|Neesz's designs target women from 20 to 50-years-old.
Step aside designers on Project Runway, Jaleh Neesz has arrived and then some.
The 27-year-old Mission Viejo resident is the designer/owner of Jaleh Design and a part time instructor at The Art Institute of California- Orange County who has dreamed of being a fashion designer for as long as she can remember.
“After years of dreaming of my own line and working as a designer in the industry, I finally got up the courage to launch my line this past summer starting with spring. I have always been drawn to classic and timeless styling, so when my good friend passed me her great aunt's sketches for Neiman's during the 1930s, I was inspired more than ever,” Naasz says.
Naasz says her target consumer is the mature woman with an edited eye.
“I like highlighting the most flattering features of her figure. She is from the mid-20s to early 50s and the price point is better contemporary from mid $100 to $500. Given the price range, the collection is marketed toward a client that cares about the production of her clothing. All production for my line is done in Orange County to support local vendors and all fabrics are made of natural fibers.”
Her fashions can be found at On Que Style, a boutique in Corona Del Mar, J'Me boutique in San Mateo, Twirl Boutique in Sacramento, and Krizia boutique in Clinton, NY. The collection is also available online at www.aspiringcouture.com.
The journey began for Naasz when she found herself drawing dress designs instead of taking notes in history class.
“Those designs turned into 14 prom dresses two months later,” she recalls. “I love turning a piece of fabric into a dress, anything is possible, and no two designers see it the same way. I love that you can put an inspiration board in front of two designers and get two totally different creations.”
In between designing and teaching, she also is passionate about giving back to her community.
“This is not easy as a starting out designer, but I have come up with a way to maximize my donation capabilities. Normally, I would give a small amount to various charities, but I have decided to use that money to make a gown inspired by certain events each season, then auction them off and donate the much larger contributions to a related charity,” Naasz says.
For instance, being Persian, Naasz says she cares about the current events in Iran and started participating by cutting up strips of green fabric at her studio and screen-printing them with various messages such as 'justice for all', 'human rights in Iran', etc.
“I passed out about 1,000 at local rallies around the OC. Then, I designed and handmade a fully beaded emerald green gown inspired by the protest around the world for Iran,” she says. “I plan on auctioning it off at an event for the one year anniversary of the controversial election on June 12; and then donating 100 percent of the proceeds to a human rights group,” she says.
For fall, Naasz will be dedicating a dress to the people of Haiti.
“There are too many unfortunate things happening for me to blindly make clothes with no cause in mind,” she adds.
Grateful for being successful, Naasz says it is wonderful watching her creations walk down the runway.
“I can work 14 hours straight on a dress and when it’s finally done at 3:00 a.m., sitting on a mannequin in my studio, I just pause and stare at it for a minute. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to create things in your mind and see the real prototype of something that was just a thought hours ago.”
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran the family moved to California when she was nine, and she later went to high school in Tracy. Her undergrad studies were completed at San Diego State University and a Master’s of Fine Arts at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Naasz moved to the OC 4 years ago to work at St. John Knits and so her husband could attend Whittier Law School where he was awarded a full scholarship.
Of course, there are a few other things that Naasz hopes to accomplish in the near future in terms of her career.
“I’d like to show at local fashion week and in 5 years, I want to be in Saks Fifth Avenue,” she adds. “I’d like to be designing my line and making a comfortable living.”