Hello friends! We know this is a particularly challenging time and at the Detroit Center for Design + Technology we hope to make it a little brighter by fostering some connections and sharing good news among our art, design and small business communities. One way we’re doing that is a new feature we call @Home with… And for our first installment, we spotted Designer Nabeela Najjar making something beautiful at a time when masks and staying healthy are top of mind.
@Home with Nabeela Najjar
Nabeela Najjar is best known as SeamstressBeela. She is a Detroit-based fashion and costume designer. We caught up with her after we noticed Najjar using her talents to create elaborate floral masks during a time of self-quarantine. It’s one way she’s passing time she awaits materials to help sew masks to donate to local health care workers. Here’s what we learned about SeamstressBeela:
DCDT: Where are working from these days?
NN: “Luckily. I have a sewing studio in my home. I’ve been spending most of my days in there sewing with all this free time.”
DCDT: Tell us about the floral masks we’re seeing on your Instagram feed.
NN: “A friend of mine who is a part of this small union called Autonomous Design Union reached out to me about making masks to donate to local medical workers. They’re supplying materials, and while I’ve been waiting to receive them, I had the idea to create a mask in my style! I’m always inspired by florals so with everything going on I just wanted to make something pretty and bright to take some negativity away!”
In light of the concerns surrounding COVID-19 the staff at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology we wanted to share our tips to help others who might be transitioning their work from office to home.
Andrea Bogart, manager of the DCDT, prefers in-person connections and spend most days at the center, but during this challenging time, most communication can be done through phone calls and email to manage business. She shared some valuable information from those who are making the switch for the first time:
Create a quiet space dedicated to your work.
Be sure you are armed with the technology you need to work from home and set it up in a space you dedicate only to your work. This might be an office with a door or a corner of a common space. Make arrangements for a private location should you need to make work calls or video-conference at any given time.
“Dedicate a space for work so that’s all you do in that area,” said Bogart. “I have a small home office that I share with my husband and when I enter that room and sit at my desk, I’m in work mode.”
ARC DESIGN STUDIOS
Founder, Amanda Curtis
Lawrence Technological University's Detroit Center for Design + Technology presented our Holiday Window Walk in Capital Park, Detroit this past winter to give local designers the opportunity to engage the community through store front windows during the month of December. Through public, social media and professional judging, we awarded our first place prize of $1,000 to Amanda Curtis, Founder of ARC Design Studios for her work with City Bark!
Andrea: Tell us about ARC Design Studios
Amanda: It’s going to be a studio that supports a variety of different project by offering a large array of important services such as interior design and merchandising which will allow me to build my design around their goals. When I work with a a client, I begin my vision from listening to the people I work with. I work out "who" are THEY trying to capture the attention of, and work out from there. It's important to affect people personally and make strong connections through creativity.
Andrea: What enticed you to apply for the HWW?
Amanda: I was actually in transition, having just moved back to Detroit but I knew I would have to get involved so I visited Design Core and heard about the Holiday Window Walk application opportunity. Excited, I emailed the DCDT to get more information. Retail merchandising is my background so when I saw opportunity to use merchandising and the ability to compete against designers working in different mediums and genres, I jumped on it! Plus it was refreshing to work with a smaller store since I'm used to a larger company standards and rules. Plus it was Christmas and I love Christmas!
Andrea: What did you enjoy about the business you were paired with?
Amanda: Working with Jamie Judson, the owner of City Bark was an awesome experience. I got lucky because she was very flexible with her time and she let me take control of the process. She gave input when I asked and was responsive plus she created special events for her guests centered around the design build and reveal! That brought a LOT more attention to the project and allowed me to wrap myself into her business, too.
Jaime and I wanted to incorporate her regular clients and new clients. She ran a contest on social media asking for doggie models and gave their owners a discount to her shop. Jaime asked them to participate by writing letters in their pet's voice. Their letters were also used for the actual window design so that anyone who wasn’t chosen as a model were still part of the display. They could see their letter when they walked by.