Meet the winners of the Oriental Red Carpet Awards. Read more…
Dubai Ladies Club, a member of the prestigious Dubai Women Establishment, recently organized an “Oriental Red Carpet Emerging Designer Contest” in Dubai. This contest whose sole purpose is to encourage local Fashion Designers ended with a debut of the three competition winners’ mini-collections to the public for the first time.
The three Emirati Winners won a rare opportunity to showcase their designs as well as a trip to Paris for an exclusive and private visit to Louis Vuitton’s historical workshops and boutique galleries.
Khaleejesque got a hold of two of the lucky winners Mariam Al Mazrou and Fatima Al Hashimi and asked them about their designs, the contest and their future plans as Fashion Designers.
Mariam Al Mazrou and Fatima Al Hashimi
Khaleejesque Team: What has inspired you to become a Fashion Designer?
Mariam Al Mazrou: I created one design in September 2006, and upon my family’s encouragement started reproducing it in different prints which I then eventually produced into a long dress. Encouraged further by my friends, I launched my brand “Mimi Fashion Designs” in February 2007 at the Sharjah Bride show.
Fatima Al Hashimi: I used to design for myself. My friends and relatives used to like what I wear and started asking me to design for them. I eventually started designing for others outside my circle and initiated my own fashion design business.
KT: Is it easy to design Oriental clothes as opposed to western more casual pieces?
MM: When I first launched my brand, I included pieces of Jalabiyas in my collection, which then became my main collection and what my brand is known for. The difference in my Jalabiya dresses is that they have more of an international appeal and can be worn by different nationalities and age groups. I agree, in general its much easier to design Western casual pieces, since they are worn by almost everyone and have a more marketing appeal.
FH: It is not easy designing Oriental clothes but this challenge encouraged me to be more creative.
KT: When designing your pieces, who do you target them to? Modest modern women, or traditional women?
MM: Both. As it is appealing to both. For a traditional women, a Jalabiya is a traditional concept that can also substitute for a dress. For a modern women, they would wear Jalabiyas to social occasions and gatherings.
FH: My target is simply any woman who wants to look beatiful and stunning.
KT: How did the crowds react to your pieces? What has the feedback been?
MM: I got positive feedback. For those who saw my collection for the first time, they were impressed. Plus since it’s the first time I take part in the ‘Oriental Red Carpet Fashion Awards”, I got a chance to actually see my own fashion show and observe the crowd’s reaction physically.
FH: I was very happy with the feedback, most of them loved my pieces, others were excited to visit my boutique.
KT: Is there a demand for such clothing internationally? Or has the demand been local/regional from around the Gulf?
MM: So far my customers are local and regional (Gulf area). But the “Oriental Fashion Red Carpet Awards” allowed my designs to reach an international crowd. I believe my designs have an international appeal to them, which further encourages me to find the right platform internationally to show-case my designs; whether it’s through short tops, jackets, short dresses, or my main collection of “Jalabiyas.”
FH: Mostly the demand is from the local market and Gulf countries. But my future plan is to push my designs and take them international.
KT: What will be your future plans? Are you going to continue designing?
MM: I have been designing since September 2006 with success after success, ending with the latest “Oriental Red Carpet Fashion Show” established by the Dubai Ladies Club to encourage UAE local designers. I find this an amazing and wonderful platform to showcase one’s talent, and wish that it will be a better and bigger event year after year. My plans is to market my designs locally in UAE in high-end retailers. Which I began already on in SAUCE boutique from July 2009.
FH: I already have a boutique with a good number of followers and customers who always encourage me to be more creative. I am planning to stock international designers ready to wear party dresses and wedding dresses from France, Spain and the USA. I am also currently discussing with some retail stores and boutiques in shopping malls to showcase my products.
KT: How can people get a hold of your designs?
MM: I have already produced 3 official collections since April 2008 and have been participating in Dubai Fashion Week for the past two seasons (i.e. October 2008 & April 2009) as well into my 3rd season with them next October 2009. Part of the collection show-cased in the “Oriental Red Carpet Fashion Show” are already stocked in SAUCE boutiques. Otherwise, for private appointments and designs you can email me at email@example.com
FH: If any one is interested in my designs they can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +971-508888642.
– Khaleejesque. Images courtesy of Dubai Ladies Club.