Talking Powerful Silhouettes with Broemaand Pourtahmasebi

Creating powerful provoking silhouettes is key to the Broemaand Pourtahmasebi aesthetic. He reminds me of a young Raf Simons, passionate and driven, with an intriguing sense of mystery to him. He is in his third year of Fashion Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy, but his passion doesn’t end at academy parameters. His collection Narcissism shows a powerful female silhouette, based on the alchemy and beauty of the flower, featuring large lines and round architectural shapes, translating the large presence of the narcissistic ego.

His designs are part of an image, a vibe- with photography as a significant element of his creations. The model, the pose and emotions on the images form a totality, inseparable from one and other. In this he has artistically found himself in photographer Roxanne Letterie, a friend and a longstanding collaboration. His latest work Phoenix, as part of an assignment to design a casual everyday item- is evidence of Broemaand’s ability to turn a simple everyday item in to a sensual outspoken silhouette.

Broemaand and I have something in common, we’re both of Persian descent- so it comes as no surprise that Persian jokes and metaphors start rolling in to the conversation, as we meet in Rotterdam- my favorite city in the Netherlands- for it’s wildly creative atmosphere and impeccable architecture. We talk about Iran, menswear and his sharp and uninhibited aesthetics.

This is probably the most cliché question to start an interview- but I’m going to ask you anyway. What inspired you in to fashion?
I always loved drawing as a child, and it was always fashion or anatomy related. I actually first thought to apply for industrial design- thinking it’s better study for me, with more opportunities- then I did the general application exam and everything pointed to fashion. I couldn’t ignore the inner voice and the signs. I need to create things, something that people can see, feel and touch. It was then that I definitively knew that I wanted a career as a fashion designer.

You’re of Persian descent- born in the Netherlands. If you were in Iran today, do you think that you’d chosen the same path- to become be a designer? 
That is a tough question, but I think so- although I would have done things differently. I would make different thinks and present them differently.

Different in what way?
Well, you know my work- it would be too provocative with how things are in Iran at the moment- I would adjust my designs to the modest regulations and current socio-political climate- however without putting a restriction to my creative process.

Would you be able to work under restrictions- are restrictions a curse or a blessing?
The ideal situation is to have ultimate creative freedom, but sometimes restrictions can lead to beauty, because it pushes you to the boundless corners of your creativity. I’ve been to Iran a few times. Look at Persian designers in the country today, having to deal with so many restrictions in the country they have come up with different ways to convey their message, create beauty; from beautiful elegant garments, to wink’s at certain issues in society.

Is there a distinct signature to Persian design?
Persian design is often rich in the aesthetics, it’s very outspoken. There need not always be a message. But again this differs from designer to designer.

You’re currently in your third year at the academy – what goes through your head when you’re working on a concept, on assignments?
I’m an image thinker- everything starts in my mind in the shape of a photo. So in fact I start with a photo shoot in my head- thinking about colors, lights atmosphere and the kind of model, garment and poses fitting to the concept- and from there an image starts to shape and I base my designs and sketches on that image. In between I test my designs shooting with Roxanne – to see if it matches with what I have in mind. I’m obsessed with photography- it’s a crucial part of my creative process. In this I have found Roxanne Letterie, she’s an excellent photographer who knows exactly what I envision and we often inspire each other for new ideas on the spot, resulting in to an even better image. I should mention that for my latest assignment, Phoenix- I challenged my process and did everything in reverse, model and photography came as last.

Your silhouette for Narcissism, how is the concept translated in your designs?
I started thinking about what narcissism means to me. I grabbed a flower, because when I think of narcissism I think of beauty and then I think of flowers; beauty, desirability and an obsession with ones self image- that is all represented in a flower to me. I created big shapes, reflecting to a blown up ego- and I finished it with my photo presentation- expressing all kinds of poses related to self-love, creating an over empowering image of a woman that is carried by a shield of ego, where she hides behind.

Do you prefer designing womenswear or are you more drawn to menswear?
I used to think womenswear only- but I received a lot of positive reactions towards my Aquarius collection, which shows a strong provoking men’s silhouette from plastic and melted beads– this raised my interest and got me to look into menswear more. So I like both concepts, it’s important that you can master both.

You looked deeper in to menswear. What do you think about menswear today?
The majority of the menswear I see worn out today is very boring, conservative, perhaps conformist. Have a look at red carpets- the diversity among women’s style and outfits is immense- whereas all men wear the same thing over and over; suit and tie. There is no diversity in menswear, at least not off the runway in a bigger scale. Menswear should be more edgy, it doesn’t need to be sensual and feminine to be edgy, but it should make a statement and that can even be achieved in various ways- for starters by adding one crazy item to your look- a statement accessory for example.

Where do you think this element of conformism and conservatism in menswear comes from?
I think it’s a deep routed disposition in society, that women are supposed to be beautiful, that (positive) vanity is only reserved to women and that men should be men- not concerned with how they look. When a man takes care of himself and has a certain style- he’s often labeled as metrosexual or feminine- whereas women can get away with a lot more.

Today women have access to heels and sneakers, even men’s shoes- and dressing androgynous/tomboy-ish is accepted and not looked upon- It’s rather ‘cool’ or ‘edgy’- which is perfectly fine- but I’d also like to see that acceptability for men. I’m not saying that men need to dress up in women’s clothes to be different- but I’m saying that there is more ‘acceptable’ for women than there is for us men when it comes to style-diversity. I like the development around menswear though, there’s an evolution going on- look at menswear fashion week. This year there was a lot of diversity and innovation on the runway, breaking boundaries- creating more opportunities for men to express their individuality. 

Back to you, what is signature to Broemaand Pourtahmasebi?
I love to create strong aesthetics and powerful silhouettes– play with taboos and make a statement. My creations are not conservative, I don’t like hiding or diminishing beauty. I don’t like to hold back on something just because someone tells me that I shouldn’t do something or that it wouldn’t look pleasing. I don’t like to play safe.

Is there a house or designer that you look up to? If you could start somewhere tomorrow-where would that be?
I’m obsessed with Olivier Rousteing of Balmain- his designs are very different from mine – it’s very wearable- it’s beautiful, provocative and it always has a story- shaped in to impeccable aesthetics.

And what is it that you’d never do?
Sportswear- no – just no. And fast fashion – plain designs- I mean I don’t find those garments ugly – but it lacks creativity for me. I like to make statement clothing and I am obsessed with quality- thinking further than the garment itself.

I say fashion, you say?…
Fashion, to me, is self-expression. It’s what you communicate to others about yourself. Style or being stylish however, I find, without coming off pedantic- you’re born with. You have it or you don’t- just like talent.

What is according to you important in this career path?
At the core it’s ambition, you have to be ambitious if you want to succeed, a career-any career- doesn’t just happen- it happens if you want it to happen and it means working hard for it – putting your soul in to it. In process I would say “Get out of your comfort zone!”- it’s important to challenge yourself and not to be afraid to try new things and to challenge certain living ideas- even if you are going to be criticized for it.

If you like to follow Broemaand and stay updated on his designs, you can find him here on Instagram.


Design Broemaand Pourtahmasebi
Photography Roxanne Letterie
Model Alina Cherney maxmodels
Mua Keshia