It is often welcomed when modern culture blends itself within the mould of traditions and somewhat rooted for nowadays. Although the reactions lay up to the positive and negative aspect of the situation, and in fashion it is often successful.
Haya Khalifa, who plays the daughter bit of the renowned mother-daughter duo brand, Naseem AlAndalos, has branched out into her own brand. Picking up on detail, construction, and fluidity of the design aspect from Naseem AlAndalos, Haya’s brand has a modern take on clothing, with a focus on a neutral colour pallet, and is as firmly grounded as enamel, or that’s what I see within her use of metallic tones.
I was able to get an exclusive insight on Haya’s vision for her label, how she sees it growing, and got an opportunity to understand in detail the perception of her brand. After an enthralling exhibition that Haya was a part of for the Khalid Bin Hamad Award for Graduation, I got to interview the creative director, and here’s how it went.
You’ve branched out of your mother-daughter duo line and created your own, what inspired that decision?
Starting my own line was always the plan when I started studying Fashion Design. I personally have a different aesthetic, and style, than my mother – I didn’t want to mess with our brand’s image, so I decided to start my own line after graduation. Although that, I will still remain as the creative director of Naseem AlAndalos, but by doing so; I get to express myself in both lines.
Tell us about your line – What are your silhouettes like, and what inspired you to imprint that specific silhouette onto the line’s personality?
I have an architectural background that I like to infuse in my designs. I love clean cuts, simple lines, and uncomplicated silhouettes that flow with the natural feminine body rather than against it. I prefer to focus more on the subtle details, and create the perfect fit, and always add a factor in each design that makes it unique.
Your brand’s aesthetic is, as you entailed, “classic and contemporary”, those two terms are taken so loosely amongst local designers and they proclaim such niches. How are you different?
The classic term is shown in the simplicity of the designs, those that can be timeless. I also use traditional techniques that are applied with a contemporary point of view. Most designers would take a traditional element, and update it, my method however, in designing, isn’t based on those traditional elements. I prefer to create a modern look, and incorporate different elements to create a classic ensemble, with an innovative feel.
Your Spring/Summer 2017 collection seems to be quite neutral, with hints of metallic hues, please elaborate on what inspired you to launch your line with this collection.
Generally, my aesthetic is somewhat minimal, and I tend to go for neutral colors, so I wanted this collection to represent that aesthetic and serve as an introduction to what’s coming. The inspiration for the collection actually comes from a study that I did for my graduation project, it revolves around the high priestesses of the Amazigen tribes of Morocco. I envisioned these women to be ethereal, yet majestic, and have a demanding presence. Picking up on that, for the woman that would wear one of my pieces, I wanted her to embody that. She’s strong, independent, effortless and graceful.
Being within the market before branching out, how would you depict your success within the coming years? Would you claim of knowing what the market lacks, and what it already has enough of?
My mother and I specialised only on Moroccan wear from the start, but our customers always come back for our choice in fabrics and unique designs; so the idea of launching Haya Khalifa comes as a solution to provide a modern, and different line with the same level of quality and uniqueness.
I think in this time and age, it’s hard to pinpoint on what the market lacks as everything is available now, but if we focus on the GCC region, it’s clear that what sophisticated women crave for, is a brand that comes from within the GCC and has an approachable designer, that understands their needs in addition to having the same quality that is found in international luxury brands.
As a fresh graduate venturing into design, what were some of the challenges you faced?
I think my experience as a full-time student while working as a designer, helped a lot during my time in university. I was able to benefit from my education and apply what I learned step by step in our brand, and vice versa. But the main challenge we face as fashion design graduates is not understanding the market or the fashion industry entirely. We are taught the fundamentals of design and promptly create collections, without comprehending the importance of marketing, and how to get our brands out there.
It’s said that to create new and profound things within fashion, you need to look at art and its endless array rather than look at some of the work that designers have portrayed on the runway shows. Would you say you agree to that?
Yes, I completely agree. I tend to always look at art and architecture to set the mood for each collection I design. That initially serves as my main source of inspiration, in terms of mimicking the lines found in paintings, and transforming them into wearable silhouettes , or just gazing at a significant building with a pen and paper and seeing what those random strokes create. However, looking at other designers’ work, especially established designers can help in guiding a young designer as to which direction he/she wants to take.
We’re taught in design school (whether it’s Architecture, graphic or fashion) to have a case study that serves as a guide and inspiration, and I think that’s applicable in all fields of life; we study about famous individuals and read all those success stories to be inspired by them, and follow their footsteps to achieve our own success.
What is the next step for your next collection? Tell us about what colour pallets are we to expect, or what type of embellishments, and embroidery that you will include.
The Fall collection will follow the story of this collection in terms of aesthetics, but it’ll be different within the choice of fabrics, and the various embellishments. I’m focusing more on using unconventional abstract prints, and the structure of the pieces with minimum embroidery. I’m also, experimenting with separate pieces, so the collection will not entirely consist of eveningwear.
Can we expect you to showcase your upcoming collections at Fashion Forward Dubai, or any showcases in the fashion capitals?
I am currently weighing my options – at first I wanted to go big with the launch, but now I’m reining it in and focusing on the quality of the brand, as well as the customers. I’d like to think of myself, as a perfectionist – I’m very selective with my options, so I will focus on intimate events, and later move onto bigger events that are either regional, or international.
How can we get our hands on your pieces?
Since this is my debut collection I’m keeping it exclusive, and selling it as limited pieces only, anyone can contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or ask for a private preview in Naseem AlAndalos’s showroom. I’m working on building an online presence for the brand at the moment, and aiming for stocking future collections in multi-brand stores.
Moodand Inspirational Images from Haya Khalifa’s instagram page
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