One of our favourite parts of each new season is seeing how trends are interpreted away from the runway, especially when the tastemakers in question are the stylish women of the Middle East. From an eclectically minded blogger, to an achingly cool designer and then over to sisters who each bring their own peppy personality to the table, we caught up with four of our favourite ladies for a first look at the clothes they’ll be coveting this autumn.
Rima and Dina Zahran, cofounders and designers of Dinz Clothing
Do you follow trends strictly?
Rima: Not at all, I’ll always alter them according to my style and personality. I would hate to look exactly the same as the catwalk. It has to feel like me.
How do you prefer to shop?
Dina: I like to continually add new pieces because to be perfectly honest I don’t have the self-control to wait for a specific time of year to shop. It’s more fun that way!
What’s your sartorial preference?
Rima: Most definitely mix it up. I honestly buy whatever I like, I do splurge on special pieces when I fall in love with something but I also wear a lot of high-street brands. I also like supporting local designers as much as possible. Most of my designer pieces are investment buys, things that I believe can stay in my closet for a long time to come.
Dina: I would say mine’s a mix between seasonal and timeless pieces. I try my best to go for timeless pieces – they’re the ‘smart purchases’. But I am obsessed with anything loud and bright and unfortunately these tend to be seasonal pieces that go out of style faster. So as a fair compromise to myself, I try to maintain a balance between both.
Why have you chosen these outfits in particular to represent your AW choices?
Rima: I’m obsessed with puffy skirts and I’ve always been a really colourful person but lately I’m leaning more towards black, deep gold, silvers and maroons. I’m also a big fan of jeans and this season I’m all about red, there are so many different ways to wear them and they always make a statement.
When designing, how do you approach each new season?
Dina: We try not to always follow the latest trends as we want the pieces to last in our customer’s wardrobes. We might do something subtler such as focus on shapes and silhouettes that are popular at the time. I get most of my inspiration when I’m relaxed, usually when I’m travelling and a lot of the time just before I fall asleep. Sometimes we also look at fabrics to help inspire us so that we can work on a cohesive collection.
What are you most looking forward to for autumn?
Dina: I’m so happy that fringe is everywhere, it’s so much fun. I love that we’re in a period of time where almost anything and everything goes in fashion. The tricky bit is making it work for you, which is why it’s so important to personalise a trend and make it your own by choosing the right colours and styles to suit you. You can then make them your own with the smaller touches such as shoes and jewellery – that’s the really fun and exciting part of fashion.
Alanoud Badr, designer and blogger of Lady Fozaza
What makes up your style?
It’s a bit of rock and a lot of runway. My style has evolved over the years based on how much I’ve grown as a human being and a designer. It tends to reflect my journeys, accomplishments and life lessons. Lately it’s bold and fierce, with a hint of femininity.
How has it evolved over recent years as you’ve come into your own?
I started with the innocence of pastel colours and flowers as a child, to leather and python as I got older. My style became not only mature in terms of cut but also in terms of colour and fabric. Today it shows a more solid, strong, fierce and edgier self.
What AW14 trends are you tapping in to?
I really love global chic, tribal patterns and mixing textures together, such as fur and leather as well as wool and some feathers. I recently wore a LadyFozaza leopard and lace pattern blazer and mixed it with a feather and wool shrug on top to add character. I believe fashion isn’t about playing it safe, it’s about playing it smart and keeping it simple yet busy enough to keep you interested.
As a designer, how do you approach each new season?
I approach a new season with a new trend so that I’m offering a new direction. I believe in creating trends that last more than one season so that women who invest in my blazers invest in a lifestyle, and feel a sense of fashion independence.
When working on your own wardrobe at the change of the season, how do you approach it?
I tend to build gradually throughout the season and try to go for key pieces that will last me for the whole year, such as that perfect pair of nude pumps or a statement oversized bag. I used to buy the latest must have items but now I look at other things such as quality and usage.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Victoria Beckham. I like her transition from a Nineties girl band member to modern day style icon who’s now a respected designer and filling catwalks worldwide which is such an inspiration. Her sunglasses are all I wear. I also love Diane von Furstenberg – she is simply phenomenal and always sets the trends for young designers.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in the Middle East?
It has huge potential and houses some incredibly talented designers such as Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab. Elie Saab is in a league of his own, I love everything he designs, even his perfume.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I love being a change in people’s lives and giving back everything I have learnt over the years.
Basma Abu Ghazaleh, co-founder and designer of Kage
What’s your favourite thing about the autumn season?
I love that you can go back to basics, layer up, wear oversized clothes and throw on boots. After long summer months in Dubai I always look forward to a new season where I can put aside my summer clothes and wear pretty much anything from my fall closet.
Has your style evolved over the years?
Yes, I used to like dressing up a lot more than I do now, today I’m much more relaxed. You grow to become more comfortable with who you are, I pretty much dress up depending on how I feel on the day.
How do you tend to shop for yourself?
I really go through phases. There can be a month where I feel like I need to shop every day and then there can be a month where I really don’t care and don’t want to shop at all. It depends on my mood and how I wake up.
Do you shop when you travel?
Yes, definitely. I like to look at local designers in different countries and places around the world, it’s more unique and different. I’ll go to the high-end stores when I want to find something that I know will last for a long time, if it’s expensive but it’s timeless, then I can wear it season-to-season. I’m not the kind of person that will go and buy something because it’s on trend and feel the need to have it.
Do you follow seasons strictly?
Not at all and we don’t go by that at Kage either, it’s very non-seasonal. You do find some trends that might be ‘in’ for that time but in general if you purchased something from our collection, say two years ago, you can still wear it today. We are more about where the woman is, what she’s doing and generally she’s going to be in a hot climate.
Your collection of shoes is fantastic, what does it say about you?
Comfort comes first for sure but I have to say that my shoes are probably the only accessories I have that are never classics, I like fun, statement pieces.
What colours do you lean towards?
I love neutrals and black for autumn.
Name your earliest fashion memory.
When I dressed up my younger cousin Sumaya in a dress and a headband made out of a garbage bag!