Design Road celebrates creativity, fashion

Updated 06 May 2013
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Design Road celebrates creativity, fashion

“Design Road: Jeddah Style” is a four-day event that offers international designers and creative professionals from various disciplines the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with other creators and innovators through a series of workshops, lectures and exhibitions conducted by international designers.
The event will run until tomorrow and evolves around fashion.
Prestigious visiting designers are conducting workshops, such as Carmen Malvar, director of Carmen Malvar Atelier in New York and Fred Butler, designer of various headpieces worn by Lady Gaga. The workshops are on fashion retail design, branding fashion and window display design, to name a few.
Design Road visits countries where design is flourishing and enables participants to sharpen their talents and increase the skills needed to attain a higher level of creativity that comes alive with inspiration. By providing an open dialogue with designers and artists, Design Road helps enhance the design culture in participating countries.
Apart from Jeddah, Design Road holds exhibitions and seminars in Amman, Bahrain, Casablanca, Damascus, Doha, Dubai, Manama and Tetouan.
Local designers have the opportunity to work on joint projects targeted at harnessing knowledge of local constraints, supporting capacity building and promoting local economic development through the creative industry. Through these collaborations, local designers are exposed to the latest experiments in modern style. These unique encounters between the professional, educational and private sectors are organized to encourage a sharpening of talent and increasing skills. From 2009 until 2012, more than 500 local designers have presented these workshops and more than 1,000 participants have attended.
The success of Design Road has been largely due to collaborations between prestigious international design institutions — such as Elisava Design School in Barcelona and Kingston University London, amongst others — and partnerships already established in hosting countries, such as the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Ministry of Culture in Bahrain, Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar and the Ministry of Culture in Morocco.
The second part of the journey will be Design Road Professional. This will enable selected up-and-coming designers to travel to abroad on an inspirational trip and be hosted in design houses to develop their production capabilities and know-how. Once the designers return to the Kingdom, they will be able to carry out this knowledge and create items, which will be selected by a grand jury to be produced in one of the major design houses in Europe.
The Creative Dialogue Association (CDA), an independent and non-profitable association based in Barcelona and Tashkeil, a social enterprise that promotes creative entrepreneurs by providing them with an information exchange forum, media coverage, access to commercial outlets and exclusive membership benefits, have organized this edition of Design Road.
Tashkeil and CDA are working on expanding the Design Road map to other cities in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, alongside with other projects related to the creative industry and national capacity building programs.
Inspired by the Silk Road, which is historically known as a network of interlinking trade routes, Design Road was created in 2010 as a journey in which international designers and creative professionals from various disciplines have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with other creators and innovators through a series of workshops, lectures and exhibitions conducted by international designers.


TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

Dr. Lama S. Taher (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 20 April 2018
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TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

  • Lacking in financial assistance but armed with grit, perseverance and passion, a young Saudi woman fashion designer launches her own brand while pursuing further studies, and succeed in both

I was born and raised in Riyadh and moved to London in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master’s degree in Mental Health.

Eight years ago, when I started on my Ph.D. in Psychology, I felt compelled to go into fashion design. Armed with grit, perseverance and passion, I took the plunge and launched my own brand, LUM, in May 2010.

I had no financial assistance and no fancy business plans — but I believed in it. No one else did, except my older sister who stood by me.

In spite of its humble beginning, the brand was well-received in the Kingdom and the Gulf region. But my father, a physician, was not convinced. I placed a bet with him, vowing to make substantial sales and revenue within one month. On July 1, 2013, I won that bet, making him my number one supporter.  In 2016, I achieved my academic dream, obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology at City University London.  

But it was not easy. Enduring sleepless nights and homesickness, I persevered to meet high academic demands. Meanwhile, the LUM business continued to flourish.

People asked why a successful fashion designer would pursue a doctorate in psychology. I was constantly asked to pick one — but my heart was in one and my mind was in another. 

Few believed I could achieve both. At times, I too doubted myself.

Today, I am an assistant professor at Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, supervising award-winning researchers. I am also a Saudi designer and manager of a successful fashion brand sold in the GCC, New York and Los Angeles.  I share my story to empower women to pursue their dreams, to believe in themselves, to fight for what they want.

People still ask: “Why both?” 

I reply, smiling: “Because one dream was not enough.”