DUBAI: This week, Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali showed off his designing chops at London Arabia Art & Fashion Week, which returned to the capital for its fourth year and brought together designers and artists from the Arab world.
Ouali shot to fame after winning the intense reality TV competition “Fashion Star Arabia” this year, just months after graduating from Regent’s University London.
His unique brand is a combination of haute couture and street style. Ouali was born and brought up in Algeria, and his designs blend Arabian culture with the dressed-down look of western cities.
The 27-year-old designer had no previous fashion experience when he first came to London; it was not a well-established career choice in Algeria.
“I didn’t choose a career in fashion, fashion chose me,” Ouali told Arab News. “I have always been interested in fashion in general, and I didn’t even have the option in my mind to do something else.”
It wasn’t until his college years that he got his start. “During the first years at my university, I decided to drop my collection of six looks because I was impatient to start realizing my ideas.”
His participation in London Arabia Art & Fashion Week is a step into a bigger league. “My… collection will be sort of an introduction for me to the fashion world on a bigger scale, as it is the first time we are doing a big collection.”
Ouali said his show is meant to serve as a teaser for the new collection, which is strongly influenced by the Seventies. “The core of the brand was and will always be inspired from the 70s glamour, and the upcoming collection will highlight the ‘It’ girls of that era, like Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross.”