Believe it or not Hatem Alakeel has done something in the fashion industry that we never expected. He managed to covert traditional Thobes into very stylish modern ensembles with his previous collection Opposites Attract. Having just launched his new collection Femme, which happens to be perfect for Ramadan ladies, we decided to get to know Hatem El Akeel a little bit better.
How are you liking the transition into the fashion sector? What is your most memorable moment in the fashion industry?
I am embracing the transition in the fashion world with excitement as I love the fact that we are seeing more individuality and expression through fashion. People are becoming more daring to be unique and this is great for designers like me.
The most memorable would have to be having Christian Louboutin wearing my Hatem Alakeel shirt design for his Marie Claire photo shoot and Snoop Dogg wearing my entire Toby collection including on of my shirts for his latest music video “Here comes the King”, all such an honor!
We love the names of your collections, especially 'Opposites Attract' and now 'Femme'', how do you come up with creative names for your line?
I used to work in English copy writing with Leo Burnett when I first graduated from university so I have always loved using creative and interesting words to name my collections.
Your designs can be worn in numerous ways, fitting a very impromptu lifestyle. What sparked such that ideas? And how does that work exactly?
We all lead such busy lives, so I wanted to design pieces with flexibility to how and when you can wear them so as not to restrict the client. With simplicity it's easier to mix and match; whether it's accessorising or wearing something that can go from day to evening.
You twisted the traditional known Abaya into a modern version with your Spring and Femme line. What inspired you to make such a change?
Actually it is not so much based on the concept of an Abaya but more on the Thobe that I designed and then deconstructed to produce something feminine. My goal has always been to demonstrate how tradition can also be elegant and high fashion at the same time.
If you were to offer women three pieces of fashion advice , what would they be?
Wear what suits you. Keep it simple and sleek and always have your own signature and individual fashion style that represents you. It's not always about trends but should be more about style.
What kind of accessories would you use to accessorize your modern version of Abayas?
I have not designed abayas yet but I am in the process of doing so which should launch later this year however my thobes also look great with modern broaches, architectural chunky jewelry and embellished belts. I love minimalism so my use of detailing on garments is quite subtle yet at the same time striking.
What is the first thing you notice about a woman?
The way she holds herself, her sense of natural style and her femininity.