Inspiring Inclusion: Women Shaping the Design Landscape

Celebrating Cultural Heritage with Sauda Imam

International Women’s Day 2024 is coming up this week, with this year’s edition honouring the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’.

We’ve spoken to a number of inspirational members of the #NDCommunity who have shared their experiences of being a woman in the design industry, and what inspires them to forge a more inclusive future. In this series of interviews, meet the individuals who are breaking down barriers and driving inclusion in their practices to shape the future of design with creativity and resilience.

Sauda Imam is a Textile Designer who intricately weaves narratives of cultural heritage and contemporary design. Hailing from Nigeria and sculpted by experiences at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, Sauda’s work serves as a vibrant bridge between tradition and innovation.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, what does this mean to you?

‘Inspire Inclusion’ resonates deeply with me and my business. Inclusion means creating spaces where diverse voices are heard, valued and celebrated. In my work, I strive to promote inclusivity by embracing diversity in design and fostering environments where everyone feels welcome and represented.’

Is there a particular woman in the design world that inspires you?

‘Deola Sagoe is a constant inspiration to me. Like me, she is Nigerian, and her use of woven textiles to create spectacular fashion is both culturally rich and globally impactful. Her ability to seamlessly blend tradition with contemporary design is truly admirable and motivates me to infuse my work with a similar cultural authenticity.’

What piece of advice would you give to women pursuing a career in the design world?

‘My advice to women pursuing a career in the design world is to trust your unique voice and vision. Embrace your strengths, stay resilient in the face of challenges and never underestimate the power of collaboration and mentorship.’

Is there a particular woman designer or women-run design business you’d like to give a shout out to?

‘I’d like to give a heartfelt shout-out to Shade Thomas-Fahm, a trailblazing Nigerian fashion designer often regarded as Nigeria’s first modern fashion designer and pioneer. Her impactful contributions to the industry, coupled with her innovative designs, have left a memorable mark on the world of fashion. Shade Thomas-Fahm’s legacy inspires me to celebrate my cultural heritage through design and make a meaningful impact in the creative realm.’

To experience Sauda’s work for yourself, join us at New Designers 2024 where she will be exhibiting her designs as part of ND Selects. Learn more below.

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