Infusing her passion for hand drawing unique prints and turning them into colourful clothes and accessories, Dina Khalifé launched her eponymous fashion label with the goal to create vibrant textiles and transform them into creations that would bring joy to all those that wore them. Sharon Carvalho speaks to the artistic woman about inspiration and the journey
How did your journey with design begin?
Ever since I was a child, I have been passionate about drawing by hand. A while later, I started to collect fabrics with colourful patterns. I also vividly remember my mother and grandmother embroidering beautiful textiles while at home. In 2009, I did my Masters in Textile Design and Surfaces at the Istituto Europeo de Design in Madrid. After that, I worked for the Spanish fashion house Bimba & Lola as an accessory designer. While I was working for them, I realized that the experience I gained had given me the confidence I needed to venture out on my own. With that boost, I decided to quit my full time job and start the brand. I then heard about Starch Foundation, an organization based in Beirut that helps emerging Lebanese designers while they are developing their collection. This is how my first collection was born.
What inspires your creations?
The idea behind the brand is to portray beauty and magic in ordinary things. I’m inspired by the books I’m reading, nature, interactions with people, travels, museums and food. I am lucky and thankful to live in a country with so much inspiration around me.
What is your design process?
The fabrics are all hand drawn and hand painted in-house. The collection is produced in limited runs by local artisans and printed in Como, an area in Italy traditionally known for its textiles and finest printing techniques. The sewing is done in an atelier in Madrid. What have you learnt about
yourself over the years you’ve been a designer?
The market is saturated with designers’ brands and it’s difficult to survive. But if you believe in your project and you are doing it with passion, it will reflect in your collections and eventually reach an audience.
Describe the Dina Khalifé woman.
My collection targets women looking for unique outfits that make them stand out in the crowd. These women appreciate delicate details and stylish clothes. The clients are women from all over the world.
What are your hopes for your brand?
I hope to have retailers around the globe. I would like to enter new markets such as Hong Kong and New York.
What advice would you give to anyone that wishes to be a designer?
Learn as much as you can before venturing out on your own! Having your own brand sounds very tempting but there’s a lot to know before starting it.
I worked for Bimba & Lola after my graduation and the time I spent there gave me the experience I needed and exposed me to the idea of how to develop a collection with a theme that runs throughout the clothes, accessories, bags and shoes. It was very important because I gained knowledge about the creative and the business aspects involved when creating a brand.
Favourite ‘me time’ activity
Describe your personal style.
Fresh, young and delicate.
Fashion pet peeve
The leopard print
Five must have’s in a woman’s wardrobe
A good leather purse, a pair of shoes, a beautifully tailored dress, a striped shirt and sunglasses.
Celebrity you would like to dress?