Peek inside the lives and adventures of the ten DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize finalists by learning all about their summer escapades. We caught up with the ready-to-wear and accessories designers and delved into their travel diaries to discover how well deserved time off served as a source of inspiration for their upcoming collections. While some finalists relaxed and cleared their minds in the sun, others found creative stimulation by exploring new and exotic locales—with others even embarking on adrenalin adventures such as trapeze flying and diving with sharks.
“With no prior arrangements, my son and I packed our bags and headed to London for a short getaway. With the exception of a few meetings, I had no plans and nothing to rush to, which was blissful. Together, we strolled down familiar streets, parks, and perused markets. We enjoyed my favorite galleries, the latest exhibitions, and discovered new restaurants. It was perfect quality time with my son. I visited shops off the beaten path, caught up with my talented friends who inspire me, and met new ones who lead interesting lives.
I try to experience something new as often as I can. On this trip, my son and I attempted trapeze flying—which was liberating and good fun. As many times as I have immersed myself in London, new options consistently arise. The city has so much to offer for inspiration.”
Strolling the streets of London with my son. Photo courtesy of Daneh.
Exploring new exhibitions. Photo courtesy of Daneh.
Living by the beach and enjoying life in Mykonos. Photo courtesy of Karoline Lang.
Venice was such an inspiring and memorable trip for me. Photo courtesy of Karoline Lang.
Time to decompress. Photo courtesy of Mira Hayek
Time to wander. Photo courtesy of Mira Hayek
First stop: Portofino. Photo courtesy of Mochi.
Second stop: Marrakesh. Photo courtesy of Mochi.
The elephant wouldn’t stop asking for bananas. Photo courtesy of Reemami.
On our way to snorkel with sharks. Photo courtesy of Reemami.
Blown away by the sci-fi ‘70s vibe of this flying saucer. Photo courtesy of Hooked | HKD.
Flying into the cosmos with HKD. Photo courtesy of Hooked | HKD.
The incredibly charming Guatapé, also known as the land of Zokalos. It’s a very small lakeside town (about two hours from Medellín) with colorfully decorated, painted, and sculpted murals displaying the local culture. Photo courtesy of Nathalie Trad.
A walk through Comuna 13 (District 13). This was once Medellín's most dangerous neighborhood, but it has experienced a metamorphosis. Today, Comuna 13 is known for its outdoor electric escalators and the beautiful graffiti that adorns the walls. It is also a notable example of how innovative urban regeneration projects can transform and revive communities. Photo courtesy of Nathalie Trad.
Portobello loving. Photo courtesy of Okhtein.
Lisbon from the top. Photo courtesy of Okhtein.
Plaza de España with the National Palace in the background. I love this city’s rich history and culture—no matter how many times I go, I’m always captivated by it. Photo courtesy of Ralph Masri.
I’m really inspired by Barcelona’s eclectic mix of different architectural styles, and the beautiful, intricate details found in most of its buildings. Photo courtesy of Ralph Masri.
Soaking up the sun on Beirut's corniche. Photo courtesy of Rula Galayini.
Tracing childhood footsteps in a hidden Gemayzeh alleyway. Photo courtesy of Rula Galayini.
“I haven’t traveled with my brother and sister for ages. Therefore, we decided to go on a family trip to Mykonos with our close childhood friends for sea, sun, and fun. After Greece, I traveled with one of my best friends (who’s an artist) to Venice for the Art Biennial. We rented a beautiful Venetian house and spent the week visiting art exhibitions and different installations. I met people from all walks of life—it was truly a lovely experience. Venice is a dream with your eyes wide open, and I will never forget this trip.”
“Four days of fun, mischief, and sun. My friends Karim and Nadia kicked off the trip by exchanging their vows in Athens, and then whisked us away to celebrate their new chapter in true Mykonos fashion. So much has changed since my first visit to the island while I was living in Athens. However, one thing never changes: the endless hours of dancing and late night snacking on fries and tzatziki under the bougainvillea. My favorite moment of the trip was getting lost while driving my ATV on the last day and discovering the most beautiful, secluded bay for one last afternoon dip.”
“The first stop of my summer vacation was the scenic Italian village of Portofino with my family. Although I find family time relaxing, it’s also a time for me to do most of my creative thinking. We are all very different. Therefore, being around so many different personalities inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing for my next collection. I spent the second part of my vacation in Marrakesh with my husband. Morocco is the inspiration for my Spring 2017 collection, but also a place I have always wanted to visit as it’s renowned for its vibrant colors, dusty cobbled streets, and eclectic culture. Our time there was amazing. I filled my days wandering the crowded streets. There are so many different ways people express themselves in Morocco—by way of carpets, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, sculptures, paintings, carvings, and calligraphy. I was in a sea of inspiration. I met so many talented artisans, and this made me even more thrilled to have chosen Morocco as the next stop on my journey.”
Reema Al Banna
“I spent my summer vacationing in Sri Lanka. One of the most thrilling experiences from the trip was my first elephant ride with all my girlfriends. Although they were terrified, I was excited since elephants are by far among my favorite animals. Then, my sister Sara and I went snorkeling with sharks—yes, sharks. As soon as we saw spotted one, we immediately wanted to turn around and go back to the boat. Instead, our guide insisted that we follow them. I’m glad we did because it was an amazing experience. The ocean is definitely my go-to place for a clear mind and inspiration.”
HOOKED | HKD
“I decided to postpone my vacation until September. To ease off the work load, I took a short trip with Meitha Al Mazrooei, the editor of Watad magazine, to Sharjah Art Foundation’s Flying Saucer complex for the perfect sci-fi getaway. The Flying Saucer is a triangular diagrid with a domed, concrete roof. Built in 1978, the structure was a futurist drugstore, pharmacy, newsagent, tobacco shop, gift shop, patisserie, and delicatessen. Space age shopping in Sharjah happened there. The Saucer’s new role is to serve as a flexible gallery space. The trip ended with us munching on some local falafel and sfouf—totally worth getting away from our working desks for.”
“The most notable trip I took this summer was to Colombia with my husband for a friend’s wedding. While there, we took some time to visit Medellín and its surroundings, as well as Cartagena. I always say that my favorite destination is my next destination, and I make it a point to discover a new place and culture every time. The most important aspect when I am on vacation is to combine city, adventure, nature, and beach. Colombia was just that. I was truly taken aback by the amazing people we encountered, the incredible colors, music, food, nature, and rich culture. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.”
Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf
“For our summer vacation, we decided to visit the familiar and unfamiliar. We started our journey by touching down in London—the city that inspires us the most. After a few days with friends and family, we were off to visit a new country: Portugal. New countries inspire us with their food, culture, people, and architecture. Our first stop was Lisbon, a colorful and timeless city like no other. We spent a few days enjoying quality time with our girlfriends, sightseeing, shopping, and eating. Just as the city inspired us, Sesimbra (another town by the beach) hit us by surprise. Beautiful beaches, white sands, and picturesque scenery kept us wanting more. To end our vacation, we visited Amsterdam for a few days, because—there’s something so calm about it. Now back in Egypt, it’s still summer, and there’s nothing better than to hit the road every weekend to visit our beautiful beaches on the North Coast. Every year, our North Coast trips inspire our capsule summer collections.”
“This summer, I decided to give myself a week-long vacation in Spain, which is one of my favorite countries in the world—and where my mother lives. I spent my time between Barcelona with friends, and Sitges, which is the beautiful coastal town in which my mother resides. Since I was young, I’ve always been very drawn to Spanish culture and Barcelona is my favorite city after Beirut—I feel like there are similarities between both cities in terms of the overall vibe and lifestyle. I mainly spent my time by the beach, discovering restaurants (I’m a huge foodie), and just wandering around the city and finding new spots. It is such a creative and artistic city, and I always leave feeling inspired.”
“This summer, my husband and I decided to break our annual habit of traveling to new, exotic places, and instead spend a full month in my hometown, Beirut. The Lebanese capital is such a crazy little city—it’s so vibrant with its people, history, differences, complications, and relentless joie de vivre. Beirut is also sensory overload, in every meaning possible. Not only did I want to be a wandering tourist, but I also aimed to immerse myself in the city’s true, creative fabric. Together with two of Beirut’s budding creatives, designer Hussein Bazaza (2015 DDFC – Style.com/Arabia Fashion Prize winner) and photographer Rudolf Azzi, we took to our favorite streets to tell the stories of our childhoods. Beirut remains one of my favorite summer travel destinations, my happy place, and where I (and my brand) come from and go to for inspiration.”