Canadian womenswear designer, Erdem Moralioglu, met with us during his recent trip to AlOthman Boutique in Kuwait to give us insight into the man behind the name.
What’s your first impression of Kuwait?
It’s very warm, sunny, and really close to the sea.
How does the fashion scene in the Middle East differ from that abroad?
I’d love to say that I’m in a position to comment but this is hour four (since arriving to the region) so I can’t say I’ve formed an opinion but I can say from having worked with AlOthman Boutique that we’ve had great support since the beginning and what I’ve noticed from working with them is this total belief in the runway looks and wanting the absolute, most special pieces from the show and that’s such a refreshing thing. There’s always been a daringness and want for things that are special and colorful and pieces that have a human hand to them.
What do you love about AlOthman Butique?
That they are daring, willing to invest in special pieces, they always choose and curate the best pieces from the collection. Noor and Rashad have an extraordinary eye, it’s a privilege to work with them.
The one person you’ve worked with who taught you the most?
I learn from everyone I work with, I work with such a great team. When I was a student I had an amazing professor, who is Head of Fashion at the Royal College, who pushed me forward and told me to push myself. That idea of channeling my hunger for fashion.
The one trick you’ve learned along the way?
Follow your gut. If you instincts are telling you something then go for it.
The one tip you’d give to aspiring designers?
Work in the industry before you set up your own label and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Be really nosy, I ask questions all day long. Most of my day is spent asking people questions.
Clothing item: Dress
Season: All for different reasons
Competitor: I don't have one, we’re all friends
Your guilty pleasure when:
At home? Reality TV
At work? Listening to really bad music
At a hotel? Room service
At a restaurant? Over ordering
Was it important for you to work with other designers before starting your own label?
Definitely, gaining experience outside of starting my own label was a good thing. I think for anyone starting it’s always a good thing to understand how the big wide world works. It was also good to spend time in New York. My experiences that led up to me opening my label were all really positive. It was a very short period of time though, I graduated and then about a year later I started my label so my work experience outside of what I do now was quite brief.
What did you learn from working that the classroom hadn’t prepared you for?
I learned everything, so much of what I’ve learned was not what the classroom taught me. Certainly when I started the label everything was trial and error. I had an MA from the Royal College of Womenswear but your not taught how to ship your first order to Barney’s or even how to deal with purchase orders or grading or all the kind of realities of a collection. The list would be too long, but the Royal College was so important for me because it was a time when I figured out who I really was as a designer and they allowed us to play and explore and that was so incredibly valuable.
If you were to teach, would there be anything you’d make sure to teach your students that you wish you’d learned while you were studying?
I think I would definitely emphasize the importance of pattern cutting and creative pattern cutting, which I was exposed to but I think to really expose someone to it intensely I would say. Because there are so few amazing pattern cutters working now and just having a basic understanding of pattern cutting is so important. You know the basics of being able to illustrate an idea; it’s one thing to have an idea but it’s another thing to be able to execute and communicate it.
Who are you most proud to have designed for?
There has been so many different instances where I’ve been proud. There is one; when I was part of the London Olympic Closing Ceremony, they’d invited five designers, myself, Burberry, Christopher Kane, and a few others. Our outfits were part of the closing ceremony and they read out our names to the stadium and all the English supermodels walked out, Stella, I dressed Lily Cole, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, all of those girls. So there was this moment where the girls walked out, they said my name and that definitely made me feel so proud.
Kate Middleton recently wore one of your pieces, how does it feel to dress an icon?
It’s wonderful, it’s great to work together from so early on; I worked with her for her first tour. It’s a privilege to dress lots of different women from lots of different backgrounds and she’s wonderful.
Who would you like to dress in the future?
What type of woman do you design for?
A woman who is an individual, a woman who marches to her own drum. I think she’s someone who invests in pieces. She’s not ruled by the fashion calendar; she invests in pieces and wears them three, four, ten years later and still looks great. I design for strong, intelligent women who aren’t afraid of being feminine. I’m intrigued by femininity and it’s always been true in me for what I do. I kind of have this obsession with women, how they look and carry themselves.
The one piece you’ve designed that you’ll never forget?
The finale dress of my first collection.