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‘I’m now living my dream’
Enid Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) / 30 July 2012
Designer Iman Al Midfa, winner of a recent British Council fashion entrepreneur award, says her creations are ‘culturally driven’
IMAN AL MIDFA believes in blending tradition, elegance and simplicity to create unique and exquisite designs that reflect both Western and Eastern elements. Her muse is culture, her aim - to showcase it through her work.
The UAE-based fashion designer and founder of Ghizlan Fashion House recently won the British Council award for most successful Young Entrepreneur in Fashion and Design, part of the International Young Design Entrepreneur Awards (IYDEA).
She will represent the UAE during a week-long tour of the UK in mid-September which includes attendance at London Fashion Week as well as opportunities to network with international fashion peers and industry specialists.
She talked to City Times about the significance of the award, her inspirations and plans for the future.
What are your thoughts on winning the British Council award?
It’s a great achievement, one I’ve been dreaming of realizing for a while now! It will help me further my vision to be globally recognised and learn from the international market.
How do you feel it will assist you in your career as a designer?
The programme that is being prepared for me will be of great advantage to my career as I will be exploring new avenues through the eyes of the best professionals in the fashion industry.
How would you describe your designs? What inspires them?
New, rich, colourful and exciting is how I would describe my designs. They are culturally driven and that is my constant source of inspiration.
What first prompted you to take up fashion designing?
I didn’t plan it; it was something that was always in me, something I grew up with. My mother had this passion as well and I believe I have inherited her talents; I’m now living my dream and hers.
How important is simplicity as an element in modern day fashion?
Very important… simplicity is the first and foremost detail to be considered, the basic element. An item that is over-worked does not stand out as elegantly as something simple. This is especially the case with Abaayas - the more ideas put forth for their designs, the more they lose their identity as the traditional wear we all know and value.
Do you feel clothes should be wearable rather than outlandish?
Wearable, of course - clothes always define the characteristics of the person wearing them and therefore they should be relatively comfortable, practical and most importantly complement the client’s figure.
Do you aim to showcase Middle Eastern culture through your designs?
That is my ultimate goal… through Ghizlan I would like to capture the attention of the global market and subsequently have people from all over fall in love with our rich and mystical designs.
How important is it to balance Eastern and Western sensibilities as far as fashion is concerned?
It’s as important as protecting and sustaining the Arabic Language and its use within the Western arena. I feel talented fashion designers truly distinguish themselves when their designs reflect their culture while also being up-to-date with the latest international trends.
When did you start Ghizlan Fashion House and what are your plans for the future?
Ghizlan Fashion House was officially launched in 2010, thanks to a close friend who inspired me to go ahead with it. The future seems very promising and I am fully committed to ensuring Ghizlan designs share a feisty catwalk alongside international brands soon.
Are there any international designers whose work you admire in particular?
Yes - Antonio Marras who currently designs for Kenzo and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
What are your thoughts on attending London Fashion Week in September?
I’m extremely excited, and looking forward to enjoying the shows.
Are you bringing out any specific collection for Ramadan or Eid?
Yes, it was launched at the beginning of July.
How is it different from your other collections?
The new designs are very vibrant and colourful because they were inspired by Turkish culture. All the materials used were bought from Bursa, Turkey.
Do you have an expatriate clientele at Ghizlan Fashion House as well? Do expatriates show interest in purchasing traditional wear?
We do have an expatriate clientele but I would love to reach a wider audience. I feel expats admire my designs because they are different from what they wear on a regular basis. To them these designs are not only elegant and trendy but also a strong expression of culture.
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