We chatted to Andraya Farrag, the founder and designer of the label BEDOUIN. Get to know the story behind her contemporary womenswear label inspired by Style Without Borders, by the beautiful nomadic existence of Bedouin
We chatted to Andraya Farrag, the founder and designer of the label BEDOUIN. Get to know the story behind her contemporary womenswear label inspired by Style Without Borders, by the beautiful nomadic existence of Bedouin tribes fused with the minimalist and spontaneous style of the modern jetsetting woman.
How did it all start?
I have always loved art and design and my goal at school was to attend Central Saint Martins to study fashion. I later enrolled in the BA Hons Fashion Design with Marketing at CSM and became fully emerged in the world of fashion. There was no turning back. After working in the industry for several years and for some inspiring established designers, I decided to set up on my own. I loved working for other brands but I missed the adrenaline that comes with creating a collection from scratch and providing a product that you truly believe in.
Who influenced you to enter the field of fashion?
I have been very lucky to have a very creative and supportive family that has always encouraged me to follow my own path. Also during my degree, I was really encouraged by some wonderful tutors and mentors. Sometimes their advice was harsh but it was honest, which is valuable especially when starting a new brand.
What is your biggest inspiration?
The fusion of culture and tradition with minimalist design is something I always focus on. I believe that contrast and contradiction can be very interesting and I hope that it comes across in my collections. Travel is a very big inspiration to me and I choose a different destination to focus on for each season. I love to be inspired by traditional prints and motifs, then strip them back to add a modern twist for today’s global woman.
Describe your creative process.
Deciding on the theme or in BEDOUIN’s case, the destination is easy; for some reason it always seems to come quite naturally. I tend to find some inspiration fabrics first and the theme usually falls into place shortly after. As a hands-on designer, my day varies quite a bit depending on the stage of the season. Some days can be spent researching themes, designing pattern cutting and others can be spent in the workshop overseeing sample making and production. There are lots of very unglamorous jobs to do that I won’t bore you with.
What challenges do you usually encounter?
There are always unexpected challenges and they can really crop up at any time. I once had an occasion where rolls of beautiful silk were lost in transit which wasn’t much fun! But the ongoing challenges are trying to cope with the workload and maintaining momentum. Working for yourself can be difficult especially at the beginning.
How did you overcome such challenges?
Writing lists! I wake up every morning knowing exactly what I have to do and how to do it. There are days that I don’t get it all done but I don’t let it worry me as I always make very ambitious lists so the days I do get through it, I literally feel like superwoman.
As a personality in fashion industry, how do you define your personal style? What are your fashion must-haves?
My personal style is understated and minimalistic. I like to mix and match masculine and feminine depending on my mood for the day. I love to wear loose-fit clothes as I believe in adding some mystery to the way you dress. I love muted colours and the odd injection of metallic. My must have pieces are luxury bomber jackets, loose fit tops and anything with fringe. I also love dressing up my outfits with metallic shoes.
Can you tell us more about your brand? What is your latest collection? What makes your designs unique?
Each collection of BEDOUIN draws inspiration from cultures and tribes from across the globe with a stripped back approach to bohemia. The SS16 collection is inspired by the vibrant cultures and boundless landscapes of Mexico. I have taken some inspiration from traditional Aztec pattern, and reworked them to create a fresh take on the traditional technique. Using tone on tone colour palettes and cutwork embroidery, the motifs have been transformed for the contemporary woman. Other influences came from Aztec traditional dress and the vast white sandy deserts. In true BEDOUIN style, we have taken a subtle approach to the theme, creating a collection that is perfect for the summer travel diary.
How do you see the Middle Eastern fashion influencing or entering the global fashion trends?
I believe that Middle Eastern fashion has always stood out and will continue to do so. With a love for over the top style, regional brands maximise on colour and pattern more so than some of the global trends. However, I have noticed that in the recent years there are so many more understated brands emerging too. I believe that the Middle East is broadening its horizons and us minimalists are coming out of our shells!
What is your ultimate goal for your label?
Ultimately I would love to open some standalone stores internationally. As a travel inspired brand it would be wonderful to have stand alone stores or shop in shops across the globe.
Why did you join FFWD?
Being part of FFWD is our way of giving back to everyone that has supported us from the region. We have had such a great welcoming to The Middle East and feel that this is a great way to showcase the new collections. I hope to see you all there.