Standing out
Designer, founder of Burning Desire Designs and a part of the Guyana Together Campaign, Avinash “Nash” Narine
Designer, founder of Burning Desire Designs and a part of the Guyana Together Campaign, Avinash “Nash” Narine

Local designer talks about the importance of being unique in his craft and in his life

AT the age of 13, Avinash Narine began sewing dresses for his sister’s dolls. Today, he is a well-known fashion designer and fashion influencer in Guyana. Avinash has always wanted to be in the spotlight for as long as he can remember. He has always wanted to stand out and be unique. And so far, he has. Under his brand, Burning Desires Designs, Avinash has made countless pieces for people everywhere and has earned his place on the local fashion scene.

Avinash, or “Nash” as he more commonly known, came from humble beginnings. The fashion expert he is today is in stark contrast to the young man growing up under difficult situations in Berbice. His family was not in the best financial position in his youth. Although challenging, it has taught Avinash much about hard work, dedication and dealing with disappointments. Sewing was also among the lessons Avinash learned from his family. Both his mother and grandmother were seamstresses, and they taught him the skills he takes to the runway today.

Over the years, Avinash’s passion for fashion has continued to burn brightly, regardless of the challenges in the field. The driving force behind his dedication to fashion was the impact it could have on someone’s confidence. “You don’t have to be a millionaire to look like a million bucks. Fashion changes your whole personality. We have a long way to go. In the fashion industry in Guyana, in order for you to get somewhere, you have to know somebody. We are getting there slowly but surely. I have seen some of our designers move to the international stage, and I am really proud, because up until a couple of years ago, we were not being recognised. It is something that brings joy to me because I know that once some of us are moving the rest of us will follow,” he explained.

Avinash values individuality in both his personal life as well as in his work. This is perhaps why most of his pieces are one of a kind, but that requires a special skillset. Cutting each piece of fabric to measurement is Avinash’s most time-consuming aspect of fashion. He stated that, “Cutting takes up my time, but sewing is done very quickly. Take a simple cocktail dress, for instance, once I cut it, I can sew 15 in a day. I know what I am about. I do not do bulk things. Each and every customer has a different size. So, I have to measure this and measure that; I am doing small, medium and large. Every piece is individual and that means a lot to me.”

Avinash admitted that in the early stages of his career, he struggled with a few things. But with some bravery, hard work and wise words from his ill mother, he kept pushing forward. “I have been in fashion for about one, six or 17 years now and certain things that I did not know how to do, I have now mastered it [sic]. Cutting was one thing that when I started, I did not know how to do. Every weekend, I would go to my mother, and she would show me how to cut. My mother was undergoing surgery and she said to me, ‘I will not always be here and you need to learn to cut.’ And I went home that very night. I went home and learned to cut on newspaper. And today, I mastered it,” Avinash attested.

It is not just his work that stands out, but Avinash himself. Several years ago, Avinash came out to his family and friends as gay. Although he faced a backlash, it has not stopped him in his career. And he has even become a pioneer for other persons in the LGBTQIA+ community by joining the Guyana Together campaign. The campaign is geared towards exercising tolerance for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I feel proud to be part of any movement that not only champions rights and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but ultimately humanises what acceptance and support means,” Avinash stated. Guyana Together is done by the collaboration of many different associations, such as SASOD Guyana. The campaign showcases allies of the community and tells their stories. As a designer and a gay man, a movement such as this means the world to Avinash.

He stated that, “The Guyana Together campaign will have life-changing impacts for gay and trans people in this country. We have never seen real-life stories of allies accepting their gay and trans family, friends, colleagues and neighbours like this in the mainstream media before. This campaign will change hearts and minds and inspire others to be more respectful and accept the gay and trans people in their communities. As respect and acceptance increase, hatred, violence, and discrimination against gay and trans people will become a thing of the past.”


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