Have you ever heard of OTT? Of course you have, it’s a high-end fashion brand synonymous with kitsch couture. Have you ever seen the creative director? Of course you haven’t, the Emirati’s identity is one of the biggest secrets in fashion history. That said, Emirates Woman managed to get him to talk…
Shrouded in an air of mystery, OTT, which is over 10 years old and stocked worldwide, will never reveal the brains behind the iconic label instead allowing its experimental designs that embrace the vibrancy of the region take centre stage. The anonymous creative director talks to Emirates Woman about secrets, brave women and being unique.
So, who are you?
I’m Emirati, but I grew up travelling between Dubai and Europe. The more different you are from the rest of the world, the more curious you are, the more you want to discover. I’ve always been an innately curious person – travelling and discovering new things are my biggest passions.
Why be anonymous?
We live in the age [where everyone is all over] Instagram and social media. People become designers to be famous. We feel anonymity is an opportunity, if managed in the right way. We’re entering a period where anonymity is the biggest story of our time. There are rare moments in history where fashion doesn’t just reflect the story; it can become the story.
Any plans to reveal yourself? Not any time soon.
What was your upbringing like? I have amazing memories of childhood. Growing up in Dubai in the eighties was very exciting. However, being an introvert child meant that I was always building and making things, creating my own world.
When did you realise fashion was your future?
I was always fascinated by design and art. Fashion was not, initially, on the agenda. It wasn’t until 2005 that I began collaborating on kaftans and T-shirts as a hobby with my best friend. At the time it was very difficult, many shop owners were not very supportive of designers from the region. On the other hand, the few that were, were very supportive and impressed. We knew at the time that to make a mark we needed to launch our line internationally.
When was your breakthrough?
September 2007 marked the launch of the spring 2008 OTT collection in Paris, which was received with high praise from stores, magazines and stylists. Soon after the collection was picked up by respected stores and premium boutiques worldwide.
What’s your USP?
OTT will always celebrate print, colour and vibrancy. We are proud of the niche OTT has carved as a fun loving luxury fashion label; however we really believe our range of designs cater to women of all ages, fashion sensibilities and geographic locations. OTT is designed for those funky, fabulous women who know about fashion and want to have fun with it.
What are the secrets to your success?
The line was founded in 2005, but officially launched at the end of 2007 so we are nearing the 10th birthday soon. OTT’s success is down to remaining true to our vision as well as offering something unique with a great focus on quality. As long as the quality is great, then people can say it’s not their personal taste, but they can’t say that it’s horrible.
You’ve been in the industry for so long, tell us your favourite story…
Having lunch with Donatella Versace is on the top of the list. The strangest and most fascinating story is having a personal fitting with Italian fashion guru Countess Marta Marzotto and Nati Abascal, Valentino’s muse and former model.
What does style mean to you?
It’s a personal way of presenting to the world who you really are; through aesthetics rather than feelings.
Describe your own sense of style?
Schizophrenic and unpredictable. I usually opt for unknown independent brand, however I have an unhealthy addiction to early Alexander Wang and vintage Versace.
What can we expect from your next collection?
For spring/summer 2015 the OTT girl has a glamorous seventies disco thing going on with unapologetic over the top colours and prints. We have also launched our childrenwear’s line, OTT cupcakes, which we will continue to focus on growing distributing internationally.
Finally, what’s best advice you can give?
Let you heart be your compass.
OTT is currently stocked in leading department stores and high-end boutiques such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, S*uce, Eleonora and Luisa Via Roma.