Heating up the fashion stakes in Dubai, British Fashion designer Ahmad Yousaf, 25 years old, born and raised in London the capital of fashion has become renowned for designing finely detailed couture gowns featured twice a year at Dubai Fashion Week. He has recently had the opportunity to design for UAE’s royal princess Maryam Al Maktoum with no expectations of stopping just yet.
His latest project with L’nette Boutique owned by Dubai’s royal family focuses on the modern day Muslim women aspired by the cultural arts of eastern fashion forms blended into the fine attributes of feminine couture pieces defining detailed silhouettes.
M: When did your passion for fashion arise?
A: I have been passionate about fashion ever since I chose my own ensemble to wear at the age of six. I was hooked on colours shapes and fine detail. I gained an eye for detail and also learnt the importance of organisation at a very young age this made me reliable and competent which was a good attribute to take forward in both personal and work life.
M: Who have you been most inspired by through your designs?
A: Since my childhood I was fascinated about creating new stuff which drawn my interest into architecture my favourite architect is Zaha Hadid I was inspired by her style and her quality of capturing fine detail. I focused on exploring this particular aspect through fashion that soon became my signature drawing upon new shapes and the finer details of the female silhouette.
I have also drawn inspiration to the British legend that is Alexander McQueen his unique sense of art and fashion is a perfect combination in creating unique collections. I also find Christian Dior’s colour scheme through couture pieces particularly fresh and stimulating.
M: How do you feel about exploring modern couture pieces in Dubai?
A: Working in UAE is a great experience, as I explore pieces that have a strong emphasis on the Arabic culture. It’s all about glamour long dresses and full of embroidery that emphasise modern couture. I have never explored this type of work beforehand but learning from the best it was a great combination of shape and embroidery.
Individuals always want to wear the latest creations so being innovative through shapes and the female silhouette is of particular importance in the UAE. There are two seasons that very important for fashion designers in Dubai one in April and another in December where collections are featured on public and private fashion shows. Therefore designs need to be of a particularly high standard. I do design in between these dates for younger and older females exploring both traditional and new styles.
M: You often talk of the future, being avant-garde. What does innovation of western and eastern fashion forms mean to you?
A: My creations have always been innovative through the western and eastern culture. I explore the modern Muslim woman defining sharp shapes with delicate embroidery and patterns taking route from western influences including Alexander McQueen I focus on Dubai as a developing modern art form through my works. These two cultures in fashion are very strong when applied together as I am able to create gowns that have a strong concept of today’s innovation within fashion. I also design bridal gowns that are very similar with the west yet have a twist of the traditional eastern culture.
M: The cultural heritage and crafts of Dubai are very important to your creative process. How important is the Western perspective on Dubai?
A: The world’s view of Dubai is very important it’s what I call a modern fusion of mutable fashion of different cultures. I have designed for the royal princess drawing inspiration on the western culture Dubai is very good at celebrating that arts behind every culture which is why I believe it is so successful. Unfortunately, the centre of fashion and art is not Dubai, but nonetheless I find the opinion and point of view of Dubai very useful.
M: How long does it take you to design?
A: Well about designing something I can’t say how long it takes, sometimes I cannot design for whole day and sometimes ideas just do not stop coming that why I always carry a pencil and paper with me. It may sound very unusual but a few times I create designs in my dreams that I wake up and develop.
M: A lot of you designs explore modern day glamour what does that mean to you?
A: Glamour is about confidently showing your style, it means standing on your own feet and explore through the arts of culture it’s the way you present yourself through strong shapes and detailed quality designs.
Interview by Maryam Ali