Ahead of her catwalk show at Fashion Forward Season 7, designer Jelena Bin Drai opens up about the misconceptions of being a designer in Dubai, and we think you’ll be surprised.

The fashion industry has always been perceived as distant — an industry filled with high walls and high statuses. If you’re in the fashion industry, it’s either assumed you have been blessed with the right connections or you have the money to be there.

fashion forward ffwd Jelena bin drai Misconceptions Of Being A Fashion Designer In Dubai

Jelena Bin Drai’s latest collection

Being a fashion designer, I am also engulfed in that stigma. The misconception is so huge that it discourages future designers from pursuing what they love. Imagine, a little girl so in love with fashion but was told to pursue a more ‘reachable’ career. Imagine if the world’s best designers had not followed their dreams – if they were working in an office, their hands photocopying countless papers instead of creating art in fabrics. They wouldn’t be living the life that they were born to live, and the world would be a less vibrant place.

Read: How To Make It In The Fashion Industry

fashion forward ffwd Jelena bin drai Misconceptions Of Being A Fashion Designer In Dubai

Creation by Jelena Bin Drai, who will be presenting her latest collection at Fashion Forward Season 7

Fashions designers are privileged, don’t get me wrong. We are privileged in that we get to do what we love on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, it is still a business and we do more than draw pretty dresses and throw a few stitches. We have to consider profit, turnover, expansion and taking risks is just part of the job. You have to have inner confidence and a strength that supersedes all negativity. Fashion is subjective – there is no right or wrong, only many opinions that do not always match. Criticism is harsh but praise brings elation. There is rarely any middle ground.

Another stigma is that fashion designers are egotistic and want to take all the credit.

Read: Your Ultimate Guide To FFWD S7

While you can never paint everyone with the same brush, most fashion designers know how to appreciate their team, from the production team to the marketing, PR, music technicians and even the models. Everyone works hand-in-hand to create a successful collection.

Jelena bin drai Misconceptions Of Being A Fashion Designer In Dubai

Jelena Bin Drai creation

Being a fashion designer is not about being different; it’s about being unforgettable. Everyone is different but what will you create for people to remember you by? You don’t need to study in a university in order to acquire all those skills and you don’t need a degree to boost your way to the fashion industry. Just create something that is true to you. Obviously it’s not as easy as just that – you will need resources to get fabrics and tools to create your collection but it shouldn’t stop you from trying.

fashion forward ffwd Jelena bin drai Misconceptions Of Being A Fashion Designer In Dubai

Designer Jelena Bin Drai

Fashion designing may not be what everyone sees it to be, but it is reachable. If you want to be a fashion designer you need guts, determination and passion. It is like any other profession, you need to constantly learn and practice the craft. You will experience failures but that will polish you to be a better designer. Connection is formed through inspiration. If you look at some of the designers in the UAE, you can still see culture and heritage in every stitch. Make something that will inspire and something that will embody the wearer’s beauty.

Read: In Conversation With Jelena Bin Drai 

In the 1970s, fashion designing wasn’t viewed as a real profession – maybe it still isn’t, but the world is changing. The industry has already established a more scholarly approach through studies like fashion marketing and even psychology for the fashion industry. It is more established than before and it will continue to grow. So if you want to be a fashion designer, don’t be afraid. Be one.

Jelena Bin Drai will be showcasing at Fashion Forward on March 31 at 7.30pm

Read: Meet The Designers Presenting At FFWD S7