Famed Saudi designer Daneh Buahmad launched her eponymous label in 2010 as a cutting-edge brand that prioritises quality, comfort and an unrivalled sense of cool. The brand steadily gained a loyal dedicated following and today it is a brand inspired and worn by strong accomplished women who aren’t afraid to show off their true colors. Daneh empowers women and believes everyone is beautiful and is entitled to dress beautifully; hence she designs for all body types. Based between London, Dubai, and Istanbul, Daneh derives her inspiration from everything around her, be it long walks along the Bosphorus, rummaging for antiques, or immersed in fabric shops. Otherwise you would find her in her atelier rolling up her sleeves ready to tackle the fabrics and the clothes. Read below for CIIN’s exclusive interview with the ferociously talented yet extremely humble Daneh Buahmad.
1 || Can you tell us a little about your start?
Fashion has always been my passion might sound like such a cliché but it’s the sheer reality of things. I have always been fascinated by what’s new and different in the fashion world, and fashion was the outlet I chose to creatively express myself. In my teens I would obsessively collect fashion magazines that I would pore over repeatedly. Despite all that I studied and worked in the field of computer science while dabbling in fashion on the side; until I managed to take fashion courses while studying for my MA in the UK.
Opening a boutique was my first impulse but instinct took over and I went with my innate desire to create. My first design experience was when I participated in a local competition for kaftans; even though I didn’t win but I was a finalist and that’s when it hit me! I was so in love with designing and creating, and what started off as a small collection of items in mainly jersey material, evolved over time in designs and fabrics to what we have today.
2 || Being a Middle Eastern brand what efforts are needed to position your designs internationally?
There is no doubt that social media has played a vital role in positioning Middle Eastern designers on the wider map. Yet despite all that, one should always be able to deliver a quality product that is unique and different yet comfortable, and one that is inspired by our region. One has to have a vision and a set of priorities to work towards that vision.
3 || Tell us about Daneh the person…what inspires and motivates you? What do you do when you’re not designing?
My heritage and surroundings, my life experiences, my art and music…and many many things all inspire me! I love to witness the evolvement of a piece from paper to an actual product. When I’m not designing I’m learning, reading, planning, spending time with friends, listening to music and contemplating my next adventure.
4 || How does a typical day look like for Daneh?
My days start early … by 6:30AM I am at my desk working… this lasts till about 8PM. Afterwards; it is a constant struggle for me to refrain from opening my laptop and checking out my sketches.
5 || Coming from an IT background how does that affect your creativity and design process?
Interesting Question! My IT background helps me combine practicality with creativity and this is a definite plus in my field. An IT background is surely analytical; concepts of input, output and variables are quite relevant to the design process. In the end it’s all me and my experiences and even if you try to separate things you wouldn’t be able to..there is a natural effect and I dare say it is quite positive.
6 || Your brand is all about effortless chic; what inspires your designs?
Comfort, practicality, and standing out while also trying to get on with your day are what drive my designs. I would like to offer clothing that allows women to feel good while getting things done.
7 || We feel that your designs have evolved over the years; what can you tell us about that?
Yes they have! I started off using mainly jersey, and my designs were those oversized t-shirts and floor-grazing long dresses among others. I was right at the beginning of my career and I had a vision of growing organically and learning the process along the way which worked for me quite well and got me where I am today.
8 || Tell us about your latest collection. Do you have a favorite piece?
My latest collection is quite precious to me as I have ventured out of my comfort zone and worked on something which felt like it could be a little too early for me…which is introducing suits. My collection is 360 wardrobe… if a customer buys everything they would have a full wardrobe. The collection is slightly different than my usual work yet maintains the DANEH essence in its lines and cuts. My favorite piece must be the multi-colored plaid oversized suit.
9 || Tell us about the Daneh woman? Who is your muse if you have any?
I try to be as open and flexible as possible in my life – I make it a point to myself to remember that everyone around us has a story, is probably going through something, or is hoping to achieve something…That’s why we should all go easy on each other and always put ourselves in other people’s shoes without losing track of our visions and goals. As for my muses I have many- but one that comes to mind right now and always is Bianca Jagger for her inimitable style and versatility.
10 || In such a competitive market place what would make Daneh stand out from the rest, in your opinion?
I believe that my cuts stand out. Daneh’s cuts and designs have a certain consistency that people have learnt to love and identify with.
11 || What is next for Daneh?
I’m currently working on something for girls ….and hopefully there will be a collaboration with a charity organisation…Details will follow soon!
12 || What advice can you give the ladies about developing their own unique sense of style?
I know it sounds cliché but be yourself … and really examine yourself before going out! You might be wearing beautiful pieces BUT…….. do you honestly look good? More importantly do you feel good? Do you really feel like yourself? I’m all for stepping out of your comfort zone and breaking your barriers …every once in a while! It is not about how an item makes you LOOK but more about how it makes you FEEL!