Growing up having a fashion brand or even a business always seemed like a distant dream for me. It was a cool thing to talk about, but I never thought I’d ever get the opportunity or give myself the chance to strive for something that seemed too far fetched.
I was always an admirer of fashion. I would always try to create my own outfits inspired by whatever was in fashion or trending. During my exploration phase of different styles I discovered an avid love for street fashion. It seemed to be the style that fit most comfortably with me as a person. I love my trainers and oversized tees and jumpers, my oversized jackets and hoodies. Layering up my outfits and streetwear just made creating outfits a whole load more interesting.
Unfortunately I also suffered from being bullied. In school I was chastised for being an Asian minority and not being the most clever. My family didn’t have a lot, so I never had the latest trainers or gadgets and I got picked on for that too.
In the Asian community having dark skin isn’t particularly a favoured feature, therefore I faced a huge amount of discrimination from people of my own community growing up. All of these things had a significant impact on my general confidence as a young person. I never felt pretty or good enough. But it didn’t stop me from being a passionate and positive child.
"A brand born out of one woman's passion to overcome stereotype and adversity - championing diversity and embracing change."
As my love for fashion continued to grow, so did my dream to one day own a fashion brand. However being a new graduate and young person struggling to find a stable career prospect to focus on, funding a business seemed way out of my league. I continued to talk myself out of the idea, I was too scared to take the leap, I was scared of failure. I believed I was made for something big but I couldn’t convince myself that this was it.
I fell into the trap that so many young people do. I took up a job offer in the corporate sales industry. Telling myself this was just a temporary venture for six months until I was ready to start the brand. Two and a half years later I was still there. I was stuck.
The turning point in my life was in January 2017. I had suddenly lost my youngest sister Abida, passing away from a cause which was never diagnosed. To this day my family and I are left with very little information on what actually took our beloved little Abida.
This experience put me in a very dark place, contemplating my entire life as I struggled to accept the loss. However I soon realised that life is far too short to dwell on the “what if’s”, my little sister may have been taken from us, but her memory hadn’t. Fuelling the flame within me, I had the burning urge to make something of myself.
Losing my sister was the toughest hurdle I had faced in my life. But it has also made me the driven and hard working person I am today. I knew at that point I wanted to do something that will make a positive different to the world.
I knew I had to make Tahmina Arts happen.
In April 2017 I stared the brand on pure impulse. I was full of adrenaline and energy. With very little planning, I put everything needed together within two days. The only thing I was certain about was that I wanted the brand to signify the fusion of East meets West. I would use the details of intricate henna art and combine it with western street fashion. The brand saw initial huge growth receiving critical acclaim. But shortly after, everything came to a standstill as I had no direction of where the brand was heading, I had missed so many critical planning points. Basically I had no idea what I was doing.
In January 2018 I relaunched the brand with a planned approach, a much clearer vision and an ethos that came from the heart. Tahmina Arts became a brand that championed positive body image, courage, confidence and the notion of being fearless and utterly badass. This is when “A Lifestyle for the Fearless” was born, a strap line that sums up what the brand aims to achieve. The brand now encourages people to feel good in their own skin, to feel confident being the true version of themselves. To find the fire that burns within them, to have the ability to look in the mirror and love what they see, regardless of what others see or feel. Choosing models from all backgrounds and walks of life to represent our brand, Tahmina Arts has touched the lives of many people we have worked with. I faced discrimination growing up and through my brand I aim to challenge this injustice, supporting and valuing people from whatever walk of life they are from.
Since our relaunch Tahmina Arts has been recognised on a much bigger scale, with features in fashion and entrepreneurial magazines, radio shows and various campaigns. We have collaborated with other established brands. We have also been awarded the ABC Arts and Culture Award 2018 and Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 by The Millennial’s Club.
The brand is on an uphill journey to create awareness of positive body image, to build an army of super badass and super fearless individuals and most importantly to implement positive changes in the world.
I worked with Tahmina last year on her Face Your Fear shoot. With not much modelling experience, I was slightly nervous and hesitant about doing the shoot however Tahmina made me, and everyone else, feel so comfortable on the day. She was always there giving us compliments and boosting our confidence to really help us shine. I can honestly say she was one of the nicest people I've ever met and after just a few hours I felt like I'd known her for years! She even went out her way to make sure we were all fed and watered throughout the duration of the shoot (her sandwiches were to die for!). All in all, Tahmina is an amazing and inspirational person and I hope she continues to thrive in everything she does.
Vikas Kumar MBE
Director of GemArts
Tahmina is an incredibly talented young woman who is a real positive role model within the Asian and wider community. She is a creative force and shows exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, from establishing her own clothing brand to delivering arts workshops in the community, to presenting on radio, and writing poetry focusing on identity, politics and social events. Tahmina exemplifies excellence, hard work, dedication and a can do attitude in all her work.
I'm delighted that we are collaborating with Tahmina to co-curate her brilliant spoken word poetry night, Strictly Spoken, at GemArts award winning Masala Festival in July 2019. It's a fantastic opportunity to showcase Tahmina' s outstanding talent, as well as presenting a stellar line up of North East based spoken word artists exploring their own South Asian culture and heritage.
Hustle and heart! Those are the first two words that spring to mind when I think of Tahmina and her brand. She fiercely walks her walk and I have no doubt in my mind that she will keep going until she reaches new heights.
I feel privileged to have worked with Tahmina on a few of her projects now - both days have been filled with banter and laughter, and it’s inspiring to see her working when she’s in her zone. She’s got her eye on the prize and it’s empowering to be apart of.
I worked with Tahmina as a photographer creating content for her 'Face Your Fear' clothing collection. Her passion for the project coupled with her creative styling energised the team and was undoubtedly key to a successful day.
Councillor Shumel Rahman
Tahmina is an inspiration to work with from her multi disciplinary approach to culture and arts, to her social activism, speaking on various platforms through her creative spoken word. I have worked with Tahmina on a number of projects and she has always excelled herself in her creativity and professionalism. She has created a niche in the North East for herself and is dynamic as well as progressive in her approach to developing all forms of art she is involved with. I’m extremely proud to now call Tahmina a friend and really welcome working with her in the future.
I have known Tahmina for around 10 years. In that time I have had the privilege to watch her grow not only as a person but as an artist, a volunteer, a spoken poet, an event organiser, a business woman, and an entrepreneur.
To say she is an inspiration to not only the Asian community but young women in general is an understatement! No matter what hardship does her way she faces each obstacle with strength and determination.
I worked with Tahmina on one of her video projects and photoshoot for her clothing brand Tahmina Arts and her organisational skills and perfect planning were evident throughout.
I hope I have the honour to work with her again and watch her journey to success.
I met Tahmina over a year ago now and we have collaborated on numerous photo shoots and catwalks. Tahmina has been great to work with, she is creative, driven and such a genuine person and I now call her a friend and always look forward to working with Tahmina.