London based brand founded Ahmed Alkhyeli, who sees the Khyeli woman as POWERFUL. Just how we like it!
I must say I got hooked by the idea behind his designs at LFW, a collection that explored the boundaries of cultures, combining traditional British heritage and the current situation of Syrian refugees who once lived luxurious lives.
The S/S18 collection follows the same patterns, and I can't help but notice that despite being a sucker for colour, this monochrome palette has got really into me.
Let's get to know the designer and the brand a bit more together!
Where did you learn your trade?
I’m self-taught. I studied architecture for my bachelor degree. I was always drawn to
fashion, and architecture helped me develop more than an appreciation for the beauty of it
but also an appreciation for the craftsmanship and thought that goes behind it. By the last
two years of my studies, I started teaching myself how to drape and construct garments
through books and any video tutorial I can find. My curiosity grew the more I learnt and so
did my hunger for knowledge not only in the creative aspect of the job but also the business
aspect of what it takes to build a successful fashion house. When I graduated from
architecture, I took a short course at Instituto Marangoni in Paris called ‘the business of
Fashion’. I realised throughout that course that with all its challenges, I had a curiosity and
love for the fashion industry that I would not be able to give to any other profession and
that the accumulation of knowledge and discovery did not feel like work but was something
I did out of a natural desire to know more. In turn, I knew that this would be the career I
would want to pursue.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Describe your aesthetic …..
It differs from when I’m working on a collection to when I’m working on a bespoke design
for a client. For collections, I start with an idea I would like to express. This idea serves as a
source of inspiration. For example, my previous collection was about the openness to
possibility and liberation from limitations of convention. This directed me towards the focus
on conventional, classic pieces of clothing with traditional ways of construction that
transition throughout the collection from very constructed garments made of heavy weight
fabrics, to a much lighter weight transparent fabrics which seem to be effortlessly wrapped
around the body and incorporating feathered dresses so light they float on your body to
symbolise liberation. Whereas when it is a bespoke design, the client is the source of
inspiration. I like to learn about them, their culture, the occasion they are dressing for to
deliver something truly unique and personal.
Ultimately, the most important thing for me is to frame the woman. I believe she
should be the center of attention not the dress she wears. I think the biggest compliment to a designer is for a woman to be told today you look exceptionally beautiful rather than that dress is beautiful. Often a dress that has a lot going on can
take over and end up being a distraction from the true reason it is worn, which is to
compliment the woman wearing it and draw attention to her inherent beauty. As for
my design principles, I derive a lot of them from my architectural background. I put a
lot of emphasis on materiality, form and construction. We only use the highest quality
of fabrics, we always try to have form be dictated by the way a dress is constructed.
Most dresses will look like they were not touched very much and drape organically
when in fact a lot skill and craftsmanship went into the pattern cutting, and
construction of the garment.
Who is your customer?
My customer can be of any age, and can come from any part of the world. She is confident,
educated and powerful while retaining a strong sense of her femininity. In her fragility, she
finds compassion and in her strength she finds the power to defend what she believes in.
Above all she understands that her value doesn’t lie in what she wears, but that what she
wears expresses a sophisticated sensibility and a love for fine fabrics and details of cut that
emphasise her individual beauty. She understands that garments are meant to frame you
rather than be framed by you.