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Check out Amal Iqbal’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amal Iqbal.

Amal, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I knew I wanted to go into a design related field while in high school. Creating was my escape for as long as I remembered, and it was something I excelled in school. My goal was to become an architect, but I didn’t get into the university I had my heart set on. I ended up going to the University of California and got a Bachelors in Science in Landscape Architecture. Choosing to be flexible ended up being the best tool I have developed as an artist because the job I had secured was no longer available due to budget cuts. I did my best to apply to other landscape architecture firms but yielded no leads.

Again, I choose to be flexible, and used my hobby of having a fashion blog while in college, to apply to and attend fashion school to get trained in profession couture techniques and fashion design sketches, patterns and more. Upon completion, I knew that in order to sustain a fashion or creative business, I needed a steady cash flow to build my business. I worked in the landscape architecture field as a designer and used my paycheck to purchase my first sewing machine, dress form, fabric, and other tools to work. Slowly through social media, I gained clients, not only for fashion design, but for other design work as well, and before I knew it, had entered a small business competition. Although I didn’t win, the connections and support pushed me to open up my first studio in Downtown Sacramento. On opening day, I debuted my first lifestyle line that included garments, small leather goods, with stationery and desk accessories to match. That same collection, which has since expanded is sold online at ohmeed.com. My education and flexibility has allowed me to blend the lines of fashion, graphic and interior design, and its a journey I am grateful to be on.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
What: My art forms are many, and right now, I am creating in the fields of fashion and graphic design. From original patterns, artwork, client logo’s and graphic, to leather accessories and garments.

How: All the fabric and leather materials are scoured from other small business, and by using the skills I gained during my landscape architecture days and fashion school, everything is made by me in my home-based studio in Downtown San Diego. All the lifestyle goods are made by manufacturers located in the US and overseas in Asia. Again, by working with other small businesses that practice sustainability and fair wages, an entire community has emerged where we rely on one other to create the things we love.

The why is a little hard to answer because it is as simple as: it is my passion and I believe in doing things the right way. I really focus on good effective design, that is, it looks as good as it works. That is what I hope to inspire my clientele, to appreciate beautiful design, that functions well, and does a little good for those behind every design, our Mother Earth included.

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think currently the biggest challenge facing artist is over-saturation and big box stores copying good designs from smaller business and artist.

In terms of saturation: There is a big pull to follow your dreams, but here’s the thing, not everyone could or should do it. One of the promises I made myself, is to embrace competition, because if someone can do it better than I, than I should use that to fuel originality and quality, and if I can’t then I need to seriously question if creating is the best thing I should be doing with my skills and time. Whenever some inquires about starting a creative based business, one question I always ask the why, and can you compare to or beat the quality and creative design already on the market.

In terms of Big box stores copying: There are far too many cases/stories now of small designers asking for support in dealing with a design of theirs being replicated without the artist consent. Due to lack of resources to mitigate and fight these companies with far greater litigation resources, small business end up losing more than just money to their stolen design. This leads to the huge moral and ethics in design, copyright and intellectual property. There needs to be more accessible education in the design realm, along with resources to help designers fight these types of cases.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can be see in a couple places online, and occasionally in local stores.

Currently in San Diego, my leather pouches can be found at Cotton and Flax, and I’ll be popping up at Maven on June 15th.

Online I did a collaboration with Design Love Fest and CASTiFY, along with a few other female artist to create original prints for apple watch bands and cell phone cases. Those can be bought here: https://www.casetify.com/collections/designlovefest

From the collection, the single rainbow and terrazzo print are my work.

The best place to see my current collection is online, at www.ohmeed.com, and the best way to see what I am up to is via Instagram, and you can find me under the handle @ohmeedofficial.

The best way to support my work, like all other small business is to shop small.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos are my own, expect for the two labeled “Photo Credit Madison Bass-Taylor”, that is Madison Bass-Taylor.

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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