After being infatuated by fashion all his life, the young and upcoming fashion designer Zaid Farouki just launched his first atelier in Dubai and is already making headlines with his hand painted inspirational garments. eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb spoke to the Egyptian/Saudi designer to gain more insight about his breakthrough into fashion.
Tell us more about your background.
I was born in Amman, Jordan and was raised between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We are of Palestinian origin, but my father was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, while my mother was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I hold both the Jordanian and American nationalities. I consider Dubai my new home where I want to fulfill my dreams and aspirations by opening up my own atelier. As you can see, I can relate to five different Arab countries. I also have an American passport and I’ve been educated in both the USA and Europe. But my Arab heritage is what defines me the most.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I have always wanted to become a fashion designer. When I was applying to universities and picking my major, I was told that as long as I got a degree in business, I would be able to do whatever I wanted afterwards. That is exactly what I did. I moved to Washington DC, attended the American University, and majored in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. However, I always felt that I wasn’t feeding my artistic side. So I enrolled in art classes and also added a Studio Art minor, which included painting, sculpting, and multimedia. I also started my own fashion blog, zaiddor.com. In my final year in DC, I applied to Instituto Marangoni in Milan and I got accepted. At that point, I knew that’s where I was meant to be and what I was meant to do. After receiving my degree in Fashion Design, I moved to London and attended Central Saint Martin and took specialized courses in couture techniques and embroidery, as well as hand painting.
What inspires your designs?
Everything surrounding me inspires me, from my mood to the roads I walk in or drive on, to a person’s style, to an event, to our music, and icons. Details are what inspire me; the details in buildings and paintings are a major key for me. I imagine my creations with every breath and living moment. I envision my woman in her surroundings moving to the sound of her own drums. Then one day my eyes encounter a beautiful subject across a pond, allowing me to forget the past and move forward, wandering and studying her art of seduction, its features, and its ever growing beauty in my eyes. Therefore, a new muse and theme arise.
Tell us more about your first collection; what’s the concept behind it?
While creating the Dripping Amends collection, I imagined a woman of contemporary values walking through the hallways of a 16th century chateaux. She explores the estate throughout the night, with nothing other than candles lighting her path and wax dripping onto her clothes. She emerges as a different woman.
Describe the woman who wears Zaid Farouki.
I design for a woman who knows her worth and value. She never underestimates her style, and is always off to the event of the year. She preserves her true elegance, but is not afraid to be edgy. I imagine a woman adorned by European clean cuts, true American liberties, and the ever-existent Arab dramatization.
Tell us about the feedback so far from your first collection?
The feedback has all been positive, even though we have just launched; what we believe in is the fusion of fashion and art.
What obstacles did you face starting your first collection?
The main obstacle was the ability to explain our breakthrough between fashion and art. Our creations can be worn and displayed when unused in the clients’ art collections and not in their wardrobes.
What do you think of the fashion industry in the Middle East?
We are definitely a growing fashion hub with so much potential and with the ability to reach a global scale.
Who are your favourite designers?
I am inspired by multiple designers, from the femininity of Elie Saab and Oscar de la Renta, to the artistry of Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen, from Jean Paul Gaultier’s theatrical pieces to Chanel’s relativity to every generation.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a new collection, as well as displaying our one-of a kind wearable art creations in art galleries and boutiques.