Interview with Andraya Farrag, designer of Bedouin
Special thanks to www.fashionforward.ae
Central Saint Martins graduate, Andraya Farrag is the curator and designer of the Dubai based women’s wear label BEDOUIN, a contemporary ready-to-wear label that aspires to create flattering, easy-to-wear collections with a confident, spontaneous style. Born and raised in Bristol, United Kingdom, Andraya spent several years in Dubai before she moved to London in 2007 to attend Central Saint Martins (CSM), where she graduated with a First class BA (hons) in Fashion Design with Marketing in 2012. Her graduate collection was one of the few to be selected for the renowned CSM Press Show that launched the careers of critically acclaimed designers such as Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane. Following the showcase of her collection, her designs were widely featured internationally. Farrag draws inspiration from personal experience having travelled extensively working for Matthew Williamson in London, Marchesa & Edun in New York and DVF in Bangalore, India. With a love for travel and culture, designing a brand based on the world came naturally. Now living between Dubai & London Farrag channels the contrast of her environments into each collection blurring the lines between casual and evening wear and day to night.To allow more chance for spontaneity, each item is flattering and versatile making BEDOUIN the go-to brand in her wardrobe. A hybrid of masculine and feminine appears in each season combining loose fit silhouettes with feminine silks, or clean cuts with a fresh take on embroidery.BEDOUIN’s less is more approach is shaped by the beautiful, nomadic existence of the Bedouin tribes. Encouraging Style Without Borders, BEDOUIN is inspired by the simplicity and independence of nomadic communities from across the globe. Designed with the global woman in mind, BEDOUIN provides their customer with travel friendly luxury that honors tradition and diversity while having a clean and minimalist style. Sustainability is key in the traditional Bedouins lifestyle therefore creating pieces that will stand the test of time is also key to the BEDOUIN philosophy. Quality and attention to detail is the main focus, working with custom made silks from Italy and bespoke embroidery, each collection is designed in London and produced by a small team in Dubai.
1 When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
I have always loved fashion and art therefore there was never a question that I would do anything else. I discovered Central Saint Martins when I was about 13 and set my heart on attending. I was so happy to be enrolled onto the BA at CSM and during my 5 years there, I learnt so much about the industry not only in design and pattern cutting but, I learnt that you need determination and a thick skin to succeed. During my degree I lived in New York during my placement year where I worked with designers such as Marchesa and Edun and then after graduating moved to India working for designers such as DVF overseeing the embroidery development.
2 It was your dream job?
I think I romanticised it when I was a child so it seemed a lot more glamorous! But I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else and feel very lucky to be doing something that I love!
3 Which is the first thing you designed and for who (yourself,a friend…)?
The first think I designed was in my Textiles class at school when I was about 13, it was a Jasmine costume from Aladdin. I also designed and stitched my prom dress which I think was when I really saw the benefits of making my own clothes. I now often wear my own designs or make things for people whether they are part of Bedouin collections or custom made.
4 Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
I really love Phillip Lim – I find his clothes are so wearable yet creative. He also manages to keep his collections refreshing while still recognisably his. I also find this with Celine which is another of my favourites!
5 Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?
I look to many women as my muse as I love to design with versatility in mind! Bedouin is all about cultural diversity, a sense of togetherness and a positive outlook so it is important that many women can relate to that no matter where in the world they might be.
6 If you had to design an entire collection using just one colour, which is the one you’d pick and why?
I find that white is such a timeless and fresh colour palette although I really love cobalt blue and would love to design a whole collection from it!!
7 Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
I always show one of my closet friends, my sister and my mother. I feel that they are the three people in my life that will give me an honest opinion and aren’t afraid to give me constructive feedback. Each of these women have different perspectives on fashion and its interesting to see when all three of them like or dislike the same piece!
8 The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
We use the most luxurious crepe satin in a wide array of colours which I love. The fabric provides the wearer with the ultimate comfort while still being alluring and elegant. I also love to work with jacquards, I feel that they really add something special to a simple, classic silhouette. For SS17 my favourite fabric is our geometric daisy jacquard, an iridescent fabric in soft orange and grey brings a subtle originality to the collection.
9 If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
In the lead up to each FFWD I spend many hours listening to many different tracks from a wide range of genres. However because we love to promote the “Girl Tribe” something from HAIM would be ideal for a group of Bedouin girls getting ready. Our women have a fun and positive outlook, they are feminine yet cool and above all they are unique and strong!
10 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 collect vintage fashion magazines and I always feel that they help me with design ideas if my mind goes completely blank. Classic movies also do the trick! The pattern cutting in the 40’s and 50’s was quite complex and it’s interesting to look at old colour combinations and finishing. I also think a good way to get out of a design rut for me is to go out! It is so important to balance work with social life even if it’s not an even split, I find that stepping away from my sketches really refreshes my ideas.
11. 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 photographer!