When she was 13 years old, Lama El Moatassem’s family moved to London from Doha – a relocation that made a big impact on her future. There, she attended Central Saint Martins for her foundation year, London College of Fashion for BA during where she went to Paris for six months for an internship at Chloe and finally graduated and worked for Matthew Williamson for three years.
“The textile element is a very important part of my process, and this is where it starts. The fabrics and textures are what helps express the story of the collection every season. We source our fabrics in Paris from
International suppliers- It’s usually quite hectic as this happens while we are yet to sell the season we had just completed,” she says. Once she gets back from Fashion week, all the action starts with defining the motifs, colours and editing the selection of the materials she has sourced. “In parallel the silhouettes start taking shape once the fabric selection has been made, embroidery artworks are drawn out on each style to be embroidered and sent to our factories for embroidery, printing etc.,”she adds. Her inspiration? “Happiness. I’m most inspired being somewhere surrounded by good vibes, being able to think clearly and freely,” she beams.
That is when she started Toujouri that became one of the first emerging brands in the Gulf five years ago. “Our aim has been to inspire young designers and talent in the region to aim for something bigger. Rather than dressmaking and selling one off pieces to friends, shaping our own fashion community and voice. We set very high standards of construction, craft and finishing to our pieces, inspired by our culture and our surroundings, but not being afraid with this identity to speak to the world”.
The Doha store was an important step to bring the brand to life. Toujouri in Arabic means a traditional treasure chest which is most literally translated with a rosewood and brass studded facade. The interiors of the store are all neutral, but very luxurious in textures and hand made elements.
“These process were very much inspired by our own design process, and the subtlety of our desert landscapes without being very obvious and cliche with cultural references. The sliding hand painted panels creates an element of exploration and surprise. Much like discovering the layers of jewellery box.”