Khaleda and Fahad Like You've Never Seen Them Before

 Dressed in their over-the-top eccentric fashion, eye-catching outfits, and edgy and dramatic accessories, Bahraini fashion designer Khaleda Rajab and Kuwaiti shoes and bags designer Fahad Al Marzouq are one of those public figures who would be hard not to recognize on a casual day (or any day for that matter).  So I decided to feature them on my blog like you have never seen them before, dressed in classic and elegant pieces all available at Harvey Nichols Kuwait.  To my surprise (and what a good surprise it was), the lovely and super friendly designers Khaleda and Fahad agreed to go with my makeover! They ripped up their rule-book of fashion for the shoot and let down their guard, and allowed me to style them in pieces they would never wear. Imagine no knuckle rings, no avant-garde pieces (which I love), and no skulls. As much as I love how they embrace their own personal style and how they carry themselves, I thought it would be interesting to see them dressed in outfits completely the opposite of what they are used to. Nothing but glamorous and preppy clothes and accessories. Half way through the styling session, they both looked agitated and depressed, even though they tried to put on a big brave smile. I really appreciated that they did it with grace. I must sincerely thank Fahad and Khaleda for their patience and cooperation during this project. And big thanks to Harvey Nichols Kuwait team for their support and allowing us to play dress-up in their store, the team also helped me a lot with picking pieces for Fahad.

While styling  Khaleda and Fahad, I took this opportunity to interview them too. Here's what they had to say...

CFK: Talk me through a typical day in your design studio…
KR: A typical day at my studio is a very hectic day. Working in the fashion industry is an amazing job. It’s always active, you never find yourself with nothing to do.  It can get exhausting but at the same time a holiday is necessary from time to time to get your head back in the game. My working hours are from 10 am to 7pm sometimes we find ourselves pulling an all nighter before going through with a collection and manufacturing. My office is where we sample garments so I do have a mini workshop in which it makes it interesting to see how the garments look like whether my sketches come to life or not and if it doesn’t then we have to study the garment and the patterns all from the start. Let’s just say a day in my shoe is a stressful day but it’s always a very interesting one.

FM: I work from home. I study and work so my day is usually super busy. It starts with my work out in the morning then having a quick bite to eat and running to class (university). Then rushing from class to either meetings, photo-shoots, or sketching sessions for new designs. Any extra (down) time would be spent with friends or going to events to support them.

Khaleda dressed in a red long sleeves evening gown with a long tail at the back by Z Spoke by Zac Posen (around KD 295) and Diane von Furstenberg circle box clutch (similar here)

CFK: What do you wish people would understand about working in the fashion industry?
KR: That working in the fashion industry isn't as easy as people think it is. It has its ups and downs. I've been working in the fashion industry for 4 years and I learnt a lot from it these past few years. The designer has to have a new and fresh concept that he or she has to bring to the fashion world from season to season. There are so many upcoming designers, and to get recognized a designer must have something so unique and different in their designs that would make his other designs recognizable by the public whether they’re creating a contemporary line or high end brand. But don't get me wrong no matter how tough it gets if a person is addicted and has a strong passion for fashion no matter how tough it gets they will still continue to be in the fashion field. Don’t forget fashion is fun and a designer always has to experiment with their designs.

FM: Fashion is hard work because it's dynamic and always changing and pushing limits. This line of work needs patience and dedication.

COK: Who would you most love to see wearing your designs and why?
KR: I would love to see my style icon Anna dello Russo rocks one of my design as she reminds me of myself. I don't fear fashion, I don't care what people think of my attire as long as it makes sense to me, that's all that matters. I love to push boundaries and I have a big addiction for accessories as I always believe they make a statement! I’m all about change and having fun with fashion and so is she so it would be a goal to get my designs on her. She is the pure definition of putting your personality on your everyday trend

FM: I would love to see Anna dela rosso wearing my designs because she's a style icon and is known for her daring outfits. Also I am sure shed rock my bags and shoes!

Khaleda dressed in Prabal Gurung printed dress and Brian Atwood lace up suede pumps in blush pink

COK: What I learned along the way is....
KR: I learned that there is a market for every designer and as I said earlier a designer must put their personality into every garment they create and not fear it would work. A designer has to believe in their sleeves and designs and stand up for them, if you can do all of that you will be a recognized designer. I learned a lot and I'm grateful for every negative and positive experience I encountered in the fashion industry because it made me stronger and it made me who I am today.

FM: with growing I noticed that there's a lot of haters but also a lot of fans. You just need to focus on the good and no dwell on the bad!

From left Marni two-tone suede sandal (similar here) and H by F Designs emerald green snake skin platform sandals

From Left, Nicholas Kirkwood metallic floral-embroidered mesh sandal and Burak Uyan color-block lace-up sandals

COK: My greatest influence has been....
KR: My father and my uncle are my biggest influence. I used to spend most of my childhood with my dad and my uncle at their office since they're business partners. It was my goal to be in fashion and have my own company at the age of 16. I wanted to make something of myself and make other girls out there see that a woman in the Middle East can be strong, independent and have the potential to grow by starting her own business. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with fashion. It’s about creating something. It’s the best feeling in the world knowing you made it on your own.

FM: My mother she has always encouraged me to follow my passion and she has always told me to not be afraid about failing because you just have to keep trying until you succeed.

Nancy Gonzalez  oversized clutch and Mawi ring, manicure was done at The Boudoir Salon

Nicholas Kirkwood metallic floral-embroidered mesh sandals

Peplum top by Kenzo and forest green leather skirt by Yigal Azrouel (I think!)

COK: The best fashion advice I ever received is...
KR: When I first started working in the fashion industry I had a lot of ideas and thoughts and that were great but at the same time a designer has to be focused and has a plan and a theme for the collection and of course it has to be cohesive and different.  A lot of starting designers in the Middle East have a unique aspect about their designs and I can see a lot of upcoming designers that will emerge in the future. To every designer that just started designing a tip of advice that helped me- be focused, find your inspiration, create the collections color scheme before looking at textiles so you don’t get distracted, sketch the designs and start from there and you will have a killer collection.

FM: The best fashion advice would be is be yourself and take risks.

H by F Designs emerald green snake skin platform sandals and Theyskens' Theory printed maxi dress


Theyskens' Theory printed maxi dress and Skaist-Taylor Mongolian Fur jacket

COK: A common misperception of me is...
KR: People always assume I'm  a hard person to approach or that I'm stuck up  just from the way I carry myself and the way I dress gives some people the wrong impression Yes, my style is loud and it takes guts to wear some outfits out But fashion is fun and you shouldn't think twice about what people will think of you as long as the outfit you're wearing makes sense to you, then rock it and wear it with confidence as if the garment was made for you . What you guys don't really know is that I'm a seriously shy person. I'm confident, yes, but deep down inside I still have a shy side and I'm a very easy going person and I don't really care what others think of me, it's how you stand and how you carry yourself what makes you.

FM: that because my style is different than what Kuwaiti society is used to, some people assume that I'm an outsider or a rebel or do not believe in God. These are all ignorant assumptions because they see me wearing skulls or some other fashion style that they don't understand. I am a firm believer and I wish they would take things easy and realize that fashion is fun!

 Diane von Furstenberg heart shape box clutch (similar here)

COK: Which designs do you enjoy most in the new Spring 2013 collections?
KR: Alexander Wang's cut out spring summer collection. Yes, the whole collection, the shoes are a killer and the designs are really modern.  Some garments were revealing but he handled the sheer garments with taste and elegance. The collection is modern, chick, and edgy.

FM: I'm loving the new style that Rihanna started at the Victoria Secret fashion show tying a shirt around the waist. It was very popular in the 90's and Im sure Rihana has started a new trend that we will see more of. Eighties icons are making a comeback like MJ, Boy George, Sade, and many more who have a huge influence on the spring/summer collections.

Khaleda Rajab was previously featured on my blog here and Fahad Al Marzouq was previously featured on my blog here.


Anonymous said…
Fahad you look waaaay more elegant with-out your multi accessories!! WELL DONE!
Anonymous said…
LOVE those DVF clutches!
Confashion said…
Glad you liked the new look :)

Me too ;)