Qatari Designer Ghada Al-Subaey Weaves Resilience and Femininity Through her Brand 1309

5 min read
1309 Sundance Woman in dress
1309 Spring Summer 2024 Campaign. Image courtesy of the brand.
Woman in colourful dress

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photos  courtesy of the brand.

Qatari designer Ghada Al-Subaey has woven a unique narrative into the fabric of the fashion world with her brand 1309. Established in 2015, it marries contemporary bohemian vibes with a staunch commitment to sustainability. The brand has attracted the likes of Imaan Hammam  and Georgina Rodriguez.

As the creative force behind 1309, Al-Subaey’s style philosophy springs from her early fascination with the eclectic and expressive nature of fashion, witnessed through the skills of her mother, a profound influence on her career.

Woman in black and white dress

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photos  courtesy of the brand.

Al-Subaey’s 1309

Indeed, the name 1309 holds special significance as it commemorates her mother’s birthday, reflecting the brand’s homage to the woman who not only inspired Al-Subaey’s fashion journey but also supported her through various life challenges. The designer honed her skills in sewing and cutting by watching her mother from a young age. As a teenager, Al-Subaey further explored her personal style, buying and experimenting with different fabrics on her own.

Two women in white dresses walking up a mountain

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Building on this foundation, Ghada Al-Subaey’s brand, 1309, has evolved significantly. Her latest Spring Summer 2024 collection, showcased in the Sundance Campaign, draws heavily on the theme of sisterhood, celebrating the bonds that empower and uplift women. This theme of connectivity and support is a natural extension of the values instilled in her from a young age.

“Sisterhood represents an unbreakable bond among women who demonstrate love, compassion, and grace, transcending barriers of race, religion, or socioeconomic status,” explains the designer.

Each piece in this collection captures the delicate balance between light and shadow, symbolising the beauty and resilience of the feminine spirit. Reflecting the complexities of sisterly bonds, the garments blend sequined ombre, velvet, and matte silk to embody the diverse facets of sisterhood.

“This ethos of unity and support is at the heart of our collection, celebrating the strength and beauty found in sisterhood,” Al-Subaey notes.

In this exclusive interview for MOJEH Magazine, we uncover the depths of Al-Subaey ‘s creative process, how her collections seamlessly combine trends while staying true to the brand’s feminine and minimalist roots and her vision for empowering women through fashion.

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Since launching 1309, you have embraced a ‘contemporary bohemian’ style. What initially drew you to this aesthetic and how has it evolved over the years? Ghada Al-Subaey 1309

What initially drew me to this aesthetic is its expressive celebration of individuality, the notion of combining cultures and eras in order to create a one-of-a-kind universe. It prioritizes and embraces nature and spirituality, encouraging endless creativity, self-expression and the deeper connection to oneself and the world around.

Can you describe the creative process behind incorporating seasonal trends while staying true to the minimalist and feminine roots of your brand?

Our ongoing dialogue with customers helps us stay attuned to their desires, ensuring our designs align with their needs. We stay true to our iconic 1309 colors and core style. However, we push boundaries by introducing new techniques, embroidery, and playful variations like our distinctive swirls.

This way, we breathe freshness and creativity into our collections while honouring the essence of 1309. We also stay current with trends, seamlessly integrating them into our designs for relevance and appeal. This delicate balance between tradition and innovation preserves our brand’s heritage while adapting to the ever-changing fashion landscape.

“The 1309 Community is based on freedom of expression, empowerment and support which resonates with our goal to incorporate our clients’ feedback in our design and production processes. A place where any woman can feel valued and empowered to pursue their dreams and aspirations.”

1309 is celebrated for its use of bold colours and artful prints. How do you select your collaborators, and what do you look for in these partnerships?

We team up with Arab artists to craft unique prints for our collections. We select like-minded artists that have a drive to capture the beauty and introspection found in cultural expressions and whose goal is to tell a story creatively and uniquely through their art, move people and connect cultures. In a sense, these collaborations aim to tell a story that captivates the imagination, evoke emotions, and spark thought-provoking conversations.

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Sustainability is a core value at 1309. You’ve mentioned 70% of your fabrics are vegan, including innovative materials like vegan linen and silk. How do you balance the quality and performance of these textiles with their sustainability?

1309 balances quality and performance by using durable, high-quality materials, recycling fabric scraps into furniture, and minimizing machinery use. This sustainable approach strengthens client relationships and aligns with client values, serving as a model for longevity and thoughtful production practices.

1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Campaign. Photo courtesy of the brand.


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1309 Spring Summer 2024 Sundance Collection. Photo courtesy of the brand.