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Inside the 2016 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize RTW Finalists’ Ateliers

Photo courtesy of Mochi.

Photo courtesy of Mochi.

You’ve been introduced to the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize finalists and read their travel diaries—now it’s time for a closer look at their workspaces. Here, the five ready-to-wear designers open the doors to their ateliers and offer intimate views of their showrooms. Follow the talents as they move from mood boards, to rough sketches, fabric swatches, and design samples. Go behind-the-scenes with a close-up look at their studios and see a sneak peek of their collections in progress.

Daneh Buahmad

“My designs are sampled and produced abroad, which involves a great deal of emailing, Skype calls, and traveling. The time I spend in the workshop is intense and chaotic. It’s here, in my sanctuary, where I research, sketch, and drape, and the space is overloaded with all that I love. Two vintage magazines hang on my wall—they are the editions of the month I was born and the month my son was born. There are notebooks with covers that inspire me, sentimental gifts, items I’ve bought (suggested by friends), endless lists, and my vital table calendar. All the information around me is related to a collection that is in progress, or ideas for upcoming collections. It may be perceived as a mess because there is a great deal going on, but this is where I am content, creative, and inspired.”


Karine Tawil
“Our atelier employs 17 tailors, two pattern makers, and one chef d’atelier who I work closely with on a daily basis to bring my work to life. I have one French consultant who comes in once a month to train and supervise the quality, and assess the team’s strengths and weakness. This gives us a clear view on how we have to move forward with my vision and achieve the highest quality. My work has a very strong textural and tactile aesthetic. I love manipulating and mixing different fabrics—and creating new textures. I am very inspired by the idea of transformation, evolution, and progress.”


Mira Hayek

“I’m not a hoarder, but I like to keep a lot of things around me. I’m also a sucker for color. Enter my atelier and that’s exactly what you’ll find. A happy mess of color, fabric, patterns, sketches, mood boards, and my prized collection of miniature Japanese dolls. In the center of my studio, you’ll find a dress form with rolls of fabric ready to be designed. It’s a party all day long here, where the tempo is set to fresh, electro beats, and the sound of sewing machines pound away.”


Ayah Tabari

“I created my working environment based on energy. As soon as I saw the space in D3 (Dubai Design District), the positive energy was so strong that I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be. It is very important for me to be comfortable in order to be creative, so I did just that—by making the Mochi studio feel like a home.

Most people know I’m happiest when I’m sitting on the floor or on the sofa surrounded by Mochi. Since we are a small team, the atelier has an open floor plan. This allows each employee to be part of every process—whether it’s design, marketing, or sales. All input is important to me because it adds strong elements, that perhaps I couldn’t have foreseen, to the brand. There is no hierarchy here.”


Reema Al Banna

“In my office, any vertical surface is suitable for sticking papers on—even the cupboards. I have mood boards and to-do lists on every wall. My atelier is a little bit of mess. You’ll find rolled up papers, sketchbooks, mood boards, and a tea set on the table. Here is where you can find me pulling out samples, placing orders, sketching, and developing my collections.”

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