If you haven’t heard of the Australian label Dyspnea, you’ve definitely seen it on some of fashion and Hollywood’s boldest personalities. From Miley Cyrus to Dua Lipa, these looks are not for the faint of heart. The wearable candy (figuratively speaking) is the stuff of every manic pixie dream girl’s most beaux rêves, but with an undeniable empowered edge. The über feminine line is brought to you by designer duo, Jameen Zalfen and Rachel Motteram. We caught up with Jameen to talk about the origin of the brand, working in fashion, and being an all-around badass in life.

J.R: So Jameen, how did you break into designing?

J.Z: We studied Textile and Design and fell into our brand. It certainly wasn’t planned. Not the most ideal way to break into Fashion that’s for sure, don’t try this at home!

J.R: You’re Australian, but you’re based in Bali. What prompted the move?

J.Z: The cost of living and allowing me to work on the brand full-time!

J.R: Your label is called Dyspnea. How did you come up with the name?  

J.Z: We came across the word on google and the meaning “shortness of breath,” [which] really reflected how we designed our pieces. It keeps us focused through each collection.

J.R: Feminist isn’t a word you often associate with a brand, but Dyspnea has a definite feminist edge. Is that intentional?

J.Z: Right from the beginning, we wanted to empower women before it had become trendy on Instagram. It organically shaped itself into what it is now, which is beautiful, and from that we grew a like minded following.  

J.R: Speaking of Instagram, what is the “Pussy Posse?” I see a lot of references to that on your Instagram and in the collection itself.

J.Z: No judgments, no rules, no expectations. Opinions [are] of course allowed. It is a mindset of “You do you, girl,” as long as no one is hurt in the process.

J.R: Who or what inspires you creatively?

J.Z: Honestly whatever makes us feel good. Perhaps we like underwire cups and the way they make your ta-tas sit, so we work around that for a few months and release styles around this one component or technique. We don’t follow trends.  Baby pink’s been ours for five years now.

J.R: What have been your greatest career highs with the label?  

J.Z: Definitely our four MBFWA shows.

J.R: Can you tell us anything juicy about the fall collection?

J.Z: It’s mini and even sparklier and boned.

J.R: What are three things on your career bucket list?

J.Z: Owning a store front, NnYFW, [and] a shoe collection.

J.R:What are three things on your life bucket list?

J.Z: Living abroad, kiddies, having a farm for abandoned animals.

J.R: If you could dress anyone, who would it be?

J.Z: I kind of hate this question.. I think we don’t push our pieces on anyone. We want the person to genuinely WANT to wear our pieces and reach out to us (Thank god for DM’s, hey) and o keep coming back for more because they can’t get enough. Hence, Miley Cyrus rocking our world. It’s not a one-hit-wonder. So maybe our fave people so far have been Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa (Paris Hilton defs in the works), Azealia Banks, Flexi Mami…

J.R: What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring designers?

J.Z:Don’t rush. Just because everything’s a lot more instant and successes appear to happen overnight these days, it doesn’t mean you need to be too.

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    Julia Reiss

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