Young designer, Hafsa Lodi has already established a name for herself. Based in Dubai, her passion for designing started at avery young age and today Lodi juggles two very different professions-designing clothes and journalism. Her designs retail at one of Dubai's trendiest boutiques S@uce and her articles have been published in different magazines in the UAE and abroad. Khaleejesque sat down with Hafsa Lodi recently to find out how she manages it all.
How did you venture into designing clothes?
When I was 9 years old and living in Texas, my mother put me into sewing classes. At first I hated it, but gradually grew to loving it! Because we moved a lot around the U.S., and then to Dubai, I got busy with school and stopped sewing. But one summer in Dubai, when all of my friends were out of town, I started it up again out of sheer boredom, and by the end of the summer, had completed my first collection.
Tell us about your other passion, and how you balance
time between designing and writing?
Writing has always been a passion, but I couldn't image spending all of my time writing. The same way, I couldn't imagine designing full-time, with no other hobbies or side jobs. It's not too hard to balance, since I usually only write about things that interest me—fashion, lifestyle, religion, and women's issues, and only produce one or two small-scale collections each year.
Give us some details on the latest collection for Spring/Summer 2013.
This year's Spring/Summer and Ramadan collections have been based around a textile I had screen printed with sentences in Arabic, saying things like "I wear lavender lipstick," "I write in fountain pens," "I eat cupcakes for breakfast," "I wear my mom's pearls," etc. I wanted to describe today's eclectic and inspired style, one that's starting to break into mainstream fashion crowds. I used a lot of hand embellishments on collars and on the back of denim vests, making them truly one-of-a-kind designs.
Where do you get inspiration for your collection?
I'm inspired by prints, fabrics and embellishments that I use. I go to the markets looking for fabrics often without any design in mind, but when I see a print, I start planning how I'd like it to take shape, and in what silhouette. In the same way if I see a unique bead, or beautiful lace, I think about how best to highlight it in a fashion-forward design.
How long does it usually take you to design a complete collection?
Since I work alone and travel a lot, I produce the collections in
small quantities. It usually takes about 2 months.
What is your favorite trend these days?
My favourite trends are pastel colour palettes, mystical animal motifs, oversized sports jersey tops and kawaii nail art.
What is the oldest item in your closet?
A Givenchy black and white crocodile leather purse that was my grandmother's.
What celebrity would you want to dress in your clothes?
Rita Ora- her style is fun and unique, but not over the top.
Who is your personal favorite designer?
Right now, Ashish, Clover Canyon and Holly Fulton.
As a new designer did you find it difficult to break into a market that is so brand conscious?
I think that's the best part of breaking into the market here. Because everybody in the Middle East is so brand conscious, women often end up buying the same clothes and dressing in the same styles. It becomes really monotonous, and that's why new brands and designers that are unique and different, but still speak to Eastern cultures and trends, are appealing to women in the region. I think the trend is no longer to buy the latest Valentino shoe or Kenzo sweater, but to buy clothing that no one else has, or is hard to find.
Describe the woman who wears Hafsa Lodi.
She gets bored easily with mainstream shopping, and hunts out designs that are special. She likes standing out, and she's feminine but tough. Her outfits are often a juxtaposition of sleek, sporty wear with a sweet, girly touch, and she can't leave the house without wearing metallics or glitter.
For more information on Hafsa Lodi and her fashion label, check out her website.