FASHION Malak Ahmed (right) is one of a new generation of young up-and-coming Saudi fashion designers. She launched her brand last year but is already creating waves with ready-to-wear pieces that are simple, elegant and meticulously tailored. She recently launched her Eve collection at the Hub 27.1 concept store in Jeddah. Qurratulain Wahab met with Malak to find out more
From the May 2019 issue of Lucire KSA
Qurratulain Wahab is the editor of Lucire KSA.
Checking out Malak Ahmed’s latest Eve collection, her designs are characterized by asymmetry, carefully selected fabrics and well thought out design. She is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to cuts, something she emphasizes in her designs. These are qualities which we think will take her well beyond Saudi shores, and she’s definitely a name to watch.
Lucire: Where did you study fashion?
Malak Ahmed: My basic inspiration came from my mother. She always had a unique sense of style and was a lover of fashion. And then I was fortunate to be able to study for a diploma in fashion design at the Future Institute in Jeddah. I learned so many things there. My first design was my own graduation dress. I did everything from scratch, from buying the fabric and cutting it to stitching it at home. Shortly after graduating, I launched my own brand. I’d been planning to do so for a long time and I’m proud I was able to do it. My family has supported me every step of the way and when I showed them my designs for the first time; they were teary-eyed. That was a very special moment in my life I will never forget.
What’s your approach to fashion design?
I aim for simplicity and elegance. I’m obsessed with asymmetric cuts which I think differentiate my designs from many others. I try to create timeless pieces and that’s why I always make sure to use timeless colours. I create clothes that can be worn on different occasions and in different weather. I prefer plain fabrics—not embroidered or printed—because the essential thing is the cut and the finish. For me, the inside of the dress matters as much as the outside. As a child, I always checked the inside of the dress first to see how it felt. If it felt comfortable then I would wear it.
Tell us about your new collection.
The Eve collection uses white combined with various shades of beige. Beige is very trendy these days. It’s a colour that doesn’t age. You can wear it for years and it will still look good. My first collection used black, off-white and pink but with this collection, I didn’t use black at all. The first thing people notice and compliment me about are the cuts. My target is women who are looking for designs that will work in a professional environment and are practical at the same time. The outfits can be worn to work and on outings. I use crisp cotton fabrics which go really well with the cuts and are also suitable for both summer and winter. It’s not easy to find fabrics in Jeddah and I have to spend quite a lot of my time looking for what I need. I’m very particular about how the fabric feels on the skin.
Who are some of your favourite designers?
My favourite designers are the late Karl Lagerfeld, Zac Posen and Saint Laurent. I closely follow their work shows and I would say that in some ways their designs influence my own approach to fashion. Among designers here in Saudi Arabia, I find Noor Al-Shaikh very inspiring. At the Future Institute, I took part in a competition in which we presented our designs to a panel of judges. I won the competition which was a very proud moment for me. The head of the judges’ committee was Marriam Mossalli. Since then, she has supported and guided me. You could say she is my mentor.
And your plans for the future?
Other than taking part in fashion shows here in Saudi Arabia and overseas in New York and other fashion capitals, I’d really like to design pieces for some well known Arab women such as Princess Dina al-Juhani or Queen Rania. I’d also like to design for Saudi fashion influencers such as Aram Kabbani. •
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