Fashion Forward Dubai 2014 Designers

Fashion Forward Season 4 kicks off tomorrow. Here, three Middle Eastern designers taking part get to know each other better
ByLindsay JudgeSaturday , 27 September 2014
Fashion Forward Dubai 2014 Designers
© ITP Images

Hashe interviews Maral 
Brand: MARAL

Maral Yazaloo is the Iranian designer behind the brand Maral. She first launched it in Paris before taking her label to Rome, and is now based in India. Her collections maintain the balance between modernity and culture, taking inspiration from royalty and Iranian traditions and giving them a modern twist. Her pieces are a blend of Middle Eastern aesthetics, Asian tastes and Western flavour. Maral is new to FFWD and this is her first show in Dubai.

What were the sources of inspiration behind your collection?
It’s inspired by queens and the way they used to dress and carry themselves. There is a regal feel to each piece in my collection, and the colours are very rich and elegant. 

What are you favourite trends for A/W14?
I usually pick up a little bit from every trend and create my own. I love to be different. 

What are the three things every woman should have in her wardrobe?
It’s very difficult to have only three things in your wardrobe as I have four bedrooms of clothes and I guess that’s why I’m a designer!

Maral Yazaloo is the Iranian designer behind the brand Maral. She first launched it in Paris before taking her label to Rome, and is now based in India. Her collections maintain the balance between modernity and culture, taking inspiration from royalty and Iranian traditions and giving them a modern twist. Her pieces are a blend of Middle Eastern aesthetics, Asian tastes and Western flavour. Maral is new to FFWD and this is her first show in Dubai.

What’s the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever been given?
Wear what you love and be yourself. If you adore what you’re wearing, you will instantly look better. 

Who’s your style icon? 
The former queen of Iran, Empress Farah Pahlavi. When I met her, what really got my attention was not just her beauty but also her character. She’s so elegant and stylish – it’s something that I really aspire towards, both as an individual and as a designer. All the queens of Iran have inspired my collections. 

What made you decide to join Fashion Forward this year? 
When I choose where I want to show my clothes I think about the kind of audience I want to reach. Dubai is a growing destination and allows me to present my designs to a huge range of people and cultures, and I also feel I am a good fit with the other designers who are taking part in the event.

Why didn’t you show your collection at Lakmé Fashion Week in India? 
My factory is based in India but I don’t see myself as an Indian designer. I am from the Middle East and that is where I want my brand to be recognised, as that is where the inspiration for my designs comes from.

Lubna interviews Ava
Brand: Hâshé

Ava Hashemi is the brains behind UAE brand Hâshé. She's lived in Dubai all her life but this season will be her debut at Fashion Forward. Ava creates structured high-end ready-to-wear clothing and accessory lines for women who intend to embrace sophistication and class, while staying on trend. 

What were the sources of inspiration behind your collection?
The mirroring on old architecture in The Middle East, as well as local art. The colours and designs reflect this. 

What are you favourite trends for A/W14?
I love heavy knits and muted colours for this season and I tried to use these in my collection.

What are the three things every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A statement handbag that is practical and looks amazing, an awesome pair of earrings that will upgrade any outfit, and a staple black jacket. 

Which celebrities would you love to see wearing your designs? 
Anyone from Lagy Gaga to Charlize Theron would make me happy! I just love when a woman chooses to wear what I’ve created. 

What’s the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever been given?
Perseverance. When working in the fashion industry, the competition is high and it takes a long time to get where you want, but if you persevere you do get there in the end! 

Who’s your style icon? 
I don’t have a particular style icon; I love to take inspiration from women all across the world. 

What made you decide to join Fashion Forward this year?
I wanted to showcase my designs in a way that will get maximum exposure for my brand, and Fashion Forward is the best platform on which to do that. I’ll also get to meet and spend time with many industry professionals in the region and take advice from designers who have done it before. 

Is there anything that worries you about presenting your collection? 
The one thing that always stresses me out before a show is that things may not go according to plan. 

What are you excited about?
Everything! 

Maral interviews Lubna
Brand: Endemage

Lubna Al Zakwani is part of a design duo of two sisters that make up Endemage. The Omani-born ladies made their FFWD debut in Season Two and return this October with their ultra-feminine dresses and billowy evening gowns with Arabian-infused styles. The sisters draw inspiration from traditional Omani designs and they created Endemage, which means “the merging of two”, four years ago. 

What were the sources of inspiration behind your collection?
The concept behind our brand is the merging of two cultures – the Omani traditional dress and Western culture. This season we are also adding the Zanzibar culture to our collection, incorporating the country’s colours and shapes. 

What are you favourite trends for A/W14?
Kimonos. They are so wearable in this region. 

What are the three things every woman should have in her wardrobe?
An abaya – something that you can wear every day. I personally would prefer it not to be black as I think the trend is to move away from that now. Also, a great piece of statement jewellery and comfortable black heels. 

Which celebrities would you love to see wearing your designs?  
I don’t really design for celebrities but for the confident businesswoman, and I feel that in the Arab world, successful working women really are celebrities to me. I would be honoured to have any leading Arab women wear my designs. 

What’s the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever been given?
Confidence. No matter what you wear, people might not like it but if you’re confident in what you have on it will show. 

Who’s your style icon? 
Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. I imagine that I’m designing for these ladies – I don’t think you can get any more elegant than them. 

What has been your experience of FFWD in previous seasons?
The best thing about it is the exposure I got. It was just our second season when we first presented our collection, and the response we received from the community and the media was amazing. I even got recognised in the street! 

Do you have any advice for fashion designers who are new to Fashion Forward?
Enjoy every minute. It is overwhelming when you first enter because you don’t know what to expect, but it’s an amazing experience that encourages and empowers us as designers in the region.

INFO: Fashion Forward runs from Sat 4-Mon 6 Oct at Madinat Jumeirah, www.fashionforward.ae

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