Welcome to Emirates Woman’s latest series ‘Spotlight on Saudi Arabia…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs based in the Kingdom to find out about their career paths and what led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out, and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome in the world of fashion.

After launching her label in 2011, the Dubai-based Saudi designer Daneh Buahmad has amassed a following for the brand, Daneh Design which uses a thoughtful approach to transforming luxurious textiles into a modern wardrobe.

With Buahmad’s focus being on beautifully crafted modern clothes which pay homage to her heritage, Emirates Woman sat down to speak to her on how she’s made her mark in the fashion industry.

Daneh Design

What inspired you to launch your label?

It seems so long ago, especially after the situation we have been living through in the past year or so. I have always had an interest in fashion, what’s new, what’s different. For me, it has always been a form of self-expression. Although I was a lot more daring and experimental in my younger years, the principle and spirit are still infused in me. Despite, the life-changing experiences that I’ve experienced, I eventually returned to the world of fashion. At first, the intention was to open a boutique but as I explored various brands, showrooms, tradeshows and much more, I realized that creating is actually what I love, so it started slowly from there. Through courses, experience, and educating myself the brand was born.

How would you define the fashion scene in Saudi Arabia and how has it evolved over the years?

There are many excellent designers in Saudi Arabia, pioneers in the world of  Saudi fashion. There wasn’t a strong “scene “ or a proper “ industry “ but this has changed over the years and continues to change. With social media, there was a major shift allowing more exposure, collaborations, and creative dialogue. And now with the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s fashion commission coming in and putting a strategy into place focusing on the importance of this industry and what it can do for Saudi Arabia and beyond, there are bigger things coming ahead and it’s definitely exciting.

What is your approach to daily dressing?

I usually dress according to my mood, with one thing being consistent which is comfort. I ensure it remains a priority with all my outfits while adding some edge to it too, with white shirt dresses, white shirts and white t-shirts being my wardrobe staples.

How have you managed to scale the brand growth since its inception?

We started off with small collections of limited styles using jersey fabrics by diversifying through the years. We have added new designs, new fabrics, new products and have done some collaborations. In addition, we changed our production strategy to make it more scalable and are focused on strengthening our digital presence.

Daneh Design

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

It can be very challenging and a lot of patience is needed. To be a designer you need to find out what the narrative is, what story you are trying to tell and who are you designing for, while understanding that this can evolve over time. It requires boldness, commitment and decision making, as the fashion industry is a business where there needs to be a healthy balance between the creative and the business side. A designer must think of the person they are designed for and the world we live in and with all that said, it is a very rewarding experience. It makes me happy to see so many amazing women wearing my designs and accomplishing new heights.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome this?

There have been many, including change of production facilities, outlets not fulfilling their commitments, shipping delays and many more. The seasons are never-ending and one is continuously working on the next collection so time is a challenge, making planning ahead a key strategy to work forwards. We as a business choose to go by the mid-seasons rather than the main season as it was a better fit for our business and helped us overcome some challenges. With COVID imposing its own set of challenges to the business and the industry as a whole, it has taught me so many lessons on how to keep the business going.

How do you manage to empower women through the world of fashion?

The brand was born from the love of creation but later it became clear that my true passion is dressing women. To enable women to express themselves, make them feel strong, empowered and ready to tackle the world in confidence in anything they do, so they look fabulous while doing it. .Fashion for me is not only about how it makes a woman looks but about how it makes a woman feel

Lastly, what fashion brands can we find in your wardrobe?

There are a mix of brands which include Daneh of course, along with Vivienne Westwood, Dries Van Noten, r13, ACNE Studio and the list goes on.

For more information about the brand visit danehdesign.com

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Feature image: Supplied