x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Accountant who was drawn to fashion

Now, at just 31, Fatema al Redha is one of the few Emiratis to graduate from the prestigious School of Fashion Design in Boston

Fatema Al Redha is one of the few Emiratis to graduate from the prestigious School of Fashion Design in Boston. Photo by Gretchen Ertl
Fatema Al Redha is one of the few Emiratis to graduate from the prestigious School of Fashion Design in Boston. Photo by Gretchen Ertl

Abu Dhabi // Even as a child, Fatema Al Redha’s attention to detail on the clothes she made for her dolls was an indication of her talent.

Encouraged by her family, the call of fashion design proved impossible to ignore despite her best intentions – she graduated from Zayed University in 2007 with a degree in accounting.

Now, at just 31, she is one of the few Emiratis to graduate from the prestigious School of Fashion Design in Boston, which has a long list of renowned alumni, many of whom enjoy key positions in the industry, such as Dawn Mello, Jo Somers and Daniel Faucher.

Ms Al Redha graduated from the certificate programme on May 10 after two years and showcased her designs at a show organised by the school to mark the event. Now she is continuing her education and hopes to get a diploma by 2014.

Ms Al Redha is looking forward to returning to the UAE at some point soon to start her own brand and contribute to the burgeoning fashion industry here after learning as much as she can in America.

“As the UAE is going through this breathtaking revolution in all fields, I wish to push its name as the next hub for the fashion industry in Middle East and the world.”

Ms Al Redha’s love for fashion goes all the way back to early childhood and her dolls. This was encouraged by her mother and grandmother, who taught her hand and machine sewing.

“For some reason, even early in life, I always tried to perfect my garments and finish them as much as a child could. Over time, I found myself in deep love with fashion.”

Despite this emerging talent, she had not considered fashion design as a serious career path.

After her accountancy degree, Ms Al Redha then tried out different jobs, but felt “some void” and longed to pursue a career in fashion. However, it was not until her family moved to the US in 2011 that she started to think seriously about this.

“I felt that pursuing a career in fashion was my dream and I am in the US where training is accessible.

“I think it is the best decision I have taken in my life and I couldn’t be any happier now I am working in the field I love most, the world of fashion design.”

So, where does she get her ideas?

Waiting for inspiration is something only amateurs do, she says.

“Creative ideas are hidden in every shape, form, line, space, texture and colour – all around us in this world. It is how we perceive things and reflect them back in our designs, which may turn a simple idea into a piece of art.

“I love feminine styles and lines, I love princess-line dresses with delicate details. I enjoy working for hours on trims, laces, embroidery, beading and anything sewn into a garment.”

The princess-line dress is a very classic silhouette. It is styled with a close-fitting bodice and skirt, cut in single pieces from shoulder to hem with a vertical seam. The vertical lines make any women look instantly thinner and taller; it has an exquisite style, she says.

“A true couturier is like an amazing plastic surgeon, nips and tucks in some areas, augmenting other areas, building a strong foundation to enrich everything, while considering the individual need of client. A well-fitted garment will magically turn a woman more self-confident and charming.

“I truly enjoy adding my hand stitches to finish the garment as a personal touch.”

Ms Al Redha is now seeking more training in the US, while she is setting up her brand between the UAE and US.

Of the fashion scene in the UAE, Ms Al Redha says while many Emirati talents are interested in pursuing a career in fashion design here, the UAE lacks training programmes.

Therefore, they find difficulties with the technical execution of their ideas, which might affect the aesthetics of the final product.

But despite this, she believes that the future is bright.

“I follow a lot of Arab and Emirati designers from all generations. Emiratis are very talented, gifted and hard-working designers. I truly love their innovative ideas and style in fashion. I see a lot of promising talent out there.

“I encourage all aspiring Emirati designers to follow their dreams.”