Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and what was that like.
My view of life was shaped in my formative years of childhood in Dubai. I saw the buildings go up from sand – glossy, precise, clean and so full of possibilities. It was the place where imagination was everything and also where imagination would become real.
What do you do and how did you get into design?
I am a graphic designer and I specialise in branding. I absolutely love what I do! However, the story of how I became I designer is of pure luck and fate. My parents could not comprehend a child of theirs studying anything in the realm of the arts or literature – both of which I believed were my calling – and so enrolled me into business school. Can you imagine the sleepless nights I endured! On the first day of university, I had to fill in a form to confirm my major. I scanned the different departments and the words ‘Visual Communication’ caught my eye. Under it was ‘Graphic Design’. I had utterly no idea what that was but hey, it was a synonym-stretch for art as well as a desperate opportunity for emancipation. I ticked the box on the form and 4 years later I graduated at the top of my class with a degree in Visual Communication: Graphic Design.
Did you have a good teacher or somebody who inspired you?
Oh, I had a handful of mentors. I studied in Dubai and most memorably I was introduced to the beautiful craft of Arabic typography by respected figures in the industry. Even though I work in London, I still surprisingly have had to occasionally dig in to the back my brain’s archives and manage client briefs from the Middle East. For those who’re interested, check out the works and writings of Huda Abifares, Lara Khoury and Tarek Atrissi.
Tell us more about your blog and what inspires your style?
I had two coming-of-age moments regarding fashion. The first, when I started my first job. I went straight to the shops right after my taste of a monthly income! But let’s be honest, even though I continued to shop till I dropped, I had no point of view. The second, when I went on to study at UCA in Surrey, I was plucked from the cafeteria by the fashion department and paid to be a fitting model. It was really the first time my eyes opened to the crazy and wonderful world of fashion. It inspired me to hit the reset button on the way I shopped and paired clothes together. I started to appreciate quality over quantity and this is when I started my blog. I will always be the clothes horse mixing the glam and prim fads of Dubai to the quirky and eclectic styles of London.
What about your beautiful home. What has informed your design choices. What’s your ideal home look like. Is there anything you are still working on?
Thank you – I guess I really appreciate considered choices that quash the (sometimes) illogic reasoning of tradition. That also means that I will not hesitate to put on my protective eye-goggles and pull out my circular saw to make stuff! My ideal home would be in the same spot but 5 times bigger and a hardy mix of concrete, marble and brass with a giant living wall. I love a brutal mix of materials with nature.
What philosophies or principles most inform and inspire your life and your work?
I’m a big dreamer and I think great things can happen when you share ideas openly without barriers. Nothing brings me more down than hearing the word, ‘no’. It’s such an abrupt, boring and useless end to what could snowball into a great possibility in matters of work and life. Therefore, always ask those uncomfortable questions to open up doors otherwise life would be stale and stagnant.
Do you have a personal mantra?
For fashion, yes I do – never leave home feeling less than fabulous!
Please suggest your favorite book and what you like about it.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird. It shaped a lot of my ideas about principles and speaking up to what’s right against what’s wrong.
What are the biggest things you’ve learned?
Put aside your ego! Being nice is so underrated.
What’s your favourite spot in London/ where do you find most inspiration? Tells us why you like the area you live in. Your favourite park, building, shop, restaurant, coffee shop?
Such a hard question! For a spot of glamour, Ham Yard Hotel. For creative cool, Ace Hotel. For chic chill-time, Boundary rooftop. For the best sushi in London, Brilliant Corners. For local coffee shop with familiar faces, Tin Cafe. Most of these are close to De Beauvoir, where I live – and that’s why I don’t want t to leave!