Pakistani designer Aisha Saim's Frilz by Ash, an embroidered fabric brand, will make its second appearance at the Dubai Fashion Week (DFW) tonight. Saim, who popularly goes by the name Ash, established the fledgling design house two years ago after working as a design consultant for a number of fashion brands in Pakistan. Today, she operates nine outlets spread across Pakistan.
The designer says her debut at the DFW last year was a "roaring success" and that she is looking forward to presenting her latest collection inspired by marine life called "Love underwater".
The strength of her brand, she says, is in surface design on various silk and cotton- based fabrics, she says. Saim also launched a pret or ready-to-wear line last year which incorporates the fabric that she produces for Frilz.
She speaks to Emirates Business about her return to the fashion week, what she thinks of local designers, her marine theme and where, in her opinion, the fashion industry is headed.
This is your second season at the DFW. Why did you decide to come back?
Sweid: When I moved back to Dubai [after studying in the United States] it was difficult to find qualified instructors. I practiced at home for a year then thought about opening a studio so I could do it there. Zein and another friend said they would love to join so we brought over instructors for the US and opened in Dubai Media City. Very quickly, we realised there was so much demand that it could not keep up, therefore we opened a second, third and fourth studio.
Is demand for haute couture on the wane here, regionally and globally? What kind of future do you see for it?
Haute Couture is on the wane globally, that is why I work in Demi-Couture, in which the client is getting high fashion products in affordable prices.
Do you think Emirati designers are in danger of being overshadowed by other designers?
I don't think so, Dubai is an international cosmopolitan city and people from all parts of the world live here and visit here, Emirati designers make beautiful clothes and their market is going to strengthen with international exposure.
Is the road to international fashion weeks fraught with financial and creative challenges?
Yes it definitely is, finances are still manageable if one is organised, but to come up with innovative ideas every season is quite a tough task.
What are we going to see from you this season?
This season I have put together a collection based on Marine Life. It's titled 'Love underwater...'.
I have explored the organisms and organic structures present in our oceans.
With this collection, I would like to send a message about their safety and sustenance.
We must save the environment from being destroyed by pollution.