Rami is a self-made man who has not only seen it all in the fashion sector but have scaled the grander heights with his skills and techniques. His inspirations are grandly related to history yet his designs are those that metamorphose through his ingenuity in modern fabrics and avant garde techniques in his latest collection. Haute Arabia gets to talk to the great talent and here is what he had to say about his name and fame.
Khansa (HA): Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background?
Rami: I was originally born in Syria, in a town called Deir ez-Zor to the East of the country. I spent all my childhood and early studying years here, living with my mother, father and four sisters. From a young age I always knew I wanted to see more of the world, so my first big move was to Syria’s capital, Damascus, in 1991, where I joined the College of Fine Arts to study Visual Communications. It was here that I got to fully embrace my creative energy and explore all the possibilities that were open to me.
Khansa (HA): What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
Rami: Professionally, my only interests lie within the fashion industry – I live and breath my career! Non-professionally, I would say that anything else that is related to the Arts appeals to me. I like reading and watching old classical movies, as well as theatre and modern dance. Travel is also a great love, I often get creative epiphanies from the heritage and culture of foreign destinations.
Khansa (HA): You seem to be adventurous and seem to have explored everything out there. Maybe that’s why you have great inspirations to your collection because you have seen it all! What does fashion mean to you?
Rami: Fashion is my core and one true love. It is what makes my world go round. You can’t truly be a fashion designer if you don’t let your passion for it consume you. Fashion is a form of self-expression and helps you create an identity to the world. I want to be integral in shaping those identities and forge a new generation of style and elegance.
Khansa (HA): Interesting! How did you land in the field of fashion?
Rami: It wasn’t until my final graduation project back in Damascus that I finally understood my calling. My professor had asked us to come up with a marketing strategy for some Syrian fabrics, so I took the assignment to a whole new level and deigned and directed a fashion show using the materials. It wasn’t exactly what my professors were looking for but ultimately they were impressed by my interpretation, which ultimately gave me to courage to follow fashion design as a career.
Khansa (HA): But isn’t it nice you found your soulmate of a career! What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
Rami: The first ever design I created was for my mother back in Syria. I designed her a short cocktail dress for a function she was attending as she wanted to really stand out and make an impression. It was a risk since it was a little shorter than was acceptable back then, but I made sure to keep it elegant and everybody loved it!
Khansa (HA): How would you define your personal style?
Rami: My personal style is all about timeless elegance, with a hint of personality highlighted through seasonal and staple accessories. I think it’s important never to follow seasonal trends by the book, but rather to implement only the ones that suit you. The overall look should be effortless, yet still appear well put together.
Khansa (HA): From Damascus to AltaRoma, and then Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer Collection 2013, how do you feel about your accomplishments so far?
Rami: I’ve come a long way since my humble beginnings working throughout the major fashion houses of the UAE. I started off with smaller shows in the Gulf region to build my reputation and confidence, which in turn helped me build a loyal regional clientbase. It was in 2009 that I made my European breakthrough on the runway at Rome’s AltaRoma couture week, with my Parisian debut following in January 2012. I’m so grateful to be in the position I am in now and to be working alongside some of the best fashion media and stylists in the industry.
Khansa (HA): What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Rami: It’s so hard to choose just one, as each major step of my career has been monumental and precious is its own way. If I had to choose I would probably say that my Parisian debut with my SS2012 collection was a big deal to me. Ever since I began on my career path I always viewed Paris as the ultimate destination, it felt surreal to have actually achieved this.
Khansa (HA): I will be rooting for your success always! Your collections are so intriguing and mesmerizing! Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Rami: I would still love to be working as a fashion couturier, but on an even larger scale! It would be amazing to become a household name internationally and to be working with all of the major fashion publications across the world!
Khansa (HA): Which designer do you admire and why?
Rami: I admire the couture greats such as Chanel, Dior and Valentino. Chanel in particular is an inspiration to me. She always designed sticking true to her fashion principles, and the underlying femininity present in all her work is something that I can completely relate to. My design aesthetic is all about highlighting and accentuating this core trait of a woman.
Khansa (HA): Where do you get your design inspirations from?
Rami: I can get my design inspirations from anything and anywhere, as long as I ensure I am always exposed to new and interesting environments. I have a keen eye for detail so I always notice the little things about a certain city, person or culture that can be incorporated into my work.
Khansa (HA): That is an art I say! What is the best perk in being a designer?
Rami: As clichéd as it may sound, the perk of being a designer for me is the chance to work at something I love everyday. How many people can honestly say that they love their jobs? I am so lucky in that I can make a career out of my passion.
Khansa (HA): What is your favorite S/S13 trend?
Rami: The shapes of this season’s couture were much more structured, which is a style I like and often implement in my own work. I also enjoyed seeing bolder, stronger colours dominating the runway.
Khansa (HA): If you were not a designer what would you be doing?
Rami: I always find this one of the more difficult questions to answer as I have never really thought about being anything other than a designer. I would definitely still be working in a creative environment, that’s for sure! I would actually like to try something in the field of dance, but the modern variety where freedom of expression and individuality are encouraged rather than technical rigidity.
Khansa (HA): Who is your ultimate woman to see wearing Rami Al Ali Couture?
Rami: The ultimate Rami Al Ali woman is a lady very much like myself, who is independent and not afraid to go after what she wants in life. Most importantly she must be elegant and graceful, with a subtle confidence that turns heads when she enters a room.
Khansa (HA): What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in fashion?
Rami: I would begin by asking them if this is what they really want, as the time and effort that you have to put in to succeed in this industry is huge. You have to have patience and perseverance, and complete belief in yourself and your talents.
Khansa (HA): What trends do you see being big for 2013?
Rami: In the ready-to-wear collections I noticed a lot of use of different print patterns, rather than block colours. It was interesting to see the bold use of stripes and graphical patterns which adorned many of the seasonal lines. In the couture collections I noticed much more focus had been given to texture and fabric manipulation.
Khansa (HA): I will keep that in mind! How do you feel Paris received your presentation?
Rami: As always, Paris was very gracious to me and the feedback was positive and inspiring. I always wait with baited breath each season to hear the thoughts of the French fashion insiders as it really means a lot to me to have their support.
Khansa (HA): Share with us how you celebrated your debut.
Rami: My Parisian debut was actually back in January 2012, and I celebrated by taking my team and a few close friends and colleagues out for a meal to celebrate the occasion. I wanted to keep it low-key and personal to thank those who had helped me reach my goals. This season I hosted a small cocktail gathering for my guests and the media who had come to support me.
Khansa (HA): A message for your audience!
Rami: I would just like to, once again, thank everyone for their continued support of my work – it doesn’t go unnoticed. I look forward to sharing my future work and success with you all!
Khansa (HA): It was a pleasure having you on Haute Arabia! Hoping to talk to you again soon!
Feature Editor: Khansa AJ
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