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An exclusive Q&A with the French-Algerian born designer and founder of the Dubai-based label: Bouguessa. The brand centres on merging the contemporary fashion in modest styles. Inspired by art, architecture and global culture, the designer

An exclusive Q&A with the French-Algerian born designer and founder of the Dubai-based label: Bouguessa. The brand centres on merging the contemporary fashion in modest styles. Inspired by art, architecture and global culture, the designer Faiza Bougessa works on signature designs that lie in highly modern silhouettes, bold lines, geometric precision, sharp edges and great attention to detail.

What led you into becoming a fashion designer?
A couple of years after moving to Dubai, I started researching concepts to create a clothing line which had always been my ultimate career goal. I found that there was a gap in the market for minimal and global abayas and modest clothing, so I worked on the business plan for about 4-5 years before finally launching the brand.

Who influenced you to enter the field of fashion?
Aside from being surrounded by women in my family that introduced me to the world of fashion very early, I was always very sensitive to all sorts of arts. Also, I learned from my grandmother how to sew and knit from a very early age. My mother started buying me fashion magazines quite early in my teen years, so I guess that she sensed that I had a strong interest in fashion. I used to go through the magazines over and over. Growing up in France also was an influence since fashion is an important part of the culture of the country.

“To make women feel good about themselves, I think this is the greatest feeling for me”

What is your biggest inspiration?
When I design, I like to think of my clients and friends. I always pay attention to everything they say – where they would like to travel, what they like in their style and fashion, what makes them buy an abaya, and what makes them not to. There is a story behind each of my designs. An example would be was when a client once told me she liked to sit in her backyard with her friends during winter night in Dubai and light a fire, they’d have kara and enjoy a nice moment together. So I wondered what would be a nice outfit in such situation, and the thought inspired me to design the Wool Poncho Abaya from my AW15 Collection.

How do you start working on your collection?
It is different from one collection to another, but the common factor is that it always starts from a certain feeling. A feeling I experience when seeing a movie that inspired me, or the music I heard from a new place I visited, or in visiting an exhibition, or from simply driving around Dubai. I usually get an idea from such circumstances, and it builds from there.

What challenges do you usually encounter?
I experience new things in every single collection. The challenges are sometimes the same, sometimes different. All these challenges taught me how to control my stress, and allowed me to manage finding solutions very fast. I have accepted that there will always be challenges along the way, and that it is a positive thing because it means the company is growing.

As a personality in fashion industry, how do you define your personal style? What are your fashion must-haves?
My style is very simple. I prefer to look subtly classy when I dress rather than to get noticed with many colours.

For me, the must-have piece of clothing for this season is my Oversized Cotton Shirt Dress, it is very easy to wear and you can style it in so many different ways. In terms of accessories, I am in love with the latest Chloe Faye bag.

Bouguessa - Presentation - Dubai FFWD April 2015

Can you tell us more about your brand? What is your latest collection? What makes your designs unique?
A Bouguessa piece can be recognised from the contemporary, minimal and sophisticated aesthetics and impeccable finishing. At the centre of Bouguessa is an ethos of minimalist sophistication and feminine elegance for today’s women.

I design to give women functional aesthetics, to give them the freedom of expressing their personality and feel comfortable with their style. And thus, I design modern Abayas that give them a feeling of being part of the contemporary global trend while still respecting the traditional wearing of the garment.

How do you see the Middle Eastern fashion influencing or entering the global fashion trends?
I feel that women from the Middle East are already influencing the global fashion trend. And, it is through them that Middle Eastern fashion could influence the global trends, the reason is that they more than any other women in the world are the ones who buy brands, and they also buy their Middle Eastern brands and I am sure that this will make international brands and industry look at what we do.

Bouguessa - Presentation - Dubai FFWD April 2015

What keeps you busy these days?
I have showcased the SS16 collection at Milan Fashion week, and the week after I will be traveling to Paris to show the same collection at Paris Fashion Week. Then I will return to Dubai and prepare the Private Viewing of the collection to our VIP clients and later I will have to prepare for Fashion Forward. So quiet busy until late October.

Why did you join FFWD? What are the benefits you expect to receive after showcasing your collection at FFWD?
We chose to show at Fashion Forward because we thought that it is a great platform that has grown consistently over the past years and that emerging designers who participated in it have gained credibility too. We also felt that it would be a great marketing tool for us to have all the press and the influential people from the fashion industry in one place.

Bouguessa - Presentation - Dubai FFWD April 2015Bouguessa - Presentation - Dubai FFWD April 2015

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