By: Ghazal Mostafa

jilaatelierJila Atelier is run by a distinctive couple involved in the fine arts. Jila is a fashion designer known for her unique ideas and modern structured gowns. With over 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, she has worked with international brands such as Pennyblack and Solar. She established Jila Atelier in 2012, with her first RTW line featuring asymmetrical and structured pieces.

Ali has been an architect and sculptor since 1995. He established his architectural firm in 1997 and has been pursuing his artistic passion ever since. Known for his exceptional artwork and designs, Ali has experience in architecture, furniture, interior design, jewelry, and sculpture.

In 2017, they decided to run Jila Atelier jointly, using their knowledge of design to create high fashion with a unique and innovative twist that will leave the audience longing for more. Jila Atelier carries two fashion lines, haute couture and ready-to-wear. Haute couture, bridal, and eveningwear are done using the best Chantilly lace from France and silk from Italy. All appliqués and embroideries are hand finished and lined with silk charmeuse. The ready-to-wear collection is also made of high-end luxury fabrics such as novelty silks. The classy outfits with unique designs are all also lined and finished with a beautiful silk charmeuse. Jila Atelier is all about individuality and artistic expression, making women feel unique and stunning.

Thank you so much for giving Trends this exclusive interview despite your busy schedule, we are very grateful.

Please tell us about yourself and your journey. Why did you choose fashion design as a career? What was the motivation that led you on this path to design wedding and evening gowns? What is your favorite part about running a bridal fashion label?

I studied fashion design in the University of Science and Culture in Iran, but I started working in fashion business, which helped me understand the market and the business of fashion. However, after about ten years of hard work in fashion marketing, I decided to go back to design since I always felt like something was missing from my career, and it was creativity.

jila saberi design

So, when I moved to the U.S., I decided to launch my own line since I had enough knowledge in fashion business. Being in Los Angeles, which is the biggest red-carpet city, and with all the events going on here, I was inspired to choose evening wear and bridal wear. Moreover, I believe couture is the most artistic area in fashion, where you can have the highest level of creativity in design. My favorite part about running a bridal or couture label is, of course, having a part in their big days and helping them to present the best version of themselves.

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Who in the fashion industry inspires you the most and why? Where do you look for creative inspiration? Who are some of your favorite fashion designers of all time?

My all-time favorite fashion designer is Madeleine Vionnet. Her ways for cutting the bias cut dresses and all her feminine styles are very inspiring to me. Plus, I believe she was a true businesswoman. I always check the latest designs of all prominent designers and leaders in this industry. However, it is very important to not have other designers influence your own creativity. I believe designers should retain their signature elements to differentiate themselves from others.

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Who is the typical Jila Atelier bride? Describe the process when working with brides. Does the bride have something in mind first or do they choose from certain looks you offer? How do you want your clients to feel when wearing your gowns?

Although we attend to a diverse clientele of brides with a variety of tastes, our typical bride is very romantic and feminine with a touch of creativity. While working with a bride, we try to make her unique and different on her special day. When a bride first comes to us, we start with some questions about the ceremony and reception, before going over her character to see what makes her feel more comfortable. Does she like to look romantic, dramatic, or classic? After that, we move on to the bride’s body type and face. We try to figure out the best, based on the issues in her body, covering those and accenting the strengths. It is a fun process, and we spend about two hours with each bride in the first appointment.Some brides know what they want, and we modify their ideas according to their body type and personality. However, with some of them we need to spend more time finding out what makes them happy, as I always want my clients to feel contented and confident when they wear my designs.

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What’s your favorite fabric to work with and why? Do you have a favorite dress that you’ve designed? Why?

While the choice of fabric depends on the design, I often work with silk as it is more comfortable for brides and the look comes out better. I love all my designs as they all describe my creativity and mood, at the time I designed them. But my favorite collection is the one I designed with my husband. He is an architect and we decided to bring some of Iran’s famous architectural buildings to fashion. It was a challenging project, but it was fun, and we enjoyed the whole process.

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Please tell us about a few of the challenges that you met along the way and how you handled them.

Working in the fashion industry is very challenging, be it fabric resourcing, pattern making or sewing. However, I believe the most difficult part is making clients happy without sacrificing the designs.


How has your multicultural life, Persian heritage, and life in America, influenced your career? You have recently used some of Iran’s most iconic architectural masterpieces in your designs. Please tell us what made you choose them and how they’ve been received by both Iranian and American audiences.

Most Americans like to know about other cultures and are very interested in the works of designers from other countries. When my husband and I decided to start this project, we expected Iranians all around the world to respond well, but we didn’t know how Americans would react to the designs. While they like the designs individually and give us lots of positive comments, as soon as they know what the story behind this collection is, they get impressed. For instance, we got positive feedback on the dress inspired by Azadi Square, but when they see this architectural building, they view the design as a valuable artwork. Getting back to your question, I don’t have many issues as an Iranian working for American clients since evening wear and bridal gowns are similar in most cultures.

What skills would you say are necessary for a successful fashion designer? What advice would you give to young designers?

A successful fashion designer either needs to know everything in this industry from pattern making to sewing to marketing, or they need to hire people to do each stage professionally. If a designer wants to start a fashion line for themselves, I recommend being patient and working for larger companies or designers until they gain enough experience to start their own business. Otherwise, it is best to specialize in one area, such as pattern making, sketching, technical design, or marketing so they can find a good position.

What do you predict will be the next big trend in bridal and what is on the way out?

I believe there are going to be more complicated and sophisticated designs in the next two years as people are getting more interested in crazy looks day by day. Some people don’t like to wear conservative ideas and show more courage in their choice of clothing.

Is sustainability on your agenda (now or in the future)?

We use natural materials for couture, do most of the job by hand, and most importantly, we don’t produce in large quantities. Everything is made by order. Therefore, we do our best to reduce our impact on the environment as couture and customization are less harmful to the environment than other forms of fashion.

What else are you passionate about apart from fashion? What’s next for Jila Saberi?

I have always loved teaching fashion students, and I designed some fashion courses for Iranian students who don’t have access to international fashion schools. I am also teaching couture at a fashion college in California. It is my ambition to have my own fashion school someday.

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