Yara, first of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with this interview.
YY : You are welcome :)
Tell us more about your brand, your design background and what made you become a Fashion Designer.
I am self taught, I went to college to become a software engineer. So I never had any formal fashion design education. Me being from Jordanian origin, I grew up watching Queen Noor al hussein of Jordan and the ladies of the royal jordanian family, who were always dressed so beautifully. She always wore the most beautiful Kaftan dresses ever. After more than 10 years in the software engineering industry, I decided to just follow my true passion. I was ready for that move and that change. I was always into arts, beauty and colors. Fashion design feels more natural and intuitive to me than Software, it is effortless, as I enjoy every bit of it :) As a kid Loved color books so much, because they allowed me to play with colors. I used to make paper dolls, and cut out paper dresses for them :) My brand is specialised in Kaftan dresses, I love hand beading embellishment, the Yara Yosif brand is about mixing east with west, its about keeping the culture but making it simple and practical. Its about bringing beauty and comfort together in one piece. Where women can look great and feel comfortable. Since Kaftans are so flowy, women don’t need to worry about any body insecurities. they can just put this one long piece and know that they look beautiful. Kaftan dresses look great on any and every body type.
What Fashion Design School have you attended and where ?
As I mentioned before, I did not get any formal education for fashion design. I went to college for computer science and for business. As far as Fashion design is concerned, I am self taught, fashion design to me is a gift that I have. It is very intuitive and very natural. I say to those who never got any formal fashion education, don’t be discouraged, pursue that knowledge any where you can. from books, youtube videos, work somewhere where you can learn more. However, I am considering taking a few classes when time allows.
How does your job as a designer influence your life?
Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?
Absolutely , making this full transition from Software QA Engineering to Full time Fashion design, had made me so much happier. It is true, when you are doing what you love, you follow your passion, you are being true to your self , not a single day feels like work. I am more in tune with everything I do. It just feels right. God has blessed me in many ways.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from everything and everyone around me. It can be a beautiful building, a nice painting, a flying bird, beautiful nature, the ocean , the sky, a dress someone is wearing, a person .. and the list goes on and on.
When you create something, what goes through your mind?
I usually have this clear vision of how I want it to be, so of course after the inspiration, I start putting it together in my head, start playing with the colors in my mind. Then I start putting it on paper or on my computer. Then the creation into the physical form begins .. trying to match that exact image I have in my head, or may try to top it a little bit if I can :)
YY Kaftan dresses are all hand beaded, and we know that the beading demands a great deal of concentration. What kind of challenges do you encounter in this process ?
Beading is not easy, I am blessed to have a great team that does all the hand beading work for me. For sure I can’t be beading 24 pieces of the same design all by myself. I have the best team of hand beading experts who help me in the mass production process.
How do you intend women to feel when wearing ‘Yara Yosif’ labeled clothing?
Kaftan dresses are timeless, they will never run out of style, due to the fact that they are more on the ethnic wear side. I would say I intend to make them feel, exactly the way I feel when I wear them. I know the dresses stand out in a very classy, royal, elegant and feminine way. Yara Yosif Labeled clothing make you feel very comfortable, attractive, confident and comfortable at the same time. Kaftans don’t care what body type you have. It looks great on everyone. I think on my dresses as pieces of jewelry more than a dress. The beading work is just so shiny and beautiful that it grabs everyone attention, just like any beautiful piece of jewelry does.
Can you name someone famous you always have a blast working with ?
I’ve worked with Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, she is a very beautiful arab american lady, she is very supportive of my clothing line. She wore my designs to many events and appearances here in america. It means a lot for a new fashion designer like me, to have Miss USA wear my designs. I also worked closely with Miss Michigan USA 2012 Kristen Danyal on our official photoshoot, she is beyond beautiful , inside and out . Very down to earth and very easy to work with . I also worked with the gorgeous Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2011 Krystelle Khoury, fun to work with. And Miss Lebanon Emigrant USA 2012 Pascal Abi Samra who was super sweet and very beautiful.
How do you see Fashion in the Middle East ?
Do you think fashion is getting the attention needed in the Middle East?
To be honest with you , i’ve been in living in the USA for the past 10 years, not sure how things are in the middle east. I do know though, that we do have many many talented designers, like Elies Saab and Reem Acraa , to name a few. Middle eastern women and men love dressing nice and want to look good.
I feel like at some point, fashion design was not viewed as a career path for anyone, it was viewed by many in the middle east as a hobby nothing more. But now, I feel like the view is changing, which is allowing many to pursue it as a career path. and that is a very good thing.
Can you tell MEF about your future projects ?
I am always working on something new, I am putting together my next collection which will incorporate many whites and pastel colors :) stay tuned.
Where can we purchase YY designs ?
www.YaraYosif.com , from the “Shop Online” link in the upper left corner.
Do you sell your designs in the Middle East ?
We do ship world wide . We only have an online store as of today, but in the works of selling them stores in the middle east , Jordan, Lebanon and UAE.
What advice would you give for aspiring designers looking to get into Fashion design?
I’d say , go for it , if it is what you love to do , go for it full force. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t afford any schools for that. you can still learn it on your own. My advice though is read alot on branding if you want to make your own label. Start as small as you can and grow with it . and be very patient.
Any quote that you could leave us with ?
Do what you love, Its never too late.