I first came across Fairouza at Les Createurs Libanais 2016, the constant flow of traffic towards a specific booth piqued my interest, where were all these ladies marching towards? I then saw a one-of-a-kind denim jacket on the shoulders of a young lady and literally stalked her back to her booth. I also found myself marching towards the same booth, Fairouza. Lina Obeidat is founder and creative director of Fairouza, a luxury kaftan label based in Amman, Jordan. The brand’s contemporary yet thoroughly oriental approach to design satiates a thirst for authenticity without the heaviness that is associated with it. Fairouza’s designs are cool, very cool…
The second time I saw Lina and her creations was at her pop-up shop at The Boulevard during Ramadan 2017; a bright simple space that was transformed by the myriad of fabrics and embroideries lining its walls. The generous collection of kaftans neatly stacked on modern rails filled every surface of the boutique, it showed a commitment to her trade. This was not a passing phase, this was a business.
As we sat and chatted Lina took me back four years when she first dreamed up her project. What started off as a multi-brand concept, Lina bringing in the work of others to sell turned into a creative design project of her own. As you read this, many like myself will respect Lina for having the perseverance to create something. As I mentally document the factors that may have contributed to her success there are of course the usual suspects, financial freedom and older kids, but the truth is there needs to be more. There needs to be a supporter that will gently yet insistently push you in the right direction, it is evident from her constant referral to her husband Ibrahim Al Shami that he is her support. That in itself is totally cool, cooler than all the kaftans in the world.
They say 9 out of 10 people will not pursue their brilliant idea, that light bulb that flashes and fills you with inspiration and passion before fear thwarts it. Lina Obeidat is the 1 out of 10, a Jordanian woman, mother and wife that has had the privilege to see her ideas come to fruition, not once, not twice but three times. As we chatted and sipped our non-existent coffee that Ramadan afternoon, Lina told me that she had just launched an app! What?? An app! Yep, she and a friend had an idea of creating a culturally-Arab emoji keyboard called Halamoji, that was received with much applause. Yet another accomplishment to add to her roster (this project is currently put on hold).
The support that one receives brings with it confidence, it almost moves from one person to another through osmosis, till they are both equally confident and that is priceless. As I sat with Lina I sensed something very beautiful about her nature, she is quietly confident not one to blow her own horn, yet her demeanor is one of dignity and pride. She has achieved what many have thought about and perhaps contemplated for a month or two. Lina put her money and more importantly her time where her mouth is, and created a burgeoning business that today receives orders as far afield as the GCC. To think of all the kaftans available in the GCC, Lina must surely be providing people with something unique to receive such a demand.
The Fairouza kaftan is bold, there is a grandiose element in our traditional dress that is perfectly translated in this modern version. A Fairouza kaftan should have weight and presence, this is not your floaty chiffon printed version. As I sifted through the pieces I saw intricately embroidered dresses each with it’s own alter ego. That is what I found most interesting, a short sleeved maxi dress, well-suited for an engagement party that had the attitude of a crop top and skirt, it was that attitude that infused these kaftans with; for lack of a better word, ‘coolness’. Another piece looked pretty traditional and perfect for the next su7hour, a closer look and you see that the shoulder of the sleeve has been cut out, instantly transforming it into a modern version of a traditional kaftan.
Speaking of sleeves, Lina loves her sleeves. She told me that it is her single most favourite feature, as I glanced over at the collection once again ruffle, balloon and ruched sleeves attracted my attention. The element that best translated an attitude without interfering with the cut of the dress, very intelligent indeed.
There is indeed a lot of intelligence in Lina’s approach, after scouring the cities of the East for beautiful fabrics she set out to create a collection that covers a variety of needs. As she walked me through the collection she broke it down for me, like a puzzle the different elements of her collection came together to create a whole. At that point I was not surprised at all by her concise and effective approach to creating a collection, after all this woman almost had an App!
In a word, Lina is ‘steady’ a precious trait in a world with the attention span of a gold fish. No sooner do we come up with an idea than we replace it with the next, never actually giving it time to brew and simmer. Lina’s ideas whether the app, the Kaftan business or her initial foray into the world of sustainable animal furs are given time to grow organically. She is not in a rush to impress anyone or prove anything, steady in her self-confidence and vision taking the time and effort required to see it through. All we know for sure is that Lina will keep us guessing, who knows what she will start on next, the sky is the limit…
We can’t wait to see what Lina has in store for us this year. We are looking forward to her Fairouza Kaftan Collection that will be showcased at Les Createurs Libanaise 17-20 March 2018. We have no doubt that she will mesmerise…