A Way of Life

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Fujairah based designer, Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi always knew she wanted to be a designer. It was in her blood to make women feel good when they wear her clothes. She tells Sharon Carvalho about how it all began

“Igrew up with tailors around the house,” reminisces Madiyah, “My mum would be designing clothes and I would watch the process of creating and tailoring. I always enjoyed the process and at the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to do it as well.” Using this early inspiration to hone the technical side of fashion through her studies at the French fashion university, ESMOD, she quickly gained insight into the creative process while interning with renowned Lebanese designer, Abed Mahfouz.

For Madiyah, fashion was a way of life. “It has always been very important to my family so my passion evolved through that,” she explains but credits her friends for the final leap. “They were the ones that convinced me to become a fashion designer because they saw potential and talent in me,” admitting that she was sceptical till the influx of positive response to her first collection.

Bursting with ideas and constantly sketching, the vibrant young lady draws inspiration from her travels. “I love Europe, especially Paris. Everyone is so fashionable and the architecture is unbelievably beautiful too!” she says on a sigh, “I always feel the need to create when I am there.” Describing the city as effortlessly glamorous and timelessly alluring, she infuses the spirit in her favourite element, the gingham in pink and beige. “I think it is so feminine, yet so bold and that is something I strive for in my designs. But, I have to admit, technical limitations are a challenge,” she says when explaining that her creativity and passion sometimes carry her away creatively.

While Madiyah likes to use jacquards and embellished lace, for her latest collection she experimented with gingham, which is quite a stiff fabric. “That is why I had to keep my silhouettes quite simple,” she explains,” but I added an edgy twist with panels and a 60’s inspired look.”

It hasn’t always been an easy road which is why she implores aspiring designers to keep fighting for what they want and follow their dreams no matter what. “People will try to bring you down but you have to be able to deal with criticism so that you can improve on yourself and your work,” she adds. With dreams of growing and sharing her collections internationally, Madiyah hopes that her work will show the world the immense talent that lies in the Middle East.

QUICK QUESTIONS:

What are the five things always in your handbag?
Phone, note pad, sunglasses, EOS lip balm and perfume.

What are the wardrobe essentials for every woman?
A simple pencil skirt and a L’Afshar clutch!

What is your go-to design secret?
A trip to Paris always gets me inspired.

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