Sharon Carvalho sits down with the Golkar brothers as they prepare for the final of the International Woolmark Prize to discuss fashion, music and keeping it in the family
How did it begin?
Babak Golkar: I graduated with honours from London College of Fashion. Haman went to Central Saint Martins to study Product Design and Graphic Design and Farhan was at the Chelsea College of Art and Design for Graphic Design. The two of them are interested in the concept of retail and how it makes you feel. I, onthe other hand, am much more into silhouettes and creation.
Haman Golkar: We always wanted to combine our skills and fashion just seemed like a natural progression.
Farhan Golkar: It’s just the idea that no matter how bad your day began,the moment you dress up in a good shirt and a great suit, you automatically feel good. It changes your outlook.
How did the name come about?
HG: We wanted to give people the feeling of being an emperor, of having that imperial quality, hence Emperor.
FG: As for the number, we are obsessed with the 17th century! That particular time was a very creative period, a golden age, and you can see this even in Indian arts and architecture, so, 1688.
How have you’ll divided roles?
BG: I think it’s all about understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses, respecting each
other and knowing yourself. For example, I am more fashion forward, Haman is very contemporary and Farhan is very classic. It is the combination of all our skills that creates a fourth imaginary brother who brings forth a product that is creative enough for the media and commercial and contemporary enough for the consumer.
FG: It’s important to delegate and you can only do that when you know who you are. I mean, if things were left in Babak’s hands we wouldn’t sell anything! He is just too fashion forward!
HG: Balance is important. The moment we agree on something, we know it will fit all the criteria.
It helps that we are very tight knit.
How do you’ll deal with competition?
FG: Here’s the thing, we’re friends with a lot of the designers. Guys like Jean Louis, Rami Al Ali
and Bashar and many of the others and us are good friends. So when we meet at fashion weeks it’s like a family get together.
HG: And you only grow by the people you are surrounded with and to be friends with such talented designers creates a dynamic environment.
BG: Also, it is a multi-billion dollar industry! All we need is 1% of it! And in the end, the thought process is so different that, say, if you gave me an apple and gave Jean an apple, the collection at the end would be so different that you can’t really compare. I mean, there are times when I’ve sat down with him and told him ‘It is beautiful but I just don’t understand where the thought process has come from!’.
What about challenges?
BG: Being understood and respected not just as a designer but also as a valid business is
the biggest challenge.
FG: The media support is great, they are constantly waving our flag, but the regional and local support as a business is also important. There needs to be a trust towards local businesses.
HG: Businesses like ours only add to the economy here and help the industry grow. With Dubai,it is an old and wonderful culture but it is a new metropolis and there needs to be an understanding that fashion and business works.
What inspires a creation?
FG: A sense of memory, I think. We have so many family memories and connections that what triggers a memory are important to us.
HG: Music too.It combines us as we share a love for classical music so when we start a process for a show,we put on some songs though the loudspeaker in the studio and listen to it for months on end.Somehow it triggers a reaction and a collection is born.
BG: It ends up being very emotional for us because we use the same music at the final show so the months of creating and working come to life and when we are backstage doing the show, the moment is special. It is very few industries that give you the satisfaction of changing something that was in your head into reality.
Man you would like to dress:
FG: Adrian Brody, he is effortlessly chic.
Woman you would like to dress:
HG: Jessica Chastain,I love ginger hair!
BG: I am a history geek. I love reading biographies and fixating about an era.