Zayan Ghandour interview

Praire meets the desert in influential designer's new collection


Zayan Ghandour, currently one of the UAE’S most significant people in fashion, just launched her Spring/Summer 2015 Take Me Home collection for her Zayan the Label line. Zayan uses Little House on the Prairie as a primary reference point for her inspiration and the collection can be found at S*uce stores and Zayan the Label boutiques throughout the UAE. Zayan is co-founder, creative director and head buyer at S*uce, as well as designer for Zayan the Label.

Why did you choose Little House on The Prairie as a reference point for your newest collection?
I love the simplicity and authenticity of the country lifestyle and my sisters and I used to watch the series growing up. We were infatuated with everything that had to do with living on a farm.

The collection features incredibly intricate prairie-esque detail. Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection?
We start with the general overall theme and then zoom in on the details that would bring the story to life. For example, the vintage French lace trim, the butterfly and bird appliqués, and the dungaree-shaped dresses are all what we envisioned a modern farm girl would wear.

Do your designs reflect your personality?
I guess they must, because I love pretty details, but at the same time, I like those details to be slightly different from what you would have expected them to look like. I love an element of surprise.

How do you make your inspiration a reality?
I love it when an object has a story behind it, because it brings it to life. Every time the Zayan the Label design team and I sit and brainstorm new collections, we relate ideas to what we’ve been seeing around us in our lives and/or things that have inspired us, so that the collection has a cohesive and interesting story to tell.

The fashion industry is fiercely competitive. How difficult is it to stand out from other brands?
It is a competitive market indeed, but we have a unique story, which we translate into beautiful and delicate details, original designs and exclusive fabrics and prints. Our story stands out because it’s not based on any particular trend, but rather it can work for any season and appeal to a wide audience.

Do you try to keep with trends or create your own?
We always create our own. We try to move within certain tendencies in fashion, such as sports luxe, which we embrace and appropriate and make our own by juxtaposing pretty details. We like cutting new and interesting modern shapes.

Were there any barriers to following your passion?
It would have been hard to pursue my dreams if I had not moved to the UAE. Everything here seemed to facilitate and support entrepreneurship, so it was easy to continue to grow and expand.

Do you have any advice for young fashion designers?
Nike say it best: Just Do It!
S*uce, various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, (04 339 9696). Zayan the Label, Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, (04 344 0104).

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