Frimley-based designer Kaniez Abdi

PUBLISHED: 14:25 21 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:08 20 February 2013

Frimley-based designer Kaniez Abdi, whose ideas have inspired the likes of Calvin Klein

Frimley-based designer Kaniez Abdi, whose ideas have inspired the likes of Calvin Klein

From the catwalk to the living room, it seems that textile designs have never been so imaginative. JANET DONIN meets Frimley-based designer Kaniez Abdi whose unique ideas have inspired the likes of Donna Karen and Calvin Klein

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2009

From the catwalk to the living room, it seems that textile designs have never been so imaginative. JANET DONIN meets Frimley-based designer Kaniez Abdi whose unique ideas have inspired the likes of Donna Karen and Calvin Klein

Name: Kaniez Abdi
Company: Kaniez Abdi Textile Design Consultancy
Location: Frimley
Tel: 01276 682115

Nylon tubing, old clothing and pearlised sequins are just some of the materials that international textile designer Kaniez Abdi incorporates into her work. Based in Frimley, the 36-year-old has been at the forefront of innovative design for almost a decade, yet her imagination is boundless.

"I find inspiration in everything," says Kaniez. "I could be out in the woods with my daughter Ruby, at a car boot sale or even in John Lewis and something will trigger an idea for a design."

Her kind of style

After gaining a masters degree at the Royal College of Art in constructed textiles, she went on to work for trend analysts Kjaer Global, whose clients included Nike and Ikea. There, she used her imaginative gift to predict colours, designs and materials. Nowadays, she designs and creates textiles and products for both the world of interiors and fashion.

Her distinctive style has evolved through endless experimentation. To this end, her work is a fusion of hand-crafted techniques, including machine and hand embroidery, heat-bonding, layering and digital printing.

"Whenever I look at fabrics, I think how I can use it, cut it or pleat it," says Kaniez, as she shows me samples of soft leather that's been puffed and pleated, raffia sewn on to organza and fur that's criss-crossed with satin strips.

Initially, these ideas were translated into a variety of drum-shaped lampshades and imaginative wall art, which were used in hotels, restaurants and corporate receptions. One of her more innovative ideas was for a chandelier of fluorescent green acrylic apples, which she made for the launch of Donna Karen's Apple perfume.

More recently, her innovative work caught the imagination of a textile agent who now represents her in New York. There, icons of the fashion world, including Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole and Liz Claiborne, use her ideas as inspiration for their own collections. "My samples can be interpreted as anything from handbags to dress fabrics," she adds.

Meanwhile, Kaniez is working on a collection of her own designs, which are being produced by a textile manufacturer based in the Philippines. "It's so exciting," she says, handing me a length of exotic-looking lace, that's actually made from white nylon tubing, which she has machine embroidered into a swirling design. And I really love the sheet of pearlised sequins, resembling the scales of an exotic mermaid, which is pure bling.

Earlier this year, Kaniez showed both these fabrics at the prestigious Salone Satellite exhibition in Milan, having been selected by Hidden Art, which promotes new designers. "It was an amazing experience and very special to be chosen by such a prestigious organisation," she says.

What's new?

Today, Kaniez is thinking space age and is scanning designs on to the computer to be digitally printed on to silk organza, habotai silk or cotton. Recently, these caught the attention of American company Kontextur, who asked her to design shower curtain fabrics to show off their funky Perspex curtain rings. The collection was launched last month in New York to great acclaim.

Looking to the future, she is developing even more exciting designs in voluminous materials destined for the catwalk and heat-bonded fabrics with a 3D effect that she visualises for the interiors market. All are produced in neutral shades with flashes of colour or the glint of metallics.

Despite so much excitement in the international forum, Kaniez still makes time to go back to her roots and work with students at Uxbridge College where she takes lessons in art and design, and at Tower Hamlets where she teaches a BTEC course in fashion and textiles. "I love teaching," she says. "It's such a two way street - I inspire the students with ideas and they fill me with inspiration!"

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