Designer Spotlight: Lulwa Al Amin

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1.  You were the only Bahraini among 3 other GCC designers to showcase your collection at VFDE (Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience).  What was your experience like?   

Being the only Bahraini and one of only 4 GCC designers at the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience was quite exhilarating.  It was a big milestone for my line and I was also very proud to be among 8 designers from very different and diverse parts of the world.  Of course the exposure was a valuable experience, and am very grateful that I got the opportunity to showcase my new collection at this event.  Vogue was there when I discovered my love for designing at the age of 9 while flipping through my mother’s magazines, and sketching my first dress.  So it meant a lot for me to get this far and have Vogue be part of this milestone.

2.  This is your 5th collection since you launched Lulwa Al Amin.  How have you seen yourself and your designs grow or evolve?

With every collection I go through the same process more or less.  I’m inspired, I have lots of ideas, and when I put them down in no particular order, I still don’t know what’s going to culminate.  But the growth & evolution has been in learning how to reinvent and keep things fresh and new, while keeping the essence of my line consistent.  I always want my pieces to be fun, elegant, and unique.  I am currently working on the next step for Lulwa Al Amin, which is a home line entitled Lulwa Al Amin Dressing Homes.

3.  Prior to launching your label, you worked at fashion houses such as, Emilia Wickstead, Browns and Matthew Williamson.  What valuable lessons did you learn while working there?

Working with such renowned global fashion houses gave me numerous skills and areas of expertise that I have been able to carry forward with me having now established my own brand, Lulwa Al Amin. Learning to develop my own signature prints and working carefully with a variety of textiles were key learnings I took away from these experiences particularly during my time with Matthew Williamson and Emilia Wickstead.

This, of course, was significant but was also built on a strong foundation that I gained whilst studying for my degree at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where I graduated with a BA in Textile Design. Over the years, you will now see in my seasonal collections I focus heavily on creating prints unique to each and every design that give each piece an added level of depth and detail.

4.  How would you describe the Lulwa Al Amin girl?

The Lulwa Al Amin woman is one who enjoys a bit of fun, and is also charming and graceful.

5.  If there is anyone you could dress, who would it be and why?

I would absolutely love to dress Dita von Teese in my winter collection or Lana Del Rey for the summer collection. They both exude a sense of old world charm and uniqueness that would match the overall nature of my collections.  

6.  For someone visiting Bahrain for the first time, what are the 3 must have places you would suggest for them to visit/do?

There are so many great places on our island that it’s difficult to pick just three. However, whenever anyone visits Bahrain I always show him or her around Muharraq. It is where I grew up, and my family home is and always has been in Muharraq. I love spending time in Muharraq Souk, where I find some of the most unusual finds – whether it is something that inspires me for a collection I am working, or some of the most unusual items. I remember once coming across this little shop that sold some of the most unusual dolls I had ever seen. Of course I love the authenticity of the people of Muharraq, and believe it is one of the places where you can really experience Bahrain.

I also like to take people to La Fontaine – I love the architecture of the building, and it amazes me how it feels so quiet and peaceful when you are there even though it is in the middle of bustling Manama. It is such a beautiful setting both in the day and at night. Interestingly, my mother’s school used to be located in the very same building!

Food is very important in our culture, and a food tour is essential! We would visit the baker (Khabaz), the tikka shop and end it at ‘Halwat Showaiter’ in Souq Al Manama, where they offer you the best Arabic coffee to go with your spoon of Halwa.

 

7.  What advice do you give new up and coming designers who are struggling to make it?

I would give them the advice that has helped me most throughout my journey. The first, and foremost thing, is to follow your dream, not someone else’s. Surround yourself with people who support you and enable you, which is something that I got from my family and was quite valuable to me when I started. Also, there will always be challenges, and issues to overcome, but keeping a vision of the end goal helps to resolve the obstacles, and gives you motivation to keep going until you get where you want to be. Mistakes will be made, but always learn from them. Continue on educating yourself as that is the only way to move forward . And last, but not least, always stay true to yourself in your designs, and don’t compare yourself to others.

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