Interview with designer Rula Galayini
Rula began her education with a degree in graphic design at the American University of Beirut, graduating with distinction, coupled with a scholarship from the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating, Rula worked as an Associate Creative Director at Leo Burnett in Lebanon on various regional and global fashion and luxury brands. She then joined MTV Arabia as the channels Creative Director in 2007. Here she developed the modern Arab identity of the channel, set up the creative department and headed all their design and communication strategy. In 2012, Galayini took the helm as Design Director on Fashion Forward, a platform promoting designers form across the Middle East. In addition to her successful career in the corporate world Rula was determined to pursue her personal passion in product design, particularly in women’s accessories and in 2007 she launched Poupée Couture. She gradually shifted into the realm of fashion under the mentor-ship of Esmod and London College of Fashion. She also embarked on a personal workshop with internationally acclaimed jewelry designer Azza Fahmy. Poupée Couture gained significant regional success, retailing in over 30 countries through various online stores and in 8 physical locations across the GCC. Due to the brands growing reach, in 2014 Rula felt it was time to evolve Poupée Couture and give it a more international name and identity. On February 10th 2015, Rula re-launched the brand as Rula Galayini.
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
My academic background is in graphic design, where we were heavily exposed to all facets of design, architecture, product, communication and fashion. I received a full scholarship at Rhode Island School of Design, but unfortunately couldn’t use it for a personal reason. Instead, I went on to work in advertising, handling the creative direction for numerous fashion and luxury accounts. In parallel, I took fashion design courses at Esmod, and London College of Fashion.
It was your dream job?
I actually never thought of it as a job. Initially, it was more about curiosity between duality of forms and function.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who (yourself, friend…)?
The primary study for any of my designs is always an actual real life prototype that I make with my own hands. My first ever sketch was a piece of fabric, that I cut and taped together. That very same first sketch materialized into a handbag that went on to be featured in Wallpaper magazine.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
Hussein Chalayan remains one of my favorite conceptual fashion designers, as he successfully fuses different disciplines into his fashion, such as music, art and sculpture. He also comes from the tiny island of Cyprus, where I grew up.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?
Standout women around me, someone who continuously challenges the status quo and strive for positive change.
If you had to design an entire collection using just one color, which is the one you’d pick and why?
It would have to be black. You can never go wrong with black.
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
I love working with brass and then combining it with more delicate materials such as exotic leathers.
If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain soundtrack by Yann Tierson
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page”moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…
I try to travel close around that period. I truly believe that stepping out of your usual environment helps to see things a lot clearer.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
I would love to be a fashion photographer for it is a creative discipline in its own right, and truly gives a new dimension to any design object.
by Gioia Gange