As company founder, CEO and Creative Director of Critics Clothing, Samanah Duran is a successful businesswoman who is hugely passionate about fashion.
Placing fierce emphasis on inspiring each individual to embrace their identity and to take pride in their individuality, she creates innovative clothing, revolutionised through the crafting of indulgent street-wear with the power to evoke self-expression.
Building on that inspiration as an extension of Critics Clothing, Samanah has now successfully launched #BEYOUROWN — the new platform brought to you by the most affluential, influential and entrepreneurial women of today — and Samanah kindly agreed to this interview to chat inspirations, favourite garments and Critics Clothing’s future.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Samanah Duran: My name is Samanah Duran. I am the Founder and CEO of Critics Clothing and recently launched platform #BEYOUROWN.
PW: You recently launched #BEYOUROWN, a platform for interviewing inspirational women. What is it about?
SD: #BEYOUROWN, as a movement, is about supporting women out there on a mission with a vision. I curated it to help inspire other young women out there and to offer advice and shed some insights on being an entrepreneur just from my own experiences and that of others. I think it is really important to give back and help others much as you can, so, by getting other women in business on board to interview who are just as passionate about changing the way women in business think, I really feel it can really help this and the next generation of business savvy women out there.
PW: What is it about fashion that you like so much?
SD: If I’m honest, what I really love is the way that fashion can really make you feel so liberated and free. The way we all wear different trends or colours or textures or fabrics really tells a lot about the person we are. I believe, for me, fashion is a way to evoke self-expression.
PW: What, to you, is the most important thing people should or need to understand about fashion?
SD: The question is “Does fashion really need to be understood?” We interpret what is classed as “Fashion” in so many different ways that I think it’s down to the individual in particular as to how they see it through their eyes.
PW: How would you say your own fashion tastes have evolved over time, and does that evolution filter into the garments you create?
SD: As I have progressed on and evolved more through my own personal stages, that has filtered down into the designing of the garments. I honestly wouldn’t ever design anything that I myself wouldn’t wear. Monochrome is always staple in any wardrobe; this palette will always be popular, and I just love black white and grey. I did release a mixture of red and navy in Critics Collection 2 and possibly will add a couple of different shades in the future but right now it is predominately black.
PW: Do you have a wardrobe staple that you return to time and time again?
SD: My Critics Phuck Y’all Paparazzi T-shirt! I truly feel empowered whilst wearing it.
PW: Which one item should everyone have in their wardrobe?
SD: A Critics Phuck Y’all Paparazzi T-shirt of course!
PW: Do you have any favourite designers, and have they influenced you in any way?
SD: I really admire Raf Simons, Virgil Abloh, Alexander McQueen, Diane Von Furstenburg, Victoria Beckham and, of course, our very own British queen of punk fashion, Vivienne Westwood.
PW: When did you first realise that you wanted to make a fashion your career?
SD: For me, it was never about working for someone else. I wanted to build my own empire. I had experience working in the creative industry from a young age, doing modeling and presenting, and it got really tiresome to be doing something just for the sake of earning money but not really truly being able to be myself and do what I really wanted to do. I used that platform and my network ranging from models to photographers and key influencers that I had built up as a gateway entry to starting Critics Clothing. I took everything I knew about marketing and PR with me and began building Critics Clothing. I didn’t calculate any risk factors when I first started Critics Clothing because I really believed in just going out there and not taking no for an answer. People need to remember it’s easy to put a logo on a t-shirt but to develop a brand takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, patience, tenacity and a lot of really going out there to get what you want.
PW: Tell me about Critics Clothing.
SD: Critics Clothing accurately conveys a powerful message to take pride in your identity, demonstrated through an intricate blend of simplistic and traditional but assertive styles. The Critics name, itself, derives from the word “critic,” and Critics believes that we should express who we are as human beings as freely as we want to and unapologetically “BE YOUR OWN.”
PW: Is there any one item you favour over the others, and, if so, which is it and why?
SD: I’m proud of all of my designs but the Critics Phuck Y’all Paparrazzi T-shirt. It is so simple but it effective.
PW: Who would you say Critics Clothing is aimed at?
SD: Anyone who is aiming not to fit in! It is unisex; it’s smart, cool, classy and has a luxury feel to it, also. I do have two separate divisions of Critics Clothing, which are the Classic range and the Exclusive range — both very similar, but the Exclusive range offers the garments as a limited collection, and they do not ever get produced again once they are sold. The Classic collection offers a smaller collection which will always to be available to buy as staple pieces.
PW: How has social media helped get the word about you and your brand?
SD: Social media has played a massive part, but you have to be so clued up as to how to utilise to its maximum potential. It’s really important to have a strategic social media plan. I believe in quality over quantity, so I don’t post every day, and the content I do post is relevant to either Critics Clothing or #BEYOUROWN and the lifestyle within the brand.
PW: Finally, what are your plans for the brand in 2016 and beyond?
SD: I believe evolution is key. To be honest, I’m really happy I didn’t know how Critics Clothing would turn out. I am never one to be complacent; life can change in an instant. So, for the moment, I will continue to take risks and make spontaneous choices and work smart to accomplish the goals I have set out to achieve.