People often ask me what makes my heart beat a little faster in fashion design, and the answer is courage. The courage to hold true to your design process without being affected by current trends. Maha Al Khamees of Meem Zone caught my attention for that reason specifically. I love the fact that she designs from her heart; unaffected.
Her Spring 2021 collection titled, ‘Surrealism’ is a foray into modern ready-to-wear with a distinct Japanese influence. The muted color palette of grey, flesh, bone and browns come to life as the fabrics are ruched, pleated and wrapped around the body. A play on light and texture amplifies her rich design process. When I say Maha has courage it’s because she is steadfast in her vision, this stance allows her to create with passion, she is not stunted with fears of what if and perhaps not. When you look at her minimalist designs you realize that they are anything but, a multitude of features perfectly woven into one another to create a seamless statement of modern sophistication.
Saudi Arabian Maha Khamees established her brand Meem Zone in 2017 after an experimentation with a kimono while on holiday in Spain; that was met with great appreciation. When Maha described to me her growing up, she tells me how she always made a point of making her look unique by changing features in her clothing. I can still see this habit today, her pieces are unique, with unlikely combinations and original features. Whether it is the corset lacing peeking out of the back of a cropped top, or a fantastically modern kimono-style white abaya shirt contrasting beautifully with a dark beige shift dress. She has been inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi, otherwise known as the discovery of beauty in perfection, and this really does describe her work well.
Where we expect symmetry she shocks us with asymmetry, where we expect flowing fabrics she gives us starched cottons, and when we expect traditional seams she gives us a raw cut edge. Maha challenges the stereotypes of the fashion industry with confidence, and it shines a light on her originality and flair for the unusual.
When I think about Maha’s designs I understand how much precision she must have to execute her designs so well. I am willing to bet my last penny on the fact that there are many that have attempted this technique with less success. It’s not something that can be learned, it needs to come from within.
At times, designers avoid colors in order to focus on movement and texture. Maha’s pieces have a great amount of movement which actually translates to emotions. When you see the billowing of a sleeve or coat dress, it evokes certain emotions personal to each of us. Maha’s pieces tell a story and the beauty is in the fact that the tale differs from one person to another.