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FASHION GONE ROGUE

Not often do we get to see a Bahraini that has made it as a fashion designer on an international scale.  Woman This Month spoke to Khaleda Rajab on her latest collection and more just before she sped off to the fashion capitals.

Sporting an eccentric style that would make the likes of Anna Dello Russo jealous, Khaleda Rajab is a Bahrain-based designer that has given the Kingdom many reasons to be proud [DASH] the latest being her sunglasses range for Linda Farrow in collaboration with Fahad Al Marzouq.

Known for her bizarre style, Khaleda gives [ITALS] Woman This Month and our readers an exclusive preview of her latest haute couture collection as she rocks three different outfits for her photoshoot with Andrew Weaver.

Woman This Month (WTM): What are we looking for in your newest range?
Khaleda Rajab (KR): My latest collection is very detailed and more on the haute couture side. I wanted to bring a different angle to my creations as I’m evolving as a designer.

It took me four months to create a single garment as the patterns and detailing are extremely gentle. I’ve used gold plated silk threads on each embroidered blazer. I’ve just worn one of my designs in Paris. Let’s just say you will soon see some celebs rocking them.

WTM: What does it feel like to have your designs being worn by celebs across the globe?
KR: It’s an amazing feeling, especially when they request for more. My designs have been worn by Elisabetta Canalis, Hofit Golan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Preeya Kalidas, Noelle Reno, Jessica Lowndes and Joyce Bonelli. It’s an honour to have such talents and iconic women be dressed in my designs.

WTM: Your style is loud; it’s fierce. What’s your source of inspiration?
KR: I’m seriously crazy with my everyday looks; I know that’s what makes me who I am. I would never change my personal sense of style. Some may love it or hate it, but it won’t break me!

It’s all about having your own style and the guts to go with it. A major point is confidence — this you got to have! It’s what makes a stylish woman stand out in a crowd.

My inspiration comes from my core and surroundings. I can get inspired by anything. It’s how you take that inspiration as a designer and create a beautiful and meaningful collection from it.

WTM: Tell us about your collaboration with Amalie.
KR: I met this talented fresh designer in the Middle East in the UK while I was designing a collection there. I’m coming out with a silk scarf line with her. The message behind the scarves is hidden. They will be launched in spring/summer 2014. So stay tuned!

WTM: The Linda Farrow Project — tell us all!
KR: Fahad and I both had a dream. That dream actualised last year when our favourite brand, Linda Farrow, picked us to design a line for them! How can I put this? It was a dream come true and we’ve been working on this project for over a year! These, too, will be out on an international market in 2014! They are wicked! We just showcased our designs in Paris. The shades got chosen by a museum as a piece of art!

WTM: What brought you into the fashion industry?
KR: Fashion has always been a big part of me from a very young age. I took my degree in business first. It’s very important to have an understanding of the industry as a designer so you can get the best of both worlds.

WTM: Why did you choose to start your boutique in Bahrain?
KR: Bahrain is my home. I was born and raised here. No matter what happens in my career or where it takes me, Bahrain is still my main base. I’m proud to be a Bahraini international designer. It’s great for outsiders to see how talented Arabic designers are.

WTM: What factors do you keep in mind before you start a new collection?
KR: The most important factors in designing are keeping true to your beliefs and keeping designs classic. I always like to bring something new to my collection without going away from what the Khaleda Rajab line is all about. It’s for fierce women, who have no rules and love fashion!

WTM: Explain the many challenges that you face in your line of work.
KR: I faced a few problems when I started. I didn’t find a lot of daring people that would wear my designs in the Middle East. As I grew, I understood the market better. I kept true to my designs until I built a strong client base. Now I’m selling at the high-end boutiques that I’ve always wanted to — Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai and Bahrain, 51 East Doha and Harvey Nichols Kuwait!

WTM: Who are your designs for?
KR: My designs are for the fierce, daring woman, who loves her everyday wardrobe and isn’t afraid of fashion. I design for those women only, who believe fashion is fun and it’s all about expression.

WTM: What advice would you give to upcoming designers based in Bahrain?
KR: Be yourself. Keep trying and never give up. There’s a market for every designer. Everyone has different tastes and styles.

So there will always be someone interested. Fashion is tough. Be confident with your designs!

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