ON OUR RADAR: SAUDI DESIGNER NASIBA HAFIZ

 by CATERINA MINTHE
 

Introducing Jeddah-born and based, Nasiba Hafiz, whose playful polka-dot collection is on the must-have list of jet-setters this summer. Style.com/Arabia speaks with Hafiz to learn more about her journey into womenswear.

ON BEING RAISED BY A SUPPORTIVE ARTISTIC SAUDI FAMILY
I wanted to design clothes since I was 12-years-old. Growing up, both of my parents were pretty eccentric; my father was a journalist who loved art and was a collector of furniture pieces and my Mom never took me anywhere but shopping. As a kid, I was always with her and so I grew up around clothes.

ON PUTTING OFF DESIGNING WOMENSWEAR FOR TEN YEARS
I applied to womenswear at Central Saint Martins but didn’t get in and from that moment, I never thought that I could do fashion design. So, I instead studied fashion photography and styling at the London College of Fashion. I went on to work as a stylist with fashion photographers in Beirut and then as a buyer and then a visual merchandiser in Saudi—I did everything (chuckling) but design womenswear, which I put off for ten years. But that was the journey I was meant to take.

In 2012 I started to see all these new up and coming designers in the Middle East and I thought—I can do this and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. After all, I’d been working in the industry for ten years and I have a good eye—and I have my mother’s closet to help me and she’s kept a lot of stuff, which is now vintage.

ON HER POLKA-DOT COLLECTION
My collection evokes a 40s and 50s style and is influenced by things that I was exposed to growing up: black and white old Egyptian movies for example, and my mother had an obsession with radios as well…I’m very inspired by my childhood. I am the fifth of five sisters and two brothers and we are all very aware of the amazing childhood we had, especially now that we have grown up.

The polka-dot collection also dives deep into the world of 40s and 50s pin-ups. I know that in the Middle East it is strange to open people’s eyes to pin-ups! The collection comprises of 20 separates and I worked with tailors who are based here in Saudi.

ON THE QUINTESSENTIAL NASIBA HAFIZ WOMAN
She is daring, comfortable, elegant, and there’s something fun about her as well. She also likes to travel somewhere new every year.

ON WHAT’S NEXT
I want to make a collection once a year. I also just introduced the Nasiba Hafiz Vintage line via a pop-up and I’ll be launching my Ramadan collection (my third) in a few weeks.

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