Lamya Abedin, gives abayas a creative exuberance through her collections for Queen of Spades. Lamya Abedin started designing abayas as a passion while searching for a special abaya for herself in Dubai and because she wasn’t able to find that “One-of-a-Kind” piece she decided to create her own line of abayas- all individual pieces of creativity and exclusivity which have even reached the New York Fashion Week. I got to interview Lamya Abedin and found a lot of inspirational moments talking to her!
Designing abayas started as a passion more than a business. It all started when I was living in Jeddah. I got my inspiration from Saudi fabrics, designs, workmanship, and craftsmanship. While searching for a special abaya for myself in Dubai, I wasn’t able to find that “One-of-a-Kind” piece and that led me to create my own line of abayas – all individual pieces of creativity and exclusivity.
When many started to admire my unique ensembles I was encouraged to let my creativity take another step and build my very own brand – Queen of Spades. If you’re wearing one of my creations you are most likely to be the only one in your city to own that piece. Therefore I succeeded in making my women clientele feel so special like no other and give the abaya a creative exuberance that I always wanted to.
Khansa (HA): Yes, I can see you are so close to achieving that dream of yours. Tell me how important is couture to Abayas?Lamya: Couture is referred to “high fashion” , “high sewing”, and exclusive custom made pieces. And it is usually made from high quality expensive fabrics and sewn with extreme attention to details and finishings. This is everything Queen of Spades is all about.
Khansa (HA): True to your words, your designs truly speak couture in all the senses. What accessories go along with an abaya?
Lamya: Accessories beautify and complete any outfit. I often include brooches, belts, attachments and detachments to make my pieces more interesting and to give my customer the choice to wear it according to their personal style. This also allows them to try various innovations with a single piece when worn more than one time. It enhances my customers’ creativity as well, which I believe is a personal expression of fashion.
Khansa (HA): That is an interesting concept and depending on how you accessorize your abayas it tends to give a different look to it as well each time. Who do you want to work with? Any dream collaborations?
Lamya: I love everyone who is creative and is original. Our region has some exceptional designers.
My personal favorites are the femininity of Marchesa, the graceful cuts of Lucia Beccaria, Christian Lacroix for the intrigue in his designs and use of color. I love Kenzo for the vintage feel. Galliano is a favourite for being so confident and wanting to explore the never explored. Valentino for the classic touch we still strive to get, Jean Paul Gautier for the mix of fabrics and color, and definitely Karl Lagerfield of course for the chic sophisticated lady. And many more……I would love to work with all these designers, but if I were to choose one, it would definitely be Karl, he’s creative, always a pioneer in his thoughts, a workaholic, a hands on person, someone very similar to my character and direction of thoughts. It would be a dream to work with this mastermind of fashion.
Khansa (HA): Wishing your dreams come true. It would truly be a great revolutionary moment if a collaboration of such creativity between you and Karl take place! What’s hot and what’s in this season?
Lamya: Shine, black and white, checks, blush pinks, whites, yellows, blues, greens, reds, and stripes!
Khansa (HA): Tell us about your new collection.
Lamya: Its “Feathers” SS 2013 inspired from the worlds top most beautiful national birds. It includes the gorgeous splash of colors and personalities it with holds such as the curiosity and intelligence of a Blue Bird, the glory and hues of a Peacock, the head bobbing and dancing of a Crowned Crane, the eye catching only four inch Crimson Sunbird, the elegant Flammingo which is born whitish grey and turns into a beautiful pinkish coral coloration when matured, the interesting shape and patterns of a Hoatzin, the vibrant shades of warm red of a Cardinal, the striking Frigate, the amazing Himalayan Monal with it’s bright blue orbital skin and glossy green chest, the Baltimore Oriole of Canada which is a mix of yellows and black and the main sign of spring and summer in both Canada and the USA. The collection is inspired from nature this time, bringing with it all its beauties and hues. I now understand why the hobby of Bird Watching makes people fly to the farthest part of the globe just to get the glimpse of beautiful nature. Its lovely to get spelled by Nature’s beauty.
Lamya: I have no favorite piece as they are all favorites to me, I could see myself in each piece every single day of the season. The pieces I create are always close to my personality and life style. My collections are a story told, and they are like the pages in the book, without one, the book would be incomplete to me. Every piece I create is a piece I’ve lived while making, its like asking a mother which is your favorite child, a true mother would never be able to choose as they are all her children.
Khansa (HA): That is a beautiful way to put your feelings to your work! What is the most important highlight in your life ever since you became a designer?
Lamya: I have been the first ever Emirati Abaya designer to collaborate with a premium automotive brand “Rolls Royce” to produce a limited edition couture collection respective to the limited edition latest model named 1001 Nights. Another unique collaboration was with “Cadillac” which saw myself decorate the exterior of their most recent model in artistic designs inspired from my “Masterpieces” collection. The car was displayed during the launch of the Masterpieces Collection in the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai.
I have also collaborated with Akillis, the audacious French brand of exquisite, fine Jewellery, who had special pieces of their creations flown in from Paris to showcase alongside The Masterpiece Collection.
I was also selected to design a collection of Abayas to coincide with the launch of WE LOVE NY fragrances from Honore des Pres. The first organic collection of fragrances in the world was designed to reflect all the Fashion, Buzz and aroma of the New York lifestyle, and Honores Des Pres chose Lamya’s Queen of Spades to showcase the fragrance in the light of tradition and native nature in the presence of Christian David the founder of Honore des Pres at Gallery Lafayette.
I also collaborated with Burj Al Arab on her one of a kind Abaya dedicated to the UAE’s 40th National Day. The Burj Al Arab’s Helipad was the location on which I chose to proudly display my patriotic creation, comprised of forty UAE flags spread on forty meters.
My creative collaborations have included global fashion brands such as Guerlain, Armani, Alexandre Des Paris, and Jacque Dessange to instil the models that showcase my Abayas with the appropriate looks.
I have created thirteen collections since I started designing. The last to be The Motoress FW 2012 inspired by the true female will power starting back in the 1920’s. It is the story telling of how females started to depend on themselves for their means of transport in order to do their daily chores. It’s the story of the bicycle to the female motor cycle, known as the scooter. It’s how fashion evolved from heavy layered Jupeon dresses with fitted corset tops to more loose clothing’s, reaching to the female pants. I saw how fashion was intrigued by the power of the women wanting to be independent. Its the story of how the road changed fashion elegantly.
Khansa (HA): It is just so beautiful to listen to the stories behind your creations and collections, an inspirational one too! How easy was it for you as a young Arab woman to establish your business and how do you think the current situation is in the country for young women entrepreneurs?
Lamya: Nothing comes as easy as it may seem, hard work and perseverance always make their mark. Nowadays, it is made much easier for young women to pursue their dreams; infact they are encouraged to do so which is absolutely beautiful and a blessing to have in our region. We are blessed with amazing ongoing efforts and opening doors to pursue our dreams. Opening a business may seem easy, however; overcoming the hiccups and learning from them inorder to proceed with higher levels everytime is the trick of the surviver!
Khansa (HA): Why is the brand called “Queen of spade”?
Lamya: In a deck of cards, the Queen of Spades is regarded as the most powerful of them all.
As my brand name suggests, I want my clients to feel like Queens. When one of my clients wears my Abaya, she is not just wearing a styled Abaya, but rather a garment that has been thoughtfully designed with a story, using materials and weaves relevant to what has inspired it. And above all, it’s the only Abaya of its kind in existence, giving them the unrivaled feeling of uniqueness.
Khansa (HA): What is your daily routine as a designer?
I have three jobs daily, being a mom, a wife, aswell as a designer. Its more than an oncall doctor. In a designer’s life, there is no routine whatsoever and that’s what helps the imagination to awaken and creative to prosper at any time of the day. You’ll see me working at 6:00 am, and at 3:am. I am a workaholic so therefore I have no set routine at all.
I am a morning person when required, but i prefer to be an evening person. Nights are more quiet I can think and work better and can concentrate more when all my kids are asleep. But when my creative instincts are flowing and I’m putting together a new collection – be it day or night, you’ll find me active.
Khansa (HA): Talk to us about your tailoring techniques. What should we look for to get the perfect abaya?
Lamya: My personal style statement is reflected heavily in my designs. Vintage has always been a fashion favorite and my creations see a lot of yesteryear styles in contemporary designs. I too often reinvent the old fashioned into my attires of today. Vintage is a fashion statement by itself. And it’s timeless.. Fabric choices, blending of textures, choosing the weight of the materials according to the seasons to suit the climate changes, new sophisticated cuts, and above all the perfect stitches and finishings is what makes the piece not only fall gracefully, but make it all the worthwhile.
Exclusivity, one piece of a kind, to add to that my cuts show a new concept in the traditional abaya, the fabrics used (i bring them from all around the world), the finishings, and finally, the choice i give to my clients for one piece to be worn in more than one way.
I have categorized my abayas to suit different life styles and different woman, example: i have the comfortable travel abaya for the traveling women, i have the mommy abaya that is very convenient for mothers who are on a regular basis doing activities with their kids. The sports abaya that might come in handy for women who love to do sports or love to camp, abayas for office working women, dinner abayas, evening wear abayas and the list goes on….
Khansa (HA): How have Abayas changed since the past 10 years? How has the local Abaya fashion scene changed ever since?
Lamya: I would like to go further back than only 10 years only to visualize the timeline of the abaya……From what i remember, i used to see my grand ma wearing their abayas on the head called “the Daffa” which was made from black silky fabrics, then we started to see the shoulder abayas, which means from the head it was dropped on the shoulder with a separate sheila on the head. Then came the mixing of the fabrics, some used silks, others tried crepe materials. We then saw both lose and open abayas over the years. Slowly came in a bit of color by the use of bead work, embroidery, and crystals. Then came out the colors, the patterns, the cuts to turn it into a fashion statement for the everyday woman. Cuts have changed over the years, colors, fabrics too, and recently the way the abaya is actually carried and draped is also getting revolutionized.
Khansa (HA): Who would you like to see wearing your abaya?
Lamya: Women of all races, nationalities, personalities, and religion. I would like my abayas to touch the doors of women worldwide.
When it comes to flaunting great style and personality Grace Kelly and Greta Garbo are my favorite fashion icons.
Monica Belucci is one of my style icons. She has beautiful features that are a great mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern looks and that’s the kind of look that can well complement the styles of my creations.
Another international celebrity, Angelina Jolie. She is a mother, she is glamorous on the red carpet, she is the face of volunteer projects, she travels all around the world for these projects so she also exuberates a style she is confident of and comfortable in. That’s the personality my abayas emulate as well.
Khansa (HA): Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Lamya: Queen of Spades has already been invited to participate in the none other New York Fashion Week, so all I can say is that a lot will be awaiting in the next 5 years, stay tuned in the journey yet to come.