He’s the designer bringing old-style glamour and sophistication to the homely, western suburbs of Melbourne. Salih Nesim is already on a blazing path to couture glory, having started his own independent label in 2012, and going on to win Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards Australia 2014, showcasing his work at Melbourne Fashion Week 2014 and Midsumma Festival 2014, as well as dressing the likes of Miss Asia Pacific and Miss Humanity Australia on the international stage – all at the ripe old age of 21 years old. In an attempt to make our over-21-year-old readers feel like blatant under-achievers, we spoke with Nesim to learn more about Melbourne’s own young Versace.

What’s your earliest memory relating to fashion and design?

I do remember back when I was around 7 or 8 years old, I did have an obsession with watching Fashion TV! Around that time, I do also remember that I had a lot of close relatives who were getting married. So I always hold memories very close to me of walking into the bridal boutiques and being surrounded by beautiful gowns. My mum always used to get her evening gowns made for whenever we had a family function or occasion. I remember walking into all these amazing shops with the most fabulous fabrics. To this day, I have slight vision and memories in my mind of what the fabric  looked like, and the detail that was on it.


Did you have any fashion mentors, like teachers or bosses, growing up?

To be honest, no not really. I had my first ever job when I was 15 at a bridal boutique on Sydney Road. That, I guess, was the first step into my career as a designer, and my first step into understanding the world of fashion was about – the basics of fashion, anyway.

When did you decide to take that first step and start your own label?
It was at the end of year 12 when I presented a collection of five garments that I had done over the year. I got such an amazing response to the garments I created, that it gave me the confidence to take the first step to begin my label.

Could you tell us about the Salih Nesim label and what kind of dresses you produce?
I guess the way I’d describe my garments would have to be show-stoppers that will always be remembered. People always know me for my elaborate and glamorous gowns. I really love to emphasise old school, Hollywood glamour.
What kind of person do you see wearing a Salih Nesim design?
The ‘Salih Nesim Woman’ is a woman who forever wants to create an everlasting impression.  Someone one who wants to create a statement. That to me is what the Salih Nesim label and woman is all about.

What inspires you to create?
I guess I’m always being inspired by all different things. I do really love culture, so I’d have to say culture would have to be my main source of inspiration.

What are some key milestones you’ve experienced?
There’s been so many, but I guess the key milestone would have to be when I won five awards at the 2014 Fashion Awards Australia. I entered under the TAFE Division and entered in three categories (Cutting Edge Tailoring, Race Wear And Long Gown). I placed 2nd in Cutting Edge Tailoring and Race Wear, and 1st and 2nd in Long Gown. I also won the title of Designer of the Year, it’s by far my most proudest moment to date.

Where do you see the Salih Nesim brand in five years time?

Wow, its really hard to say where I see my label in five years time…I mean I would love to have a boutique and huge clientele, but I’ve learnt over the years to take things as they come. I do hope to have a few red carpet appearances over the next five years – who knows really! But one thing for sure is that I know I will continue to create elaborate gowns, and push myself to become one of Australia’s most well-known designers.
One word to describe your label?
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