الجمعة، 21 أكتوبر، 2011

Fabulous Designer Alert: Noora Hefzi



I'm always looking to discover talent in the Arab world, and particularly in my country of Saudi Arabia and I've recently stumbled upon young Saudi jalabiya designer Noora Hefzi. A jalabiya is commonly a traditional Khaleeji dress which is worn by women mostly in Ramadan. Noora Hefzi has created beautiful and youthful designs that have an eclectic mix of fabrics and colors that make them so you unique. What I love about her designs is that they're very traditional, but they still appeal to the modern day Saudi woman. 

I interviewed the designer and here's what she had to say:




When was the first time you discovered your love for fashion ? and what sparked your interest ?

-I have always considered fashion as a form of art, and a reflection of a person’s character.  As a child, my grandmother always gave me the extra pieces of fabrics she had to expand my Barbie’s wardrobe and helped me in the sewing part.  I guess that was the seed of my passion for design today.  Growing up, I had always altered the clothes that I bought to give it a distinctive look and my mother immediately recognized that as a talent that should be further developed.  Today, my mother and I still discuss and brainstorm any collection I’m about to launch.  She’s my staunchest critic and advisor.  

Where did you study ?
-I actually never studied fashion design; I majored in Design Management at the American University of  Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates;  which is a collective major of different kinds of design. Designing clothes is a hobby which I turned into a business, and I must say my major helped me manage it.  


What inspires you as a designer?
-So much, from the things I’m surrounded with, to the people i meet and interact with, but mostly, I get my inspiration from going to the old souks and fabric shops.  I love the sights and smells of these cultural places.  Digging through the hidden stacked rolls of vintage fabric has always been an exciting adventure to me and finding the right fabric is like striking gold.    
When I design my dresses, I surround myself with all these fabrics I’ve collected and get my inspiration from their color contrasts and different textures against each other. The fabric itself inspires me to design it the way I do.
My inspirations also come from books, travel and magazines about fashion.


How do you balance your heritage and modern times in your designs ?

There was a certain time in the Gulf when people here were racing to become more modernized and this rush caused them (perhaps unintentionally) to dismiss their old customs and traditions.  Nowadays people remember those days with great fondness and actually search for remnants of their heritage. I like to bring part of that heritage back through my fashion which fuses the traditional look with the modern one.

And also being a Saudi and growing up with a vast group of mixed cultures and acquaintances, which I got to know through family, friends and travel, created this combination that inspired my designs by incorporating various cultures and styles into them resulting in a fusion of bohemian/Arab designs with a tribal ethnic touch.

How would you describe the woman you have in mind when you design ?

When designing, I actually create my dresses for myself first before others, since every piece is originally something I would love to wear, and it represents me and my style.  The woman who wears my designs is an international woman, she could pretty much be from anywhere, as long as she enjoys blended styles she will definitely make the outfit. 


How would do you describe your personal style?
I would say my style is eclectic and a reflection of my mood and personality.  Some days I feel like being bold and other times effortless.  My clothes and designs help me communicate that message.   


Who do you look up to in the fashion world ? 
My favorites are Queen Rania of Jordan, Sara Jessica parker, Blake Lively, and Kate Moss. 
Each one has a different style, and collectively represent my sense of style.  


You can browse through her collection at www.noorahefzi.com



Images courtesy of Noora Hefzi




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