Fizah Malik: A Creative Journey of Textile Design & Education

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome back a very special guest, Fizah Malik, a textile designer whose work transcends the ordinary and whose journey we have enjoyed following over the years, and who last week we announced was joining the Textile Design Lab team.

Since we last spoke with Fizah, this journey has taken her through remarkable growth, creativity, and business expansion. But Fizah’s story isn’t just about her success as a designer; it’s also about her commitment to teaching others and her involvement in projects like the Textile Design Lab.

Join us as we catch up with Fizah, delving into the evolution of her business, her recent endeavors, and how she’s shaping the future of textile design through her own practice and by nurturing new talent.

Fizah, could you start by telling us a bit about your journey as a textile designer? How did you get started in this field?

My artistic journey commenced in my early years when I unearthed my passion for colors, patterns, and drawing. I inherited my artistic flair from my mother and received unwavering support from my father every step of the way. Pursuing formal education in textile design, I refined my skills in sketching, digital design, and textile production techniques, graduating at the top of my class. Even after obtaining a Master’s degree in textile design, I have consistently enhanced my skills by enrolling in various courses, acquiring certificates, and following tutorials each year. Over the past 12 years, I have accumulated experience through collaborations, projects, and client engagements.

Reflecting on the recent years, how has your business grown and evolved? Are there any milestones that particularly stand out for you?

In November 2022, I launched my small business “Born to be” after much contemplation. I got 5 designs printed and embarked on establishing a sustainable  gifting business, which received an unexpectedly positive response beyond my imagination.

I taught myself website creation, explored marketing, video production, and editing. I mastered new softwares and experienced a significant trial-and-error period. The process was demanding yet thrilling, and ultimately, taking a leap of faith paid off!

You’ve always had a unique aesthetic. How do you maintain your signature style while ensuring your designs stay fresh and relevant?

Many designers face challenges in discovering their unique “style,” and I also struggled with this in my early days. However, what truly helped me was maintaining a consistent practice of painting and drawing. Over time, you will naturally find yourself drawn to specific colors, mediums, and drawing styles, making it easier for your personal style to emerge effortlessly.

I don’t believe in blindly following trends; however, if you must, add your unique twist to them. This way, your authentic style will shine through, keeping it fresh and true to you.

Collaboration is key in the creative industries. Can you share a memorable collaboration you’ve had and what made it significant for you and your business?

My collaboration with Nerida Hansen has been truly transformative. It introduced me to surface design years ago and provided me with the chance to showcase my work at Surtex alongside talented surface designers she guided. This experience enlightened me on licensing and emphasized the value of a supportive design community.

What role do you see yourself playing in the Textile Design Lab, and how does it align with your expertise as a textile designer?

I see myself as an active part of the Textile Design lab, emphasizing on a no-fluff approach and offering concise, actionable advice. I want to help budding artists build their skills, grow their confidence, and thrive in the art industry. My aim is to share the trial-and-error experiences I’ve gained over the past 12 years and offer guidance to newcomers to help them unlock their full potential.

How do you balance your professional practice with teaching, and what do you find most rewarding about educating the next generation of designers?

I have dabbled in teaching sporadically, but my primary focus has consistently been textile/surface design. As I began conducting tutorials annually with the Textile Design Lab, I received an influx of positive feedback from artists and direct messages filled with inquiries. This prompted me to consider sharing my experiences and insights more seriously with others.

One of the most rewarding aspects of educating is witnessing the growth and development of the budding artists..Additionally, the relationships and connections you build with your students can be deeply rewarding and being there to support them through their creative journey can be immensely fulfilling. 

Lastly, looking forward, what are your aspirations for the next few years, both as a teacher and your broader career as a textile designer?

Taking my small business to the next level and landing dream clients is something I look forward to in the next few years.

As a design teacher, I truly aspire to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will prepare them for success in the field of design, encouraging them to think outside the box and explore innovative ideas. At the same time, provide a nurturing and supportive learning environment where they feel empowered to take risks, make mistakes, and grow from them.

Fizah Malik’s story is one of artistic evolution and commitment to education, shaping the future of textile design. Join us in the Textile Design Lab to learn from Fizah and other industry experts, and take your design skills to the next level!

At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.

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