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Inside the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize Ready-to-Wear Finalists’ Ateliers

Courtesy of Twisted Roots

We’ve already introduced you to the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize ready-to-wear, accessories, and high jewelry design finalists and now it’s time for a closer look at their workspaces. Here, the five ready-to-wear designers open up their studio doors to give an intimate virtual tour to show how they bring their collections to life…

Faissal El-Malak

“It all starts with a lot of research: images, films, historical and regional references, and swatches of artisanal fabrics that move me. These elements then transform into a mood board, followed by sketches. I try to think of the woman of the season, of her story and how it can translate into a wardrobe. Finally, we work on patterns and samples, which go from 2D to 3D and often bring with them surprises – new ideas and interpretations that animate the collection.”

Fatma Al Mulla

“I like to go back to basics – pen and paper. Writing and painting takes you back to square one, where you truly understand the meaning of what art is all about. From there, I extract elements of my drawings and certain patterns that connect with me as an artist and designer, and expand on them into more fruitful designs. My ideal environment to curate my designs and work would be a calm setting, with subtle jazz music playing in the background. I then go through the process of fabric selection, and experiment how the different tones and colors are absorbed into the fabric, how the fabrics interact with the skin and, most importantly, the quality, durability, and functionality of the fabric as a finished piece.”

Lama Jouni

“As I am an early bird, I enjoy a morning routine where I savor a full breakfast and spend time with my dogs in the park before I jet off to work. Once I reach my workspace, I set the atmosphere with my preferred playlist and get going with my usual daily tasks and emails following the trips to the atelier. When working on a new collection, I will spend a lot of time at the dummy and pattern table. As I am the solo manager in the company, I manage all tasks and responsibilities around me, such as inventories, production, sample updates, and follow-ups. Nevertheless, I am always searching for new inspiration and brainstorming sessions for neverending creative ideas.”

Nour Najem

“My days are essentially divided three ways. I wake up at 5.30am every morning and go to Ashtanga yoga. I love practicing in the morning, it gives me perspective, clarity, and lots of energy during the day. By 8.30am, three days a week, I’m at L’Artisan du Liban’s atelier, where I was recently appointed creative director. Around 3.30pm, a whole new day starts for me. That’s when the designer/CEO part of me takes over. I visit suppliers, factories, and women I work with for my brand and check on everything that has been done that day. My days often finish late because I’m very passionate about what I do and juggle a lot. But I truly believe in finding the right equilibrium and that doing everything is about being organized and being on top of things, which I am.

My creative journey starts with basic inspiration; an idea or a feeling I want to give women when they see/wear my clothes. It’s then followed with intellectualization, where I find literary and cultural references, and then internalization, where I just sit with it and let images and feelings come to mind. The process then starts coming to life as I create handmade textures and fabrics, draw and plan the collection, and finally get to patterns and samples.”

Latifa Al Gurg

“A typical workday for me consists of the following: a recap with the creative team on the previous day’s work and current tasks, a production recap, and working out any issues. Then it’s time for emails, payments, administration, design and fit testing, creative team discussion on collection and costing, as well as stockist assessments and strategy planning.”

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