Atia Rahim is a Bengali model and experience designer/researcher from Sydney. Sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry is of huge importance to her (more on that below), and art, sunshine and making ceramics keeps her creative appetite sated.
When she’s not pouring her energy into her work and passions, the local honey sure knows how to carpe diem in our coastal city, with her highlights reel listed out for you below. But first! Have a gander at the sweet as pie pics of her hanging out in Pirrama Park in Pyrmont in a yellow and pink get up in the gallery above!
Where are you from? How do you think your upbringing helped to shape your worldview?
I was born and raised in Sydney, but I’m Bengali. My parents moved here from Bangladesh in the 80s after the Liberation War, which my dad fought in. Growing up, I was taught to fight for what I believe in, just like my parents did, and it’s really stuck with me.
Whereabouts are you based at the moment?
I still call Sydney home.
I hear that you're very interested in sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry, and especially in the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
You heard right. Rana Plaza was an absolute tragedy where people lost their lives due to the greed of society. It’s so easy to hear about these tragedies and think you are too far removed from it to do anything. To be honest, I thought that for a while. It really wasn’t until I did an essay on Rana Plaza, and delved into sustainability and responsibility within the global fashion industry, that I really understood the extent of the issue.
My motherland, Bangladesh, is one of the biggest textile manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately, those who work in this industry are subject to dangerous working conditions and receive below a living wage for their efforts. With governments taking a backseat, and corporates absolving themselves of responsibility, onus falls largely on individuals to be more mindful of their consumption.
Of course, being sustainable and ethical in regards fashion in our modern world is incredibly complex. While we can’t be perfect, we can always be better. At a minimum, being mindful, doing your research, and demanding respect for the people who make your clothes are things most of us can engage in to be more ethical and sustainable in regards to fashion.
Outside of modelling, what do you do for work? What excites you most about your work? And, what do you find most challenging?
I’m an experience designer and researcher. I’ve always been interested in humans—how they think, what they feel—and the most exciting thing about my work is that I get to constantly explore this, while surrounded by other creative souls.
I love what I do, so the most challenging thing is definitely just switching off.
And, when you're not working at all, how do you spend your time?
Making ceramics and spending time with my loved ones.
Top three places to eat, drink and shop in Sydney?
Pastizzi Cafe to eat, Continental Deli to drink, and op-shops/antique stores to shop (of course).
What does your ideal day in Sydney look like?
A late start, lots of sunshine, and gazing at art.
Where would you take someone visiting for the first time?
It depends on who and what day, but I’d probably take them out for a cute dinner around Newtown and figure the rest out from there.
How do you unwind?
By lighting a candle and listening to the radio.
Best coffee in Sydney can be found at...
Neighbourhood in Surry Hills.
Best place to read a book/magazine is...
Spend an afternoon walking in/around...
The MCA or AGNSW.
The best cheap feed...
The pastizzis at Pastizzi Cafe.
And to treat yourself, go to...
Continental Deli’s bistro.
McIver’s Ladies Baths.
Go for an afternoon cocktail at...
For brunch the next day, go to...
Two Chaps, Cornersmith or Shenkin.
Cutest date day consists of...
A picnic with champagne.
Words: Maddy Woon Photos: Brigette Clark Fashion: Chloe Hill
Atia is represented by Stone Street
Shot on location at Pirrama Park, Pyrmont, NSW