’s fun and really inspiring.
How does the book set itself apart from your competitors?
There is no other book like this on the market. Seriously! It comes with three basic dressmaking patterns that are similar to those we use in the industry. Ultimately though, 33 dresses can be made with the patterns – talk about bang for your buck, hey.
When is the official book launch in the UAE and what can we expect?
March is the month, put it in your diary. I was invited to be one of the guest speakers at the Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature where I’ll be doing some talks and live demonstrations. It’ll also be available at Jashanmal Book Stores then too, where I’ll be doing more of the same.
Sum up your career – who and what is brand Buffi?
Buffi is… fashion, fitness, festival. You can be a little bit of all of it. A friend once described me as the most organised free spirit he’d ever met. I’m a little left of centre, but I am serious when it comes to DIY lifestyle. From making your own clothes, to cooking your own healthy recipes and enjoying your life to the fullest.
You’ve recent come back to Dubai after spending some time in New York, what where you doing over there?
I was teaching fashion and working as a stylist. I did some fun gigs including the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but the most high-profile job was Project Runway, of course. [Buffi came 12th on Season 10].
That must be a pretty tough show to get on, how did you manage it?
You’re so right! Every young designer wants to be on Project Runway. I emailed them two years before I actually got on there. Unfortunately, I handed my portfolio in too late, but they got in touch the following year and asked me to audition.
What was the experience like?
Incredible. I met some super-talented designers and it was a huge honour to have been involved.
What did you learn from it all?
I learnt a lot about who I was as a person, a designer and worker. It was a huge life lesson and I continue to apply the whole experience in every aspect of my life.
So, with all that going on, why come home?
In all honesty, personal reasons brought me home. My mother is here and has MS and although I give her a hard time, like most daughters, we are super-close and I need to be here right now. Plus, I love being back. I haven’t had a career change, but I’ve certainly had additional ‘Buffness’ added to my resume. I’m now teaching at Flywheel Dubai and also doing some personal training as well as working on a vegan cook book. In the meantime, you can follow my ‘fegan’ food blog on my website for healthy fun recipes.
Yeah – fake-vegan, I invented it.
So, what’s next?
As usual, my fingers are in a billion pots. I’m working on the food blog (getting ready for my next DIY book). I’m also studying to get more Personal Training and Group Fitness qualifications. My fingers are still in fashion, but it’s probably more on a theatrical level. For example, I worked backstage recently at Sandance doing wardrobe for Bassment Jaxx. I’m also creating a new line of festival/performance gear.
Wow! Like a modern-day Martha Stewart, what would your job description be?
I think you just nailed it! I love DIY, be it fitness, food, fashion. I need someone to come along and invest in ‘The Buffi Show.’
What has been your career high so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the roller coaster of my career so far. Maybelline NYC sponsoring my NYC fashion show and flying me out there was pretty amazing, Project Runway, of course. Working backstage with Bassment Jaxx was pretty awesome too. That’s what I love about Dubai, you suddenly find yourself in the most amazing experiences and it is not until afterwards that you just think… “OMG!.. what the?!?!”
Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles: Make it, Own it, Rock it is available to pre-order online for a discounted sale price on amazon.com