September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ – Download Now

Faiza Bouguessa is the brains behind the namesake label Bouguessa. We sat with the globally-championed designer to find out how the perfect cut inspires confidence.

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?

In the morning the first thing I do is pray, then I stretch for about 10mins and I drink about a litre of water and write down my goals for the day. On good days, when I wake up earlier, I breathe, meditate, I review my long-term goals and read.

What is at the heart of Bouguessa’s DNA as a brand?

Bouguessa is made to inspire confidence. The ethos of the brand is all about minimal and sophisticated elegance for the modern woman. We recently announced our wish to move toward more sustainable practices, to allow women to feel good and do good when wearing our designs.

What has been the biggest hurdle since starting your own brand and how did you overcome it?

I have learned to quickly get back on my feet when a challenge occurs. We have had many hurdles and they’ll always be there, but what matters more is to look at the bigger picture and know deep inside that it will work out at the end and of course do everything in your power to overcome that hurdle.

Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path?

Roland Mouret is my mentor, I had the chance to benefit from a mentoring programme via the Dubai Fashion and Design Council, back when Nez Gebreel was the CEO, and I visited London to meet Roland and his team for 3 days. I had the opportunity to sit with each key member of his team for an hour each, and this had a huge impact on my career as I learned so much. I was still starting and didn’t know what my next move should be and it allowed me to be more aware and confident as of what to do, who to hire next and how to handle my business. I am very thankful for this experience.

Premium fabrics, perfectly precise cutting techniques and a clean brand aesthetic are something we’ve come to recognize from Bouguessa. Was this the goal from the outset?

Absolutely, this was very important to me as I had a strong ambition for Bouguessa and a clear vision as of where I wanted to take the brand. I wanted to offer timeless designs that last and that still look new after being worn for years. Quality is part of our DNA and that’s why our products are made in our own ateliers, to make sure they are constructed following our strict standards and handled with care.

You have an impressive list of clients globally, and particularly throughout the GCC. What do you feel is key to this success?

I feel that listening to them has been key for me. A lot of my clients have become friends over time, and they give me valuable feedback on the Bouguessa pieces they own. I always ask what they would like to see, I like to see the fit of my designs on them and adapt the next collections accordingly.

What is your approach to scaling the business?

I don’t like to make any move without planning, and we try to be as detailed as possible when it comes to that. For example, we always try to find the right balance between hiring new staff, buying new machinery and investing in marketing.

Which colourways/designs have been most popular the globe over and was that a surprise?

Often it was the one design I wanted to cancel from the collection but my team loved it so I kept it. I always find it surprising!

We adore your leather pieces – how have these been received?

We started introducing leather since last year’s fall collection and they were quite popular. We have more pieces in the new Fall/Winter collection. Now the challenge for future collections is to find the right supplier who will provide Vegetable Tanned Leather.

You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries?

Generally, people buy for similar reasons, they are going on vacation, they need a wardrobe for work, they have a special celebration or event. It just happens at different times for different regions.

What in today’s market is luxury?

I feel that luxury today lies within the authenticity of a brand and the experience it is offering its customers.

How do you approach client engagement and retention?

We have always approached this in a very organic way, we grew sustainably, and we are lucky to have amazing clients who have supported us for many years. My showroom in D3 is a space that is dedicated to them. I wanted to provide them with a relaxing and refined experience where they can just pause and enjoy a moment with us in a modern space that represents the Bouguessa esthetic.

How has social media affected building Bouguessa?

Social media is giving us more freedom to share authentic moments of the brand and engage with our community. We have been using Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for years now and I know it has highly contributed in growing our brand awareness.

Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration/books do you recommend?

I love @FashiionGoneRouge by Debora Rosa, @kellywearstler, @rubyatelier, @royalgarance and so many more.

Do you have any pre-bedtime rituals?

Not really.

What do you carry with you always when travelling?

My whole house, I wish I knew how to pack light!

2020 has been a challenging year in business – how do you stay focused and have you had to pivot in terms of plans?

Working with my team has helped me a lot. I feel we kept each other sane. Discussing our plans together has allowed me to stay positive and look beyond these challenging times.

What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

Be patient, everything comes in its own time.

If you had not launched Bouguessa which other role would you choose career-wise?

I would say owning a small hotel or guesthouse is something I’d love to do. I love to create experiences and interior design.

This issue is ‘The Power Issue’ – what defines power for you?

A strong will to me is what defines true power. Knowing what you want in life and going for it no matter what.

September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ – Download Now

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Images: Supplied