The second Emirati designer to show at Arab Fashion Week this season is Hamda Al Fahim, founder of the label Design Studio. The Abu Dhabi national launched her label in 2012, having taken a creative leap from a career in interior design. Al Fahim believes that AFW’s fashion showcase will act as a springboard for her up-and-coming brand.
“Because Arab Fashion Week is officially listed on the international fashion calendar after Milan and Paris, that makes it real for me,” Al Fahim says of her decision to participate. “It is not just another casual event, it is a legitimate platform that will help me take one step forward and give me an opportunity to showcase my designs to the right audience.”
Al Fahim’s autumn-winter collection is fantasy flora and fauna-inspired, characterised by fluid gowns with bell sleeves.
“The pieces capture the airy grace and fluid beauty of fairies and magical creatures who are known to be graceful and delicate, with gauze-like wings. I brought this concept to life by using delicate materials that softly cascade with gravity. To achieve the overall look I used materials such as tulle, chiffon georgette, organza, silk and faille.
“The palette was drawn from nature – changing skies, sunsets and rainbows. Meaning that lavender, pale yellow, blush rose, light peach, pistachio and melon were all incorporated into the pieces.”
Post Arab Fashion Week – and with her brand having hopefully piqued the interest of visiting buyers attending her catwalk show – Al Fahim’s ambitions to develop her label in the coming years are best described as organic.
“I don’t believe in planning so much in advance.” she says. “I like to live in the moment and take it one step at a time. I believe in delivering better designs each year, growing stronger each year as a company and doing new things that we have not done in the previous year. And eventually, I would like to create something that can become an inspiration to others.”
The others Al Fahim speaks of include clients in the region and farther afield in Europe and the United States. Markets that may not prove too challenging to crack, in terms of perceptions of Middle East fashion, at least.
“People around the world think the UAE is a very glamorous country. They think the women are beautiful and they wear beautiful clothes. The glamorous land of the Middle East has well-travelled and fashionable people living in it.”