x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

'I think it's really important to accessorise'

Amanda Gedeon lays much of her success to her faithful tailor who has been with her for 10 years.

Amanda Gedeon says her fashion sense began to come through when she was 14.
Amanda Gedeon says her fashion sense began to come through when she was 14.

Amanda Gedeon, the 23-year-old Dubai-based designer of the quirky label BOW reveals her life in fashion. Colour is what first inspires me. I walk into a shop and it's the first thing that attracts me. I am not afraid to go all out, over the top. I have always customised my own clothes and I like to be creative. Growing up in Dubai, you go out and see the same people wearing the same dresses, so it's the worst thing for me when I go somewhere and am wearing the same thing as someone else. I have two options: either spend a fortune on new clothes or switch it up and customise. What's really helped me is my tailor. He has been with me for 10 years and he knows exactly what I like. His name is Nassir. He will tell me if something looks cheap or not nice.

The first thing I went to my tailor with was my mom's vintage beach dress in lime, neon green. It had really ugly flowers on it and was really not happening, so I said, "I need it to look ultra cool". First we added a sequin panel down the front to make it more bold, but it still wasn't right so I ended up getting some neon thread and he did some neon orange stitching. It gave it more sharpness and it outlined my body. It's still in my closet. I will never let go of it.

In high school, I created prom dresses for two of my friends. I did my own dress and they liked my style, so we went to the material dress shop and explored and brainstormed until we got it right. I have colour sense - I think you are just born with it. I was very into dressing up as a child; I was a very girlie girl. And I always wanted to be the centre of attention. My late grandfather used to own a nightclub in Houston, and I was always the first one to dance. I was so young, maybe 10, and I was always wearing the bright colours and new shoes - I was obsessed with these pink shoes. And after a couple of years, my mom said: "Listen, you are done. Stop!" They didn't fit me any more, but I loved them.

I was born in New Orleans and lived between Dubai and Bahrain, but most of my teenage years were here. We have family in the States and in Lebanon, and I have been in American schools all my life. But here feels like home. My fashion sense came through when I was about 14. My parents never told me what to wear, but obviously, given the society we are in, they said don't wear it too short or too low - respect yourself. It's the way I grew up: to always respect myself.

The latest stuff that is really burning a hole in my pocket is Lanvin. It's stunning; I adore it. Alexander Wang, 3.1 Philip Lim and Hervé Léger are things I would love to wear one day. My first designer piece was a Juicy Couture bag; I was 12 or 13. It was baby pink towelling and I was so happy. I flaunted it: "Look, I have a designer bag. Wow, let's wear it out to dinner!" I would never do that now.

My favourite shoes are Louboutins. I can't live without them. I have ultra-high ones with a crazy platform at the front that are brown croc and match with everything. I love shoes and bags and bracelets. My dad says I get it from my aunt. I always have bracelets on, but you have to know how to balance it. If you wear too much it takes away from the whole look. I think it's really important to accessorise your outfits. I don't like matching. It's too much. I have to put a random bracelet on to mix it up.

I like vintage a lot - a cheap dress can look really good with vintage shoes. I bought stuff from thrift stores in New York for $5 (Dh18), so it doesn't have to be expensive - it's just tasteful. I love buying new stuff and I shop everywhere. As long as it looks good on me, that's all that counts. But I am a careless shopper sometimes - even if it's a ridiculous price, I'll buy it. My little black dress from Topshop is a wardrobe staple. I can put it on, add some earrings and heels, and it's done. It's classy. I can wear it with flats, shorten it with a belt, or put on pink earrings if I want to stand out. I am always up for surprise. I like to see people change it up all the time. I think change is really good for you.

BOW is available in at S*uce (Village Mall, Dubai, and Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi) and Soirée (Jumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai).