A dance step, an architectural projection, a full volume pleat, a prominent yet graphically cut top; this is how Dina JSR’s second collection comes to life. The designer’s goal is to create a new line that is unique, but nonetheless elegant and comfortable.
Fashion designer Dina Jisr was born in Riyadh and at the age of 17 took a leap, moving to London to discover the city’s cosmopolitan culture. Initially, Jisr attended Central Saint Martin to study fashion design, but soon after she completed the foundation courses, she found herself fascinated with the intricate handcraft work involved in jewelry making, and decided to she change majors in pursue of jewelry designing.
“I was always fascinated with fashion design, even when I was as young as 10-years-old I would carry my sketchbook with me everywhere, scribbling silhouettes of dresses. My mother and grandmother were always the sources of my inspiration; their elegance and style always drove my passion for fashion. My great grandmother would always touch the fabric of my dresses to see if she liked it or not,” said Jisr.
Jisr recalls that the first dress she ever created was made out of curtain fabric. “The fabric was just stunning and colorful, and so I used it to design a topless cocktail dress with pleats. I remember the first time I wore it to a friend’s wedding, it made me feel beautiful and confident and that’s when I told myself this is exactly what I want to do,” she said. “I wanted to make women experience and feel what I felt with that dress. Today I think of it as the dress that launched my career and made me who I am today. When I look back, it’s that dress that awakened my passion in fashion designing,” she added.
Jisr used her name as the title of her fashion brand because she feels her brand is a reflection of herself, her identity and character. “My work depends on my mood and how I visualize life, so when I came up with the name DINA JSR, I told myself it has to be who I am as a person because this is what I am perpetrating for my brand,” she said. ” I want women who wear my designs to feel more beautiful, confident and elegant. I need them to connect with the dress the way the dress connects to them, because this is what fashion to me is all about,” she added.
Every one of Jisr’s collections has a different source of inspiration, however she always finds herself seeking creativity from various architects. “I believe that as artists we should study, admire and analyze the work of other artists, regardless of what their form of art represents, because inspiration is boundless and not constrained to certain outlets. That’s the beauty of our work,” she said.
The designer is currently working on her fourth collection, and the inspiration for her spring/summer 2013 collection stems from the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. “Calatrava uses a lot of arches in his work, so I decided to recreate these arches in my dresses. A lot of the inspiration came from the city of science l’umbracle, the peace bridge, and the winery building for the plisse,” she said.
“It’s quite a colorful collection; the colors I used are bright turquoise, bright green, bright yellow, pale blue, pale grey, gold and of course white and black. They are summery colors that work really well with a tan. The fabrics I used are shantung, crepe, lace, gazar, organza and satin,” she added.
Jisr starts working on a new collection six months in advance. The first step she takes in preparing for the collection is selecting the colors, as she feels that is the starting point to any creative design, and then she chooses her fabrics.
“Next, I start looking for my new collection’s inspiration, and once I find something that intrigues me and stimulates my imagination, I study well the details of the work and then try to reinterpret and recreate the strongest elements of that work into my designs. Sketching is the subsequent step, followed by working on the toile, which is the white fabric that designers use to make the first sample of their designs. I made the essential changes on the toile and at the end I choose the perfect fabric to match the designs,” she said.
“Once I have finished the collection I take all the toile dresses with the fabrics to the factory in Paris and they start working on the patronage of the dresses. However sometimes when the dress is finished I realize that the fabric doesn’t really suit the design, so I either remove the dress from the collection or change it. After all the last changes and adjustments are made, I book for a photo-shoot for the look book and present my collection at a trade show in Paris during fashion week,” said Jisr.
When asked about her strengths and weaknesses in design, Jisr said that her strength lies in her keen awareness that no matter how many mistakes she makes, she will always pursue her passion and learn from her mistakes. Regarding her weaknesses, Jisr said, “I need to learn to choose the right fabrics, because I have changed so many dresses due to an error of judgment regarding which fabric is most suitable for a certain dress,” she added.
In the future, Jisr aims to create her own fabrics and jewelry line to go along with her collection.
Dina JSR’s upcoming collection will be available in Paris at La Foli de and Gisele So, in Riyadh at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Dubai at Gallery La Fayette, in Qatar at The Closet, in Kuwait at Ganash and in Lebanon at Sophie’s Choice. Jisr hopes she will be able to extend her brand to new stores in London’s Harrods, Colette and Montaigne Market in Paris, and 10 Corso Como in Milano. She also aspires to have her brand showcased in the United States of America and other countries.