We are on the heels of the next Haute Coutre fashion week in Paris, so for this edition of Designer to Watch we wanted to highlight the creations of Alina Anwar. The designer is based in the land of those who can afford Haute Couture. It is refreshing to see female talent come from the region.
Alina Anwar Khan, the Dubai-based fashion designer and founder of Alina Anwar Couture is best known for her sophisticated yet visually stunning gowns. Fascinated at a young age, watching her Mother and Grandmother dress for special occasions, she was determined and ambitious to follow her dreams and persuade a career in fashion design.
The Interview with Alina Anwar
The designer launched her debut collection in September 2018 under the label Alina Anwar Couture. She describes herself as creative, determined and family-orientated –She grew up with very strong family values.
Mastering various technical and creative courses. Sourcing the most delicate fabrics from Paris and Milan, she is involved in every step of the design process to ensure a flawlessly finished creation that brings to life her vision of glamour and high fashion.
My family means everything to me; they inspire me in my work and motivate me to follow my passions.
Questions: Please answer as many as you can. Feel free to add your own.
What was your first memory of Fashion?
I remember designing a powder pink ball gown for a fancy school competition at my school. This was the first time I designed something for myself so its a special memory.
Why Haute Couture?
I think the key to success is having a real passion for what you are doing and a dream to follow and also being prepared to work hard. In order to be a successful designer you need to know your audience and know exactly what you want to achieve with your work – I want to help women make a statement with what they wear and feel empowered and confident, this gives me a goal to work towards and constantly pushes me to succeed in the Haute Couture field I chose.
How did you discover your crafts?
I knew very early on that fashion design was my calling in life and there was no other possible career option for me – from my earliest years fashion has been such a huge part of my life, I have vivid memories of playing dress-up in my mother’s gowns and being obsessed with the beauty of expressing yourself through style.
I spent a lot of time as a teenager in the tailors learning as much as I possibly could – I would ask them about the pattern cutting, beadwork and embroidery, I liked getting involved and learning different techniques – I think nothing beats hands-on experience and I was very lucky that I was able to shadow some excellent tailors.
‘Style is your silent story’ is a quote I live by, it is a way of expressing yourself and your personality without saying a word – it’s your own way of rebelling by letting your feelings out without the need to justify why.
Print or Online Magazines Pros & Cons?
I think social media is very important, especially in this day and age, it’s a way to instantly connect with your audience – fashion trends are followed faster now due to the rise of social media.
It’s a great way to showcase your product and stay on top of trends, social media can be negative at times but in general, it’s a positive place that connects you to people all over the world.
Who to do think is the most stylish Fashion Editor?
Who do you think is a great fashion journalist?
Anna Dello Russo
What celebrity/musician /model would you love to dress? Dead or alive.
Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner.
Tell us about your Dubai fashion journey?
I adore the glamorous, extravagant style of Arabic women; I feel that my designs will fit well within the Middle Eastern market – I want to help women make a statement with what they wear and feel empowered and confident, so this relates to all women no matter where you are in the world.
How does modest fashion impact your business?
I think the Haute Couture market in the Middle East has shown tremendous growth and evolution over the past decade – the standards are already set so high with some extremely talented designers based here. I am all about old school glamour, luxury and elegance so I feel that my designs will fit well within the Middle Eastern market. I want to help women make a statement with what they wear, feel empowered and confident and allow them to shine.
Is there a Paris Fashion Week show in the works?
Nothing is finalised yet but yes we are planning to do a fashion show soon in Paris.
What made you want to create Haute Couture pieces to empower women?
The Alina Anwar woman is elegant, sophisticated and isn’t afraid to experiment with her style. I want the women who wear my designs to always feel confident and comfortable. I design with a wide audience in mind and I want to connect with all types of women I think that everyone deserves to feel beautiful, so I hope my dresses can bring that out of anyone who wears them.
Where were you when you found out that you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I always wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a kid. I have grown up seeing my mom dressing up in gowns and I’m very lucky to have had an inspiration to look up to.
What has been your favourite career moment so far?
All are first our memorable. And for me the most memorable moment was when I showcased my first collection at a fashion show in Dubai last year.
What is your signature design?
All of my designs follow a glamorous and elegant theme; I use rich luxurious fabrics and embellishment to add drama and sophistication to my dresses, I want my designs to tell a story of style and grace so every detail matters to me, I know how I want women to feel when wearing my dresses, so every element from the sketch to the final design has to fully reflect my love for my craft and passion to create something beautiful.
What important lesson did you learn from your Mom/grandmother?
Confidence is the key to standing out, but it obviously helps to be wearing something spectacular when you do. I always try to design with the wearer in mind – she must stand out just as much as the gown. The dress should never overshadow its wearer but it should be equal. Standing out is not always about wearing the brightest colours or the most ‘out there’ looks, I believe that elegance and class will never go out of style, and a classy, well cut evening gown with just the right amount of embellishment is always guaranteed to turn heads.
What do you want your designer footprint to be?
I am a luxury evening wear designer – competition is intense in this field, but I believe I stand out by offering something unique – my designs are classic yet contemporary, with sharp, modern cuts and beautiful detailing. I also offer quality – quality in craftsmanship and exclusiveness which brings uniqueness. I am a new designer, but I try not compare myself to anyone else, my only real competition is with myself.
Who is your dream to collaborate with?
Kim Kardashian and Beyonce.
What is your must-have on the road beauty/grooming product?
What are you up to when you’re not creating?
I either like to play tennis or go to the gym. I also like to spend a lot of time with my family if I’m not working.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will continue to design and create beautiful garments – I would love to be stocked in prestigious international stores, and with hard work and dedication, I hope that will be a goal that I am able to achieve.
What designer do you look up to?
What would you change about the fashion game?
I see the Alina Anwar woman as an independent, elegant and sophisticated woman who isn’t afraid to experiment with her style. I want the women who wear my designs to feel confident yet still comfortable enough to feel themselves and make a statement. I aim to connect with all types of women – everyone deserves to feel beautiful and I hope my dresses can bring that out of anyone who wears them.
What are you listening to right now?
Mariah Carey’s “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”
If a buyer would pick up your line who would you wish it to be?
MODA OPERANDI or HARVEY NICHOLS.
What advice would you give emerging designers?
I would advise anyone to follow their dreams and pursue anything that they are really passionate about. For aspiring designers, fully immersing yourself in the world of fashion will only benefit you, put time into perfecting your craft, practice as much as possible and never be afraid to try something and fail as these are the lessons that will shape you for the future.
What are you grateful for?
For as long as I can remember, my dream has always been to design, so now that I am living that dream I am simply looking to challenge myself to get better and better with each collection and take my brand to the top. I would love to be stocked in prestigious international stores, and with hard work and dedication, I hope that will be a goal that I am able to achieve.
Thank you to Alina Anwar the Dubai-based Haute Couture Designer for sharing her story with us and her clothes. We had fun playing dress-up in your gowns. We wish you much success in 2020 and thank you for being our final Designer to watch of 2019.
Photos & Styling Style Cartel & Abdel Abdulai