Arab fashion designers are finally getting the global recognition they deserve, and Saudi-based designer Razan Alazzouni is no exception. Designs from her eponymous line- a collection of feminine, elegant, and whimsical pieces, have been worn by everyone from the region’s fashion-savvy to some of young Hollywood’s hottest trendsetters. Khaleejesque got an exclusive interview with Alazzouni and talked about her love for the arts, sources of inspiration and what she’s got planned for the future. You heard it here first, guys: Razan Alazzouni is going to be a big deal.
You studied art in-depth at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before pursuing a career in fashion design. When did you begin designing clothes and what propelled you to launch a clothing line?
I have always designed my own clothing growing up. I find it very difficult to find the exact thing I would want to wear in the market and always wanted to change or adapt things I found to what I already had in mind. My love for fashion was also evident in my artwork. Fashion was usually the subject that influenced most of my work. During my last year at university, my friend Nataliya Rovner asked me to design some dresses for her to wear to a few events. The success those dresses gained, as well as the support from my friends and family, made me decide to start my own clothing line.
In what way(s) do your designs reflect your artistic background?
My studies in art and art history support my designs. They constantly inspire me. I like to think of the clothing I design as a work of art instead of typical urban clothing you can find in the market. My background in sculpture and installations is the core of the structures I create using fabrics and beading.
Who or what inspires your designs?
Everything around me inspires my work! Art, light, and nature are things that constantly inspire my choice in colors, fabrics and cuts.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I would describe it as feminine, fluid, and dreamy. They are clothes you want to twirl and dance around in rather than pieces that restrict your movement and make you feel uncomfortable.
What kind of fabrics/materials do you enjoy working with the most?
I love working with silks as a fabric. It comes in so many different forms and gives me the fluidity of changing my cuts and designs according to its texture and feel. In terms of materials, I enjoy accenting my designs with beads to make them more unique and playful.
When do you know you’ve made it as a fashion designer?
When people recognize my clothes and style without reading the label!
What type of woman wears Razan Alazzouni?
The woman that wears Razan Alazzouni is a modern, stylish woman that wants to be different and unique in every way. I design for the fast-paced feminine women of our world. My collections consist of separate pieces that can be worn together or individually to compliment the wearer's lifestyle. They are articles of clothing that can easily transition from day to night, or formal to casual, depending on the way they are put together.
Name your favorite shopping destinations around the world.
I must say, my favorite shopping destination in the world is New York! You would be looking for something in particular and end up finding a hundred amazing and unique things you don't need but must have! I hear that Japan has an amazing shopping scene as well. That is a place I hope to visit soon, and I’ll let you know what I think when I do!
Starting your own clothing line must've been exciting. However, you must've gone through difficult challenges and learned a few lessons along the way. What advice do you have for aspiring young designers?
I would like to tell every aspiring designer to be optimistic and take every disappointment and hurdle they might face as a platform to learn from. When you think big and put your heart and soul into your work you will succeed in anything you put your mind to.
Name an article of clothing or an accessory you cannot live without?
There are four things I cannot live with out:
- My ruby graduation ring. I never take it off even if it doesn't match my outfit. I think of it as a part of my personality now.
- My Chanel flats. I always have a pair in my bag. They are the most comfortable thing to wear and they never go out of fashion!
- My Wolford Opaque Forming Slip, perfect under any dress!
- My leather Hermes notebook. I always have it in my bag to write down everything I like or think of wherever I am.
So what’s next for Razan Alazzouni? Any projects underway?
At the moment I am producing the samples for my Spring/Summer 2012 collection, so keep an eye out for that! I am also working on my first Ramadan fashion show that will take place on the 4th of August in Alshargiya, Saudi Arabia. I will be showcasing a collection of innovative and modern Ramadan Jalabiyas that portray the Razan Alazzouni brand’s style in a more ethnic way.
For more information about Designer Razan Alazzouni and where to purchase her designs check out her website, www.razanalazzouni.com.
– Sarah Al-Gwaiz
Image courtesy of Razan Alazzouni