Introducing her latest Pre-Fall collection, her most mature to date, Reemami’s designer Reem Al Banna, is set to create a line of statement pieces inspired by iconic designers. Style.com/Arabia spoke with Al Banna about her shift from graphic to fashion design and the Reemami woman.
ON HER ROOTS
My mother and father are Palestinian, but I was born and raised in the UAE. Growing up, I realized I was always very visual, always interested in designing and creating. At age 10, I bought spray paints and sprayed all the furniture in my room. I created my own wonderland. I also got aluminum foil and wrapped my carpet with it, creating a very robotic, modern feel to it. I would work with anything available.
ON HER BEGINNINGS
I always secretly wanted to be a fashion designer, but at that time it seemed like a dream too far to reach; it was too perfect of a job. After graduating, I started my career as a graphic designer in a prominent advertising agency. I specialized in branding, creating logos, and corporate identities. Somehow, every time I created a new brand identity, I always had a dress-inspired option involved.
I realized fashion was my calling, so I enrolled in Esmod Dubai, and took night courses for three years, and that’s how it all began.
ON WANTING TO MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT
Making a fashion statement as a designer can start with a little seam detail, a full skirt, or a print. Creating fashion statements is what I strive for. I always have the urge to explore new cuts, designs, or twists, and introduce them to the fashion world.
As a person who loves fashion, very similar to the Reemami girl, who loves to make a fashion statement, my style is very eclectic, quirky, modern, and can be considered classic, but with an unusual edge. I believe that a small twist in any outfit can really take you places.
ON BEING A UAE-BASED DESIGNER
Starting your own label always requires a lot of determination and hard work. It takes years to create a credible brand and build a company. Being a UAE-based designer has a lot of positive outcomes, as the fashion industry is emerging rapidly and is on the verge of going global.
Designing for over five years in the UAE has made me realize that staying original is necessary. Also, creating a strong brand identity and keeping an eye on craftsmanship is one of the main points designers should focus on to excel.
Luckily, the Middle Eastern fashion lovers are always on the look out for something new and original. Clients are bold and daring, which perfectly fits the Reemami brand.
ON HER ICONS
Azzedine Alaïa is a master of flattering the female figure; he didn’t give any attention to fame and media but he continued to master his craft for more than 50 years. The fact that he is an Arab, Tunisian designer, makes me really look up to his success.
Coco Chanel was at the start of a fashion revolution and set the women free from corsets in the 1920s. She was also the head of an incredible fashion brand, which set the mood for every season.
I am inspired by many other fashion figures that paved their way into the fashion world and left a very strong mark in peoples lives such as Christian Dior, Hussein Chalayan, Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford, Vivienne Westwood, and many more.