You’ve stepped into the ateliers of the five DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize ready-to-wear finalists—now it’s time to explore the studios belonging to the five accessories frontrunners. Here, Nathalie Trad and Roula Ghalayini open the doors to their studios to reveal how their handbags come to life. Explore Farah Nasri and Ralph Masri’s creative spaces to learn about their jewelry making, and discover how Okhtein’s female workforce is the backbone of its production.
HOOKED | HKD
“At HKD, the environment is dreamy and experimental with a playful approach to design and exploration. The atelier combines excitement and rigor with working hours that extend well into weekends. But ‘non-stop’ is so much fun when you’re working on your dream. No two days are the same. Tasks range from brainstorming, researching, and designing to marketing, sales, and production management. Being located in Dubai means that Skype is my best friend and emails are a blessing. However, Dubai grants you access to great thinkers and talented designers (not to mention well-dressed, too) and offers the opportunity to collaborate with them on a daily basis.”
“We decided to open up the studio space and co-host a 3D-printing workshop for 10 students.” Photo courtesy of Hooked | HKD.
“Together with HKD's branding guru, Ghaya Bin Mesmar, I set up brainstorming sessions to brand HKD's upcoming collaterals.” Photo courtesy of Hooked | HKD.
“At the workshop getting ready to hand-inlay our clutches with shell, piece by piece.” Photo courtesy of Nathalie Trad.
“Selecting the materials and colors for the season.” Photo courtesy of Nathalie Trad.
“Last minute adjustments on our Spring 2017 collection.” Photo courtesy of Okhtein.
“Woman power at our office.” Photo courtesy of Okhtein.
“I was also trained to work jewelry myself, and it’s something I take immense pleasure in. I create all of my prototypes by hand.” Photo courtesy of Ralph Masri.
“What I enjoy most in the jewelry making process is wax carving—which is the first step towards creating a piece. The wax sculptures are then cast into gold.” Photo courtesy of Ralph Masri.
“I find strong natural light very stimulating. It has a way of transporting me to a parallel, visual world where imagination runs wild and free.” Photo courtesy of Rula Galayini.
“For my creative process, my fingers tend to have a mind of their own, and magically lead the way to future creations.” Photo courtesy of Rula Galayini.
“The atelier in Dubai Design District is my safe haven. We work in an open space with a lot of natural light flooding our world. I spend a minimum of 10 hours a day at the office, so it’s essential for it to be a relaxing and positive environment. We always make sure our candles are lit and that there’s a good playlist going to keep the energy up and the creative juices flowing. I look forward to coming in and I absolutely love the fun and collaborative environment we have created as a team.”
Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf
“We have a small office where all the planning, brainstorming, and designing takes place. It’s our creative hub, and it’s decorated in a way that keeps us inspired. We love working in a team because we believe several minds working together create magic. The Okhtein team is made up of five women, and each of them handle different tasks. We work with three full-time artisans at our workshop, as well as 80 part-time female weavers and artisans from across Egypt.”
“My main atelier is located right above my showroom in Beirut. I spend my time producing pieces upstairs, and greeting clients downstairs. It’s not a very big space—it’s mainly my personal space to get creative and experiment with ideas for collections—but it gets the job done. When it comes to production, the load is split between the main atelier and other craftsmen I collaborate with in the area. I work with a dozen craftsmen (including bench workers, stone setters, and polishers) to produce my jewelry.”
“Ever since I was a design student, I’ve felt that paper was too restricting and flat. I always begin my creative process by experimenting with my hands. So many mistakes happen when you use your hands—great mistakes that often add new dimensions to existing ideas, or become ideas within themselves. In the vivid world of shape, form, texture, and color, I can spend days on end letting my imagination travel far and wide. Once I’m on to something exciting, I explore ways to link them back to the previous collection and overall brand. It’s such a wonderful journey every time, which presses certain emotional buttons like nothing else can.”