Straight out of Central St. Martins, London Andraya Farag followed her dream of being a successful fashion designer and began her eponymous label, BEDOUIN. Following on from her much-talked about Autumn/Winter ’16 show at Fashion Forward Dubai last week The Digital Dose had a one-to-one chat with Andraya about all things Bedouin. So, if you’re an aspiring designer, travel junkie or just overall lover of all things cool and contemporary then keep on reading…
1. First of all, congratulations on the super-cool show at Fashion Forward Dubai! How has the response been?
Thanks so much! The response has really been incredible which I am so grateful for. Over 200 people attended this season and the guests that I got round to speak to gave me an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.
2. How do you think FFWD is changing/growing the future of fashion in the region? Has it made a positive impact on your business process?
The FFWD team really nurture the talent in the Middle East providing such a supportive platform for young designers. I believe that in time FFWD will put Dubai on the map through showcasing emerging brands as there really is so much talent in this part of the world. This season FFWD took on a fresh more urban feel with its new location at Dubai Design District. It is amazing to see the platform evolve into a more contemporary forward thinking event and the same can be said about a lot of the brands. Brands in Dubai used to be all about bridal and evening wear but in the last few years FFWD has demonstrated that there is so much more to the Middle East than bling! FFWD has allowed contemporary brands like BEDOUIN to offer an alternative and the women of the Middle East are excited about it.
3. Tell us about the new collection. Design? Details? Inspiration?
This season draws inspiration from the intriguing culture and dramatic landscapes of Japan. AW’16 brings you a fresh perspective on tradition by combining urban street style with clean Japanese silhouettes and feminine geometric lace. We welcome the luxe Parka jacket to the tribe this season with our re-vamp of traditional camouflage and delicate blossom embroidery. The colour palette includes rich navy blues, off white, gun metal and lilac in super silky crepe satin, geometric lace and Italian brush stroke Jacquard. BEDOUIN AW16 presents go-to, effortless pieces that encourage Style Without Borders and can be worn with confidence no matter where in the world you might be
4. Why do you think Bedouin is so positively received in the UAE? (As seen on Dubai’s most fashionable faces)
I think that BEDOUIN provides something fresh to the women of the UAE. Our pieces are easy-to-wear and versatile and they can be interpreted into any wardrobe effortlessly. Each item is contracted to luxury finish taking comfort and aesthetic into consideration so that our customers feel looked after. It is important for the BEDOUIN customer to look great but most importantly feel great so that she can spend more time being spontaneous. We hope that our pieces can give her an inner confidence!
5. What’s the most important thing to you about being a designer and what’s the most challenging?
The most important thing as a designer is to know your customer and to evolve with her. BEDOUIN has evolved as a brand which I am so excited about but it is important to stay on the same course as your customer and not to divert completely. I think that is the most important and most challenging all into one! I love to push the brand further each season and I find that it is the most exciting yet most difficult part of the job. If I am not excited about it then my lovely customers certainly won’t be, so it needs to stay fresh!
6. Describe the perfect setting for a girl dressed head-to-toe in Bedouin. Where would she go and what would she do?
The idea is that most items can be worn day-to-night either styled with a pair of trainers or dressed up with a pair of heels. The BEDOUIN woman is contemporary and spontaneous with a love for travel whether it be New York or beach side Mexico. She always looks effortless and she chooses BEDOUIN go-to pieces that can be thrown on with ease and packed into a suitcase for any occasion,
“BEDOUIN can literally be worn anywhere in the world!”
7. How was fashion school for you? and what’s the best piece of information you took away with you?
Fashion school without doubt is what shaped me as a designer but also prepared me for the industry! I studied at Central Saint Martins in London for almost 5 years doing a BA in Fashion Design with Marketing and several internships. The environment was harsh with so much creativity, competition and determination flying around! It wasn’t an easy experience but it taught me to push myself to the limit, to always strive for more and to be disciplined which came in handy when starting BEDOUIN from scratch. Since graduating I now seek out constructive criticism as although I will never please everyone, people’s opinions help the brand evolve.
8. If you could say one thing to an aspiring designer what would it be?
Learn to pattern cut and sew even if you don’t study at university as if you start your own business you need to know the ins and outs of it before you can delegate. Do internships even if you are unpaid! I made lots of coffee and walked lots of dogs but I also go to do some incredible things. Immersing yourself into an established fashion house and soaking up how the business works is so valuable and it will be very hard starting a business without that knowledge.
9. How do you begin a new collection? Tell us about your creative process.
BEDOUIN is always inspired by a different culture or destination from around the world so the first step is to decide on where we are going next! I then research everything from traditional dress, art, pattern, landscapes and even street style. All of the images are collated onto a colossal mood board and are then slowly narrowed down. All of the traditional influences are made contemporary by reworking a minimising the shapes and techniques into embroidery or silhouette. Alongside all of this I am also visiting fabric fairs and working with my suppliers to reach the perfect combination. I usually design over 200 outfits before I produce the final line up as I usually spend a lot of time eliminating ideas and tying others together.
10. What’s a day like in the life of a fashion designer?
It really depends what stage of the collection I am in! But it always starts with emails and a bowl of fruit, yogurt and chia seeds and a massive cup of coffee! Some days I have so many meetings I feel like I haven’t achieved anything at all but most days are either spent designing, at the workshop overseeing sampling or attending to many other areas of the business. I also travel a lot of fashion weeks so there is always a lot of planning involved! It isn’t a very glamorous job, pre fashion forward I was rallying around town in a truck picking up ladders for the BEDOUIN FFWD presentation!
Now for the fun part….
If you could go anywhere in the world for 1 day where would it be and what would you do? Japan! I would stroll around, eat amazing food and stroll some more!
Biggest guilty pleasure? Zaatar W Zeit!
Favourite inspiring Instagram page? @wethepeoplestyle
If you could have any superpower what would it be? Teleportation!
What would you be doing if you wasn’t in fashion? I always wanted to be an NGO but fashion took over my life!