To surprise fashion enthusiasts of the Kingdom with unique and creative designs is easy for new brand in the making – AZ Couture. The co-creators, Abeer and Zainab were busy answering queries from their customers at the Batelco Made in Bahrain event, when the BTW team met them for the first time. The following are excerpts from the conversation we had with this amazing, likeminded sister duo, working towards achieving the same goal.
BTW: What made you decide to work together to create AZ Couture?
A: Actually… we share the same tastes when it comes to fashion and trends. We go shopping together and have the same idea of what we want to buy. Surprisingly, we choose the same items even when we are not going out together. This had us decide to work together to achieve the same dream of having an apparel brand with our own line of designs.
Z: We never thought of starting this as a business. Many of our friends used to ask us to do their dress designs. That was when we started to seriously think about a fashion brand as entrepreneurs.
BTW: How about your experience with the fashion industry?
A: I worked for 14 years with three major fashion places (including Italian and English) that catered to versatile brands. I have also professionally trained in US and Italian fashion. With all the experience I have gathered over the years I have now started on my own. Of course… with my sister Zainab here! (smiles)
BTW: What styles do you concentrate on? And how do you draw your inspiration on the designs?
Z: We are currently concentrating on three lines: casuals, dresses and Jalebiyas. Some of them are for daily wear and some specifically for functions like parties.
A: Jalebiyas are traditional wear. We have our limits on how much we can experiment on it. We try to add a little modern touch to them by playing with some patterns and colors.
BTW: For whom did you make your first design? And who among you is the designer?
Z: Abeer made the first design for me. All my friends and colleagues loved it and that is when I told her it was time for us to go out and start on our own. One of my friends recently saw an evening gown design of ours on Instagram and has now requested us to personalise it in the color she has chosen.
A: We both do the designs. Sometimes we mix them to create one dress or at times we keep them separate and have them created as different designs. We are inspired by creations of Kubra Al Qasser, Max Azria and Elie Saab. And if you see our designs, they are a mix of different cultures. Like the Moroccan touch in our Jalebiyas and the modern feel on the mix and match dresses we have.
BTW: Tell us about the fabrics you use and the tailoring…
Z: The materials give you an idea of how the designs will work. All the materials required for completing the design; we personally go and choose them ourselves. We mix and match the fabrics we use but it’s mainly lace and cotton that we prefer as cotton is extremely comfortable to wear in our region.
A: We have our professional tailor with whom we have been working since a long time. Whenever we have a design, we go to him first. And since he knows us well, it’s really easy to communicate our designs and get the work done perfectly.
Z: He had always liked the designs with which we used to go to him and had once, long back, asked us to start our design studio. We never thought about that then but now we are ready with AZ Couture.
BTW: How did the world come to know about the existence of AZ Couture?
Z: We started off as a business 6 months ago with Instagram. We started posting the pictures of our designs there and most of our collections are already sold out. The Batelco ‘Made in Bahrain’ event also has given us positive feedback. And our day dresses are the most wanted designs in our collection.
A: We initially announced our brand to our friends. People who bought from us were really satisfied and then publicity by word of mouth started. Now we have a good following and several loyal customers as well. And most of the time, we go out wearing the dresses we design.
BTW: What gives you girls the most satisfaction being in the fashion and apparel world?
A: We have always been interested in fashion and textiles. So getting to work with it gives us great satisfaction.
Z: Even though I have a job, coming back to work on my designs makes me totally relieved of stress.
BTW: What is the major challenge you girls had to face?
Z: People find it difficult to trust you online if you don’t have as many followers as others. So for us to get followers initially had been difficult. But with time there were more people liking our designs and we had more people following us.
BTW: What is your next plan for AZ Couture?
Z: We have our future plans for AZ Couture ready. But for the time being, we want to stick with social media so that we will come to know the likes and dislikes of people and trends that are going on. Later on we will be moving on to a physical location for our collection.
A: If you have any dreams, don’t wait, try to make them real. Once you start, you will surely begin to find support and it will become easier than you thought.