“Mama mia,” exclaims Thamanyah’s creative director Ahmed Abdelrahman. “Nez is so hard to please!” The designer and protégé of Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy is referring to Nez Gebreel, the DDFC (Dubai Design and Fashion Council) CEO who is currently mentoring him. “She is very tough and never repeats herself twice. She will listen to you and then provide a short, precise answer.” Abdelrahman cites Gebreel’s familiarity with the dynamics of launching a global brand—from defining brand DNA and personality, to production, distribution, and financing—as tools he is eager to develop and identifies Gebreel as being the key figure to guide him. “Most people act like they understand what designers talk about—when in reality, they don’t,” he explains. And if Abdelrahman believes that Gebreel’s support has arrived in the right place at the right time, it’s also made “the difference.”
This season, the Thamanyah label—which Abdelrahman has always considered unisex—debuts twelve looks specifically for women, and launched exclusively here on Style.com/Arabia.
When I ask Abdelrahman about the process, he advocates the experience as being “a freeing one.” He recalls his journey of exploration and remembers that he first looked back in order to be able to move forward. “I asked myself, ‘Where could I have been more honest?’ I revisited the most popular styles and upgraded them in terms of fit, comfort, finishing, and fabrics.” Styles re-examined include the dislocated shoulder blazer, the long bomber, the razor pants, and the kandora—a house signature.
If feedback—led by DDFC’s Gebreel—has made the process a liberating one, it has also encouraged Abdelrahman to be more open as a whole to a sort of “co-creation” between himself, his team, and his client. “I am now more open to exchanging ideas and to the voice of experience,” he states, referring to his pattern makers who have mastered the profession for some 35 years.
Abdelrahman has opened up to a design process that has allowed for real expression, which has developed—on a product front—to adding sneakers and shoe accessories to his line, “Everything that I felt was missing in my own personal Thamanyah wardrobe,” he explains. The collection, featuring cool wools, tweed, leather trims, cashmere and silk blends, and brass accessories with matt palladium plating, wraps, folds, protects, and caresses its wearer; recalls a love affair between a man—or woman—and her clothes.
See the full Thamanyah collection here.