Her clothes speak for themselves and the messages they carry are heard loud and clear, “Independent, Arab, cultural, unique, feminine, extravagant, flamboyant and rebellious.” Hailing from Saudi Arabia, Haifa Fahad is a fashion designer who
Her clothes speak for themselves and the messages they carry are heard loud and clear, “Independent, Arab, cultural, unique, feminine, extravagant, flamboyant and rebellious.” Hailing from Saudi Arabia, Haifa Fahad is a fashion designer who is an inpsiration to many. We are fascinated with her work, which often celebrates the Arab culture and heritage, so we absolutely had to have a chat with Haifa herself.
“As women, I believe our ability to be so much at once is incredible”
When did you first realise you wanted to be in fashion?
I was born into my passion for fashion. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with textures, fabrics, colours and expressions told through the art of clothing. I studied fashion in Saudi Arabia and fashion business in Paris, and applied my passion into the establishment of a fashion house. My couture and ready-to-wear lines give me the creative freedom to explore all aspects of femininity, as well as masculinity, and I look forward to future expansion.
What was the most memorable experience of your career as a fashion designer?
I’ve had many, but I think the most memorable was when I launched my ready-to-wear line DARE. I realised a new sense of growth, and that I had finally created that new space for expression. I have so many elements and so many ideas, and so the ability to apply them all under Haifa Fahad’s overall aesthetic really means a lot to me.
Who do you look up to?
In the fashion world I’d have to say Rick Owens, Olivier Rousteing and Karl Lagerfeld – equally. They all relate to different aspects of my being, and also where I see Haifa Fahad develop as a brand. Karl, because he does everything. He’s allowed to. He can do anything and still be Karl. Rick, because of his ability to make beautiful things from a seemingly darker place. I love that transition, finding beauty in a place of pain. And finally Olivier, because he’s just brilliant. What he did with and for Balmain remains a moment in fashion history.
What is your opinion on the regional market?
I’m very excited about it. We are growing in so many interesting ways and I know the world is paying attention. I feel education is imperative though, and all of us as artists – in every stage of our career – need to continue mastering the craft of fashion business, as well as creativity. I hope to see more support in manufacturing and distribution so we can produce better locally. Overall, from a design perspective, I am so proud of the talented community we have in this region and will continue supporting the industry’s development.
What is the most difficult aspect about your work?
Production can be tiresome I suppose, because I have to travel constantly to ensure the best quality materials and operational process. But I don’t believe in “difficulty dwelling”. I face every challenge head on and continue to do my best in achieving the best with every collection.
Describe your creative process.
It’s very sporadic, and can happen at any time. I live in an ocean of emotions that often conflict one another, and I feel this clash is expressed in my pieces. I can be taken by a painting one day, and something as simple as a news story the next. I love layers, and intricacy, and can often see the details in the simplest things. My process is guided by God, I really have no control over it.
What was your latest Ramadan collection inspired by?
Well, I believe we’re a result of our thoughts, and this collection was inspired by just that: thoughts. As women, I believe our ability to be so much at once is incredible. We can be reserved, but liberal in thinking. We can triumph in spaces that many would view as ‘limited’. We can be down, but remain powerful. My inspiration came from these seemingly conflicting perceptions and truths, and this altering ability great women have to achieve, despite the constraints against us. I used a faded-like crepe, hand-made embroidery and crystal embellishment to create that “clashed and luxury” feel the Haifa Fahad customer knows very well.
Our Maison de Couture is aware that our dear clients aren’t looking for statement pieces as such, but a sense of wearable originality, investing into something that not only relates to who they are, but will also last them a lifetime. The additional sense of pride with ALTER is that it’s a collection made 100% in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
What are your hopes for Haifa Fahad brand?
Global recognition, and presence. I also hope to to develop further lines in jewellery. I want Haifa Fahad to stand proudly next to the names we all grew up with, knowing that this particular name grew up with us, on our homeland.
What do you hope your legacy will be?
I hope for my legacy to be embedded in the idea of possibility. To become a leader for Saudi women, and every woman to believe in her beauty, her craft and her possibility in leaving her own beautiful mark in the world.
What are the three most important principles you live by?
Honesty, integrity and dedication.