Dana Sawan, one of UAE’s up and coming fashion designers, took time off to chat with Tempo about how she combines traditional Arabian fabrics with a modern fashion look.
TEMPO: What has shaped Dana Sawan’s design vision?
Dana: I’m 28 years old, originally from Palestine, born and bred in the UAE. I am adventurous, I am a risk taker and I love to learn new things every day! I have always followed fashion trends and observed the work of designers working locally or internationally and that’s when I realized there was a gap in fashion that combined contemporary style with traditional culture.
For me fashion is a passion and a way to express your taste and personality.
I started my fashion line in 2015 using mostly Ghutra/ Hatta/ Shmakh/Keffiyeh print.
TEMPO: What is your creative process?
Dana: An idea comes to mind and that’s when you have to imagine the cut, and how this material fits on different people with different tastes. The very specific checkered print stands out even if it’s in a simple design.
TEMPO: What’s your fascination with the hatta/ koufieh/ ghutra/shmakh print?
Dana: I have chosen this print because it gives Arabs a symbol of solidarity. Even though it comes in different names it is actually the same print but it is given different names and pronounced differently across the Arab world. The basic koufiyeh prints usually come in basic colours like black, red and white but with my designs I’ve chosen to be more on the creative end and have all sorts of colours.
My main motivation is to create a bridge where East meets West, by taking the traditional fabrics and creating a new modern fashion line for women.
It needs to be elegant and unique; fashionable and traditional at the same time. The designs can be worn casual or formal, it’s all about how you style it!
TEMPO: How have people reacted to your designs?
Dana: They have absolutely loved it and I was impressed when I received orders from different parts of the world, from the US and all the way to Australia!
TEMPO: Are there designers that inspire you?
Dana: Many, but my favourite is Oscar De La Renta. I love the multiple colours that he puts into pieces that are simply breathtaking.
TEMPO: What’s a typical day for you?
Dana: I am always on the run! By day, I work in a financial firm and after that I switch to working on my designs between finalizing material and design. I cherish quality time with family and close friends, always have a big heart to see my nieces and nephews as well. I attend charity events, travel from time to time to see new places and learn new culture as well as meeting new people. Right now I am taking horseback riding lessons as I love horses!
TEMPO: How can someone break into fashion design? Any advice you want to share?
Dana: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to start something, somewhere, but I didn’t know how to and when. I never kept that from stopping me.
Work to accomplish something, even if it fails because there is never success without some failure!
LINK WITH DANA: Instagram/DanaDeesh or email@example.com