Love sashays on ramp!

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She has done all ‘possible and impossible’ in the fashion scene of UAE – dressed international celebrities, taken the national dress to global ramps, collaborated with transnational companies other than fashion – automobiles, perfumes, art galleries – and crafted her dream career when she was already mother of two. Given this, it won’t be an exaggeration to call her an inspiration.
On the sidelines of Arab fashion Week 2016 , we speak to Lamya Abedin, the Emirati Fashion Designer of global fame, about her collection and her preparations for the biggest fashion event of Arab world.

Excerpts from the interview

You are known in the UAE fashion corridors as one of the most inspiring designers – all eyes are going to be on you during the event so can you give an insight in to your collection?
Well, what I am going to showcase is a fall winter dress collection called True Love. The collection is inspired by biggest love stories of all time – Romeo Juliet, Gone with the wind, Majnu-Laila and all of that age that we know. And it’s not just about the power these women had when it comes to talking about their love, but also the very strong sense of style – floral prints, rich velvets, and things that we are no longer using in our daily lives which were used then.

How did you work on this theme? Have you considered some research or lot of reading or any such thing?
Of course, I have done a great deal to capture the essence of style and fashion of those times. Like if you take floral prints – there were a lot of flowers in those times that we no longer have today. So for the purpose of floral prints, I did a research into the kind of flowers that actually grew in those times.
A lot of research has gone into preparation of this collection and that’s what I have tried to capture in my collection which will be a romantic and feminine one.
These love stories have lived through ages, my mother knows about them, my grandmother have known them and they are also taught to children in school. There are also elements of the beautiful love stories that developed during wars across the world. It is these that I have incorporated in my collection and I hope it reaches.

How do you go about creation of a collection, what are the various stages?
Well, I work in reverse. I have to fall in love with a fabric first and then I go about picturing the right design for it. This might not be the right way of doing it but as a self-taught designer, this is how I work and this reverse sequence works well for me.
I believe that you have to first know the fabric and then your entire collection show literally flow with a story. If I am presenting my collection I work hard to convey that story – every next creation has to be connected to the previous. If I am able to convey that story in a flow, I feel accomplished. If you don’t do that your collection on the ramp looks very scattered, there is no connection, there is no story and hence there is no connect with the audience.

How would you define your journey so far? What are your feelings when a Queen of Spades collection is presented on the catwalk?

I think I have not yet reached where I want to because I always see a scope for the better and for the best. This is where I get my humbleness from. I always believe in taking small and steady steps to reach that aim. So you have to put high aims for yourself.
Most important thing I would mention here is that for anyone to succeed, it is important that your family believes in you. My family has been my backbone and I feel if the family does not believe in you and your dreams, it’s not possible for you to reach there.
To answer you second question – whenever my collection is presented, I am scared like all of us are before an exam. Then when I come to walk the ramp after the collection – after seeing the faces of the audience I know the result – if I have earned the trophy or not.

What should we expect from the Arab Fashion Week this time and especially what should we expect coming from Queen of Spades?
I am excited; there are so many things I am looking forward to. And I hope to make UAE proud of what I am about to offer at the event. Arab Fashion Week is a new event. It is their second season. I was in the first one, not as a participant, but as just to observe. I was back stage and saw everything. Now for this edition, the team of the Arab Fashion Week asked me to sit with them and give my feedback.
The best point of that the organisers of the Arab Fashion Week is that they are not just putting up a show they are creating a platform for Arab fashion designers to go international. This event is going to make us (designers) push and boundaries and get hands not just about creating dresses but also about being able to market our brands and sell our collections.
The preparations have started in a very
big scale. We worked on casting and for the purpose.

What criteria are kept in mind when you select models that walk the Milan and Paris Fashion week ramps for the Arab version?
Actaully, it so happens that apart from me someone else from the main team of the Arab Fashion Week goes to Milan and we together look at the models – I will look at my requirements as a fashion designer and they will look from production point of view.
We look at it this way – May be there is some workmanship that we require and would like to collaborate upon. The idea of Italian factories tying up with us in Dubai will be great. Presently in Dubai, we lack factories that can open their arms to designers and can produce for them even if quantity is small as most of them produce huge quantity.

What are you planning to do after the Arab Fashion Week?
That is a very good question. (Chuckles) Sometimes even I want to ask myself the same question. I am not a kind of person who plans. My career has happened by default. I have collaborated with International designers and international brands and it has all happened by default. People have heard about me randomly and just by chance we have got in touch and then global partnerships have come my way.
The best part is that we have collaborated with brands outside fashion – perfumes and automobiles and we have been the first ones to do that and all this was never planned. Things just came my way and I took them hands on. That is how it works for me. Spontaneous!

Perfume reminds me of – I LOVE NY collection? Was that also what you call ‘spontaneous’?
Yes indeed it was. You know I was approached by the team saying that how do you think you can collaborate with us- we are first organic perfume in the world. Then I though as it is organic perfume lets create collection – so it was a 12 piece collection for the fragrance brand where we used all kinds of different things to create dresses- brown paper bags were one of them. To create it we researched, understood the concept and the reason of organic perfumes and then created this connection.

You have dressed a number of celebrities including Hollywood actor Will Smith’s wife and daughter. How do you feel about that?

I have dressed some very well-known international celebrities like E! sensation Giuliana Rancic, fashionista Nicole Richie, Disney superstar Laura Marano, American singer-dancer Zendaya and top American socialites Jada Pinkett Smith and her gorgeous singer daughter Willow Smith. When these people come to Dubai, they want to dress like us, they want to ride the camel and they want to see our heritage. Abaya is one of the essential things they want to own when they come here. I am so honoured that the first abayas of their wardrobes is a Queen of Spades.

You are going to be there at the D3, the Dubai design district. Please share more.
We are going to be at D3 which is going to happen in next couple of months. The place will not be just about fashion designers, to will be a hub for everyone related to design in anyway — fashion, interior, architecture. This will take the industry of design to next level.
It will be such an inspiring place to be — your neighbour will be an architect or may be an interior designer – you will have a gallery and a boutique on the same level. I am looking forward to being there. I will have half my space is flagship boutique and the other half will be my workplace. People can come to us and see how we work.

Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?
I see myself having all the lines in the name of Queen of spades – shoes, bags, accessories – everything. That is a dream I am working towards. Another one is to introduce abayas in a different way. Make it more cosmopolitan, a wardrobe must for everyone regardless of their geographic or cultural preferences.
Dubai is growing, it has made a name in the world, why is not the UAE national dress reaching that level of popularity that jeans, black dress, stilettoes have reached. We have to some extent made it possible. So I want to reach that level where other designers are getting inspired by us and creating their own lines.

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