Humaira Khan was selected as one of five students in her year group to create a design for V&A Dundee based on 1960s fashion designer Mary Quant and what she might do now if she were still working in fashion.
Humaira and her husband were pharmacists in Pakistan before his business brought them to the UK. Before leaving Pakistan Humaira worked at pharmaceutical company GSK – now, she is a textile designer in Dundee.
Humaira relocated with her husband and two sons, the youngest of whom was just four months old at the time. Upon arriving in the UK, Humaira became a stay-at-home mum in order to settle her family into their new life. Humaria has her eldest son to thank for her dream of becoming a designer coming true. When he started secondary school (at the same time her youngest was starting primary school) he said refused to move cities again, citing his schooling and social networks as the reasons to stay in Dundee.
With both boys being happy in school and her husband being kept busy at work, Humaira began to think about what she wanted to do next. She decided to follow her dream of applying to study textiles.
Humaira said, “I worked for 10 years as a pharmacist and I enjoyed it a lot, but I was always fascinated by design.
“I find stitching, sewing and making things very enjoyable. I’ve always admired textile design and thought a lot about what it would be like to do it as a job.
“It was my dream to apply to the textile design course at DJCAD. It had only ever been a hobby before, because at the time I was studying pharmaceuticals in Pakistan there were no opportunities to study textiles. It just wasn’t an option, so I was really happy when I received my letter of admission. There is nothing else I want to do. This is my dream.”
Now in her third year at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee, Humaira is one of five students in her year group chosen to create a design for the upcoming Mary Quant exhibition at V&A Dundee. One aspect of the design process that stood out to her was the creation of colours for her design. In creating her dyes from scratch, Humaira found there to be a link between her two worlds of science and art.
She said, “Measuring dyes in the lab was exactly like my work as a production pharmacist in which I handled all the raw materials in point zero one to thousands of litres. This experience formed an excellent basis for dyes I created for this project. Though it’s a complex process, I didn’t experience any difficulties.”
After the exhibition this year and graduation next, Humaira plans to establish her own textile design business.
“I want to do something with innovation and sustainability,” she said. “I want to make items that avoid landfill, I want to make longer-lasting products.
“I want my work to be loved all the way through the process. It’s made with love. And then it goes to a loving home, where it is loved for years to come.”