Check our interview with talented Dubai fashion designer Fadwa Baruni.
Tell us about Fadwa Baruni.
I grew up in North Africa in a family that valued education more than anything – this brought me to engineering (too much blood in medicine and law was too boring). After finishing my first engineering degree at home I moved to the UK and started work, then went even further north to complete my Masters degree in Scotland. After that I started work in a software company and rose to being a sales manager with a lot of responsibility. In Scotland as well as a degree and a successful career I collected a husband and training at Edinburgh College of Art and Telford college in Design.
What inspired you to be a fashion designer?
From the earliest days I remember wanting to make clothes. My mother came one day to find that I had decided to turn her curtains into a new dress……she did eventually forgive me but did not agree that this showed I should become a fashion designer rather than an engineer. So wanting to be a fashion designer was my ambition for many years. I think there was no specific inspiration for becoming a fashion designer – it seems it was built into my DNA.
What are the challenges you face as a designer?
We have to design to make dresses women want to wear. At the same time, we want to express our originality and define our unique design style. This is the basic tension which I find the main challenge in designing. There are many designs I have completed which never went into production because I knew that they would not be commercial in the markets I serve in the region. There is a constant need to come up with new themes and ideas to build the next collection – this is the biggest challenge and the most enjoyable part of the job as a designer.
What inspired your latest collection?
Jellyfish – yes I know that this is a strange choice but inspiration can come from almost anything – music , architecture or nature. Some of my previous collections have been based on Havana and Reflections (cities at night). The jellyfish idea came from images I saw on the internet of the huge range of colours and shapes of these strange creatures. They are very elegant in their movement and their fluid and delicate shapes made an interesting contrast to my normal design look which tends to be more structured.
If you can describe yourself in 3 words what would they be and why?
Determined, creative and loving – you have to be determined to stick with a business like this which is so demanding and has many disappointments as well as successes. Creativity is an obvious need for working as a designer and the challenge is to stay creative for collection after collection as your brand develops.
Apart from my work, my family is the most important thing in my life and they take first priority in all that I do.
How would you compare your brand to other global brands?
It is really vital in the fashion industry to have a clear idea of the niche you are working in. Baruni is an affordable designer brand focused on making the Baruni customer feel confident and express their unique personality. I have a huge focus on quality and finding unique fabrics to stand out from other brands. In the end it is a unique expression of style and is clearly a different style than other brands.
What comes to mind when you think of the next collection?
When I start thinking about the next collection I never start with design or looks. I start by identifying the theme of the collection and this gradually helps me bring into a focus a color palette and the mood of the looks I will design. This inspiration can be almost anything but I do try to look for ‘out of the normal’ starting points.
What makes you happy?
In work it is seeing an elegant customer wearing one of my pieces, personally, it is having a big dinner party with my friends and seeing them having lots of fun and chatter.
How do you keep up being the creative force behind your brand and being a mother?
It is hard – work tends to absorb all my time but I do make a point of getting home as early as I can so that I can spend time with my daughter and help her doing her homework. We try to set aside time at the weekend to spend time together, I think it is important to work at maintaining family time in the middle of our busy lives.
Where can we find your collection?
Over the last few years I have been successful in having my collection adopted by leading department stores such as Galeries Lafayetter, Harvey Nichols, Robinsons and House of Fraser as well as regional boutiques such as Incanto and Rubaiyat.