Tête à Tête with Faiza Bouguessa

BOUGUESSA is a Dubai based luxury fashion label that has launched a line of modern, elegant and minimalist ready to wear. We meet the owner and designer of the brand, Faiza Bouguessa…

COULD YOU EPLAIN WHAT IS YOUR VISION WITH BOUGUESSA? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BRING TO THE FASHION MARKET WITH YOUR BRAND? With BOUGUESSA, we want to build a brand that creates a bridge between East and West and bringing international trends to Abaya. We want to give women wearing our abayas the feeling of being part of the global culture while still being able to observe the traditional wearing of Abayas.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT STEPS YOU GO THROUGH WHEN STARTING A COLLECTION? DO YOU  WRITE A STORIES? DO YOU ASK QUESTIONS TO YOUR ENTOURAGE? WHAT IS THE CREATIVE PROCESS? My creative process usually starts with the direction I want to go for the photoshoot of the campaign for some reason. Before starting to sketch anything I think of the mood of the images. And then I get inspired from anything; it can be very random sometimes. I could be inspired from the colour of an insect, or the shape of a building, or the fabric on a chair! Global fashion is obviously another source of inspiration. I look into fashion a lot and my commitment is to introduce global fashion trends into my designs. It is not an easy task because it has to be subtle and look natural, and it has to respect the Abaya/modest clothing “guidelines”.

YOU HONOUR TRADITION. HOW DO YOU FIND THOSE WITH VERY TRADITIONAL VALUES RESPOND TO YOUR COMTEMPORY DESIGNS? So far the feedback from our clients is very positive, our customers also expressed their appreciation of the fact that we respected the abaya guidelines. I design to give women functional aesthetics, and to give them the freedom of expressing their personality and feel comfortable with their style.

WHAT KIND OF WOMEN OF YOUR CHILDHOOD INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE MODERN CHANGES TO SOMETHING SO ROOTED IN HERITAGE? The women in my family introduced me to the world of fashion very early. My mother and some of my aunts were born in Algeria, but I have always seen them in a very ‘Parisian chic’ style, wearing specific perfumes impossible to find in standard perfume shops and constantly aware of the latest trends. They were into French Culture and Literature and always in the know of the latest exhibition happening that week. I was very sensitive to my grand mother who taught me how to sew and knit from a very early age. She used to take me to the Shoe stores with her all the time, and would buy four, five pairs at a time! However, they always expressed a strong attachment to their Algerian roots, so they somehow taught me that heritage is within you.

DO YOU HAVE ANY INTENTION OF DEVIATING FOR ABAYA? I would like to respect my brand concept and try to offer something that is new and different. Having said that, you will definitely continue seeing some ready to wear in my collections mostly that could either be mixed and matched with the abayas or be worn separately by women from the western world, and I feel this would be a way to make Bouguessa blend in as a global brand but keep its main focus which is the Middle Eastern market. DO YOU HOPE FOR YOUR BRAND TO EXPAND INTERNATIONNALY, EVEN REACHING THE WESTERN WORLD? Yes. Most definitely – we see that as the natural progression. We want a brand and label that is accepted at the four cardinal points.


COULD YOU TELL US WHAT IS AN INFLUENTIAL WOMAN FOR YOU? To me an Influente Woman is a strong woman who believes in herself and who radiates with positive energy and success.