Honing in on the contrast in cultures that was her childhood, Andraya Farrag found a way to translate the juxtaposition into her designs to create a contemporary womenswear label that reflected her beliefs.
Sharon Carvalho speaks to the designer about her journey, inspiration and the Bedoiun woman
How did your journey with design begin?
I have always loved art and design from a very young age and always hoped to pursue a career in it someday. I have always been quite determined, during my A-levels, my school didn’t offer textiles and I managed to persuade my teacher to let me make conceptual clothing rather than paint. I eventually enrolled to the BA Fashion Design with Marketing degree at Central Saint Martins in London. During my time there, I learnt so much from the inspiring people that surrounded me, but mostly I learnt that determination and creativity are two of the most important skills to harness. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
What is your design process?
Once the season’s story is in place I research thoroughly into traditional dress, colour, pattern and silhouette and choose fabrics that complement. These ideas are then re-imagined to become relevant for the contemporary woman. Our Bedouin woman is always the main focus and, as I design, I imagine how she would style the piece from day to night. It is important that each piece is easy to wear with an effortless attitude without compromising on originality. I like to work as 3D as possible, so we get the designs into fabric straight away and work on the fit and the silhouette right up until the last minute.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Each season is inspired by a different culture, environment or destination combined with contemporary design and luxurious fabrics. Our upcoming AW16 collection drew inspiration from the intriguing culture of Japan, combining urban street style with traditional geometric patterns and architecture. Top-stitching and exaggerated flared sleeves were inspired by our update on the Samurai. I also took a lot of inspiration from art, focusing on landscapes, resulting in the collection featuring wave-like layers of embroidery and brush strokes representing the mountains and waterscapes of Japan.
Who is the Bedouin woman?
She is a contemporary global woman with a love for travel, clean design and music. As a social and independent woman, she loves the world and gets inspired by people and diversity. Our woman is always on the go, whether she is a career woman, a mother of three or a hard working student, she has big dreams and aspirations. Bedouin is there to help give the inner confidence she needs to achieve those dreams.
What defines your brand?
Inspired by the beautiful nomadic tribes of the desert, Bedouin believes in ‘Style Without Borders’. We create versatile, go to pieces that can take you from day-tonight, no matter where life takes you. Our focus is to create pieces that women feel great in whether they are at a business meeting, out with the girls or jetting off in style. With a focus on flattering silhouettes, luxurious fabrics and statement details, Bedouin pieces provide comfort as well as independence. We rise by lifting others and looking after our woman is the most important part.
How have you and your brand evolved?
I have learnt so much since starting the brand, not only professionally but also personally. I believe that thanks to our loyal customers, the brand has evolved into something that I am proud of. I am constantly striving to improve on design and finish, but most importantly I hope to surprise our customer each season by providing her with a fresh take on tradition. It is a lot of pressure to pull something bigger and better out of the bag but I love the challenge and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What are your future plans?
For the last two seasons we have been showing at London and Paris Fashion Weeks as well as FFWD in Dubai, which we will continue to do in the future. We hope to continue to grow our family of stockists in the GCC and Europe and eventually be available worldwide.
Celebrity you would love to dress: Alexa Chung
Five must haves in a wardrobe: A statement bomber jacket, an off the shoulder loose fit dress, a bucket bag, metallic sandals and culottes.
Fashion pet peeve: When people wear clothes that don’t fit them properly.
Favourite ‘me time’ activity: Swimming
Your mantra: Be so busy loving life that you have no time for regret, hate