Tell us about yourself, education and hometown …
I was born in New York and lived in different states until the age of 14, when my family relocated to Dubai. I went to high school at Dubai American Academy, and am currently finishing up my bachelor's degree at Ryerson University's School of Journalism in Toronto.
You have written for a whole host of famed Middle Eastern fashion magazines.
How did you get started in journalism?
My passion for journalism was born through an internship at ITP during the summer of 2007.
I immediately fell in love with the fast-paced environment that comes hand in hand with producing a weekly magazine, and knew then that my future lay in the field of media.
What inspired you to write about fashion?
Fashion dictates the lives of many women living in Dubai, and I feel that the desire to be "stylish" is starting to influence girls at very young ages in the region. I'm fascinated by the way some of us get so wrapped up in the constantly changing fashion cycle, and enjoy writing in-depth articles about it, knowing how much emphasis is put on fashion in the region.
How do you decide what topics to write about?
I only write about topics that interest me. Recently, I've been writing a lot about the relationship between the Middle East and fashion trends in the West. (i.e., Indian bridal tikkas at the Chanel Pre-Fall fashion show, global style trends perpetuated by Lady Gaga, Abaya-Inspired designs at fashion weeks, etc.)
During fashion weeks, I keep a look out for new trends, and then try to determine how they came about, perhaps by finding connections within current news stories. For example, I would argue that the maxi trend was influenced by the conservativeness of the Middle East, as it came about during a time when the Arab Spring protests were being televised. Not everyone would agree with me, but that's what I enjoy most about writing—finding fresh new angles that are ground-breaking and thought-provoking.
Tell us more about your brand, your design background and what made you become a Fashion Designer.
While living in Texas, I had taken sewing classes at the age of 9, and learned how to create everything from boxer shorts to a tent! After leaving Texas and moving to California, I never found the chance to get back into the habbit, and only re-visited sewing after graduating from high school in Dubai. I spent the summer sewing tops and dresses for myself and for friends, and after receiving a positive response I started giving some work to tailors, and before I knew it, I had completed my first collection, of about 30 pieces.
How does your job as a designer influence your life?
Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?
Definitely! In both good and bad ways. Good, because I'm given a hands-on creative outlet that provides me with a break from writing. Bad, because now clothes are ALWAYS on my mind! I'm constantly thinking of new designs, shapes, prints, colours, textures and styles, inspired by what I see in my daily life.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I mostly stick to one silhouette and style—a loose shirt with dolman sleeves, and find inspiration from prints and how they can be mixed and paired together. My main inspiration is the East, and how current style trends can be reflected alongside cultural icons and ideas.
We’ve noticed that you love using the asymmetry in color and shape and you also use prints in your designs, can you tell us more about your collection?
My SS12 collection, Flucture, was again a marriage between the East and West, with some fantasy thrown in too. I describe it as a collection where the romantic ambiance of Dubai’s desert meets the jagged skyline of Gotham City, as bats and butterflies live in harmony, and structure and flow coexist. Black, white and gold butterflies flutter across chiffon fabrics, while cow hides are splattered on light georgettes.
The monochrome prints are brought to life with mint and lavendar coloured statement collars, decorated with metallic pyramid studs and crystal rhinestones.
I used delicate lace insets along with capes and asymmetry to give a modern, majestic touch to the collection, which incorporates traditional Arab silhouettes too, with the inclusion of an abaya and a kaftan dress.
How do you intend women to feel when wearing ‘The Hafsa Lodi Label” labeled clothing?
I want them to feel proud to be unique. I don't produce my pieces in bulk, and make only about 1-4 of each design to preserve some exclusivity. Wearing my designs, women can feel confident and valiant.
They will stand out in a crowd, and need not worry about jewellery or accessories, as their clothing will be statement-making enough!
Now tell us more about your obsession with Jumpsuits.
I bought my first jumpsuit from a Korean boutique in Toronto, and fell in love! There's so much that I find attractive and appealing about jumpsuits. First of all, they’re so comfortable. Often when dressing up, women have to worry abouttheir high waisted skirt sitting right on the waist, or shirt being tucked in perfectly, and witha jumpsuit you don’t have to worry about any of that! Also, I feel like they’re empowering,embody confidence and send out a strong message.
I love that they’re utilitarian, but also stylish. The best jumpsuits are the ones with pockets!
How do you see Fashion in the Middle East?
Do you think fashion is getting the attention needed in the Middle East?
I think fashion is overexposed in the Middle East, a region that is brimming with conflict and tension.
Too much of the media revolves around fashion and commercialism, and too many people in the Middle East are willing to splurge on designer items instead of raising funds to help their own war-torn and poverty stricken home communities.
Can you tell MEF about your future projects?
I'm hoping to start producing my own prints in the near future!
What advice would you give for aspiring fashion journalists and designers looking to get into the industry?
Don't enter the industry without any help or experience—in the East it's relatively easy to "become" a designer,
but these days PR and marketing strategy is often more important than the designs themselves.
Consult with established designers or PR agencies to help get your brand up and running!
Where can we purchase your designs?
The Flucture collection is available for purchase at s*uce stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and my most recent collection of shirts with embellished collars are available at O-Concept boutique in addition to s*uce stores.
Any quote that you could leave us with?
"When in doubt- overdress!" & "Dreams don't work unless YOU do."