Design Editor, Sami Armstrong, meets with presenter and up-and-coming documentary filmmaker Arzu Qaderi to talk life tactics, creative survival and her journey to empower women around the world.

We find ourselves a spot to chat in the heart of London’s Soho at 10:30am on a sunny, yet fresh Sunday morning. Our window table is placed up against the trendy raw red brick interior, right in the firing line of the sun’s spotlight on this chilly morning. My much needed coffee for my not so chaotic day has been ordered along with the green tea for the elegant and energetic Afghan-German Arzu Qaderi.

As a presenter and upcoming documentary filmmaker, this is a woman on one very exciting journey. However, I am here to talk to her about her experiences so far in the fashion industry and how that has spurred on her latest creative vision.

With her family originating from Afghanistan, Arzu Qaderi was raised in Germany. Having grown up in a very female dominated environment amongst sisters, strength and confidence were always encouraged and ultimately fed Arzu’s ambition to move to London. The city inspires, excites and drives her, ultimately facilitating an incredible opportunity to network.

Arzu Qaderi at the House of Opiah fashion show wearing Chica Michelle.

A career move towards the fashion industry provided opportunities to work within production and events for the House of Opiah’s first annual fashion show. Her first formal introduction into a fashion-focused environment proved enlightening as it highlighted the indifference between the strong, independent, fortunate women from our society compared with those from other backgrounds and cultures.

During her time at House of Opiah, Arzu worked alongside many designers, including Chica Michelle at the Vibe Gallery here in London. China Michelle created her own opportunities in the face of huge challenges. This is something Qaderi has been inspired by and has always remained positive and calm when under high levels of pressure.

Arzu’s experience working on Africa Fashion Week led to becoming a presenter on the TV show, Fashion Afrik. This new venture for Arzu proved a really incredible way to immerse herself within the fashion world as she set up interview opportunities with creatives from across the globe including India, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Life as a Presenter for Fashion Afrik. Arzu has interviewed many successful Designers, Models and Creative’s from the industry.

As a creative, being asked to talk about your practice can be very difficult because artists and designers are often their own worst critics. However, Arzu has an ability to make you feel very comfortable very quickly. This was a huge asset to Arzu and her work here, amplifying her journey to immerse herself within the fashion industry alongside female representation, opportunity and expectation within the demands of the fashion industry across cultures.

Arzu Qaderi receiving a Citation Award from the Federal Government of Ottawa Canada for her contributions to the Fashion & Media Industry.

The story of Arzu Qaderi has not always been plain sailing. Challenges are natural and essential elements of our learning and, ultimately, success. My time with Arzu certainly revealed that in order to succeed you must occasionally fall. In order to become stronger and better you may sometimes be forced to deal with criticism and rejection. Learning to approach difficult situations with positivity and having an understanding of your own ability is so important.

With international women’s day fast approaching on 8th March and this year marking the centenary of women gaining the right to vote in Great Britain and Ireland, Arzu presents her interpretation of female empowerment through a new documentary. The film focuses on independent Afghan women who work in the media and entertainment industry and how they overcome their challenges despite Afghanistan being a male dominated country. This is going to be particularly exciting as Arzu has interviewed all these women in person whilst she was in Kabul during her trip in September 2017. This trip was not only for filming her upcoming documentary but her very first trip to Afghanistan.

The desire to inspire confidence, freedom and independence amongst women remains important to Arzu and her documentary promises to be another advocate of the cause.

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A Thank you to Arzu Qaderi for spending time with the team here at Miro.