1 on 1 with Aleem Kassam
Aleem Kassam views the fashion world as a microcosm of intelligent design. Coming from an Interior Designer background, Aleem brings a unique perspective with his personal brand of decorative fashion. Being an elite member of the Vancouver fashion-sphere, it was dope to pick his brain about a few things.
I took one look at your IG and seen how embedded you are in the fashion and event scene throughout Vancouver. Can you tell us how you first aligned yourself with these creative industries?
Due to my background in business and design, I have been involved in the Vancouver art scene for many years. Being a naturally extroverted person in such a close knit community has allowed me to make friends in a variety of fields. From designers, photographers, stylists, to curators, I’ve met A LOT of creative people! Since I was a kid, Fashion has always pulled on my heart strings. I've made a conscious effort to not only attend events but also collaborate with the most pioneering talents Vancouver has to offer!
That’s dope. Because if I’m correct, professionally, you are a Partner and Interior Designer with a company called Kalu Interiors correct? So how has Fashion ultimately contributed to this profession or vice-versa?
That's correct! Interior Design has been an integral part of not just who I am but what I’ve done since I was a teenager. However, I look at design in a much broader sense. Rather than categorizing architecture, landscape, interior design, fashion etc. I look at all of these as being under the same umbrella. I constantly draw inspiration for the spaces I design from fashion-based colours, patterns, and textures, but also look at architecture and interiors as a source of inspiration for my personal style.
So how do you find balance between your personal life, professional career, and fashion presence all at the same time?
Well… I sometimes wonder how I do it too, ha! Most people would joke I'm the ultimate YES-man. Personally, I probably have a major diagnosis of FOMO. But really, it's because I love people and are inspired by their ideas. My bigger goal is finding a way to not only live in all of these worlds but also merge them with the right balance. So just as I do in my day to day career, I get creative! Whether collaborating with other friends in different fields for projects, inviting different disciplines to a single event, or actively partaking in a variety of charitable functions- I find a way. In my personal life it's all about ensuring my closest people are always communicating with one another, and keeping everyone in the loop.
So a little more on your creative perspective. If you had to define it, what’s the difference between Style and Fashion, and how do you incorporate both into your personal aesthetic?
This is actually something I think about a lot. Not necessarily on a conscious level, but I do feel confronted by it regularly. I see Fashion as something you purchase, and Style as something you curate. But don't be mistaken by my appearance, Style always supersedes Fashion in my world. No matter the cost or name on the label, it's all about the individual elements as a collective. Of course I seek out specific designers and styles based on what I prefer, but that doesn't mean I don't keep an open mind for where I might be inspired next! Rocking glam to rock and chic to street, I look at my personal aesthetic as constantly evolving.
If you were to create your own fashion line, what would it look like?
In the back of my head, I knew this question was coming! I'd be lying if I said it hasn't crossed my mind though! I guess first and foremost I look at fashion as just that, fashion. I don't care about gender, colour, class or religion- my fashion line would cater to all. It would be something aspirational, reflecting who you are and where you want to go. I'm also all about form and function, where pieces are layered and deconstructed for versatility. For me it's all in the details. Balance is essential. I love volume, but, balance it.
So if you had to evacuate immediately and you could only grab 3 pieces from your closet, what would they be?
Anyone that has seen my closet, knows the pain of this question, but let’s do this. I’d grab my Alexander McQueen Studded Boots, because I can rock them with any look, in any season. My Monogrammed Gucci DIY Bag because I could never replace it. Anddddd, my Maison Margiela Deconstructed Trench because it's very Vancouver, and incorporates everything I love in fashion.
R.I.P to the soldiers left behind!
And lastly, what can the people expect from Aleem in 2020? Anything interesting you’d like to share?
Even though we're at the tail-end of 2019, I still feel very much in the thick of it. 2019 has been a big year for me and 2020 has some very exciting things in-store! You can certainly expect to see further growth and transformation in my personal style, always ready to show out in the next head turning looks! But what I'm most excited about are the collaborations, brand-alignments, and the exposure on multiple platforms. Guess you’ll have to stay tuned and find out!