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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 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 fashion world.
From being one of the top fashion entrepreneurs in the Middle East to embracing her strong heritage through her designs, Honayda Serafi pays homage to her homeland, Saudi Arabia as she creates covetable pieces loved by A-listers from around the globe.
Serafi has also showcased her collections for her namesake brand, HONAYDA at Paris Fashion Week and Emirates Woman sat down to speak to her on how she’s made her mark in the fashion and accessories industry.
What inspired you to launch your label?
I have always had the vision to create a brand that would be destined for women and be inspired by women. To create designs for the independent women on the go, contemporary designs with empowering silhouettes that would look as beautiful as they would feel comfortable wearing.
How would you define the fashion scene in Saudi Arabia and how has it evolved over the years?
Our land is rich in culture, our fashion heritage goes many years back and it is now witnessing amazing growth with emerging talents being put more and more under the spotlight. I am proud to see the Saudi fashion scene getting the International attention it has been receiving in the past year. Regional and international fashion publications are increasingly showing interest in the Saudi talents with impressive shoots being hosted in some of the most amazing regions in the Kingdom highlighting both local Saudi brands and top global ones.
What is your approach to daily dressing?
My two guiding headlines for daily dressing are a combination of comfort and style. This is my main motto to every outfit, that I style for either myself or for the collection.
How have you managed to scale the brand growth since its inception?
Nurturing an international brand is a long journey of constant and consistent effort. I am grateful to see where HONAYDA has reached in only a couple of years, despite an unprecedented pandemic and this comes as a recognition to all the hard work we have been putting into the brand since the beginning. My team and I work around the clock to provide newness to our growing customers in addition to ensuring the representation of the brand internationally making it accessible in boutiques across the globe.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Perseverance and determination are key to success. The Fashion design sector is currently receiving massive attention and funding from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Fashion council which aspiring young designers can definitely benefit from.
Nonetheless, they must keep in mind that only with their personal hard work, will they be able to build strong foundations to their brand and achieve success.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome this?
When I first launched my brand, the fashion design sector in Saudi Arabia wasn’t part of the Kingdom’s cultural and economic main focus, I struggled and suffered from a lack of guidance and resources within the Kingdom. Eventually, I relied on myself only. I learned from my own experiences, I learned first hand the whole design and production cycle through trial and error and I believe that this is what made HONAYDA the successful brand that it is today. It is also challenging being an Arab woman with global business ambitions. It is something that I’ve had to fight for in order to give my brand international recognition, as it’s been worn by A-list celebrities worldwide and is globally acclaimed.
How do you manage to empower women through the world of fashion?
The mission of the brand is to empower women, and as such, every collection and activity of HONAYDA is pointed to shed light on and empower them. Each of the HONAYDA collections tell a story of women who’ve marked history whether one from the past or our modern days. The latest SS21 collection is inspired by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the exceptional American lawyer who endeavored to achieve gender equality and empower women throughout her whole life. Speaking about accomplished women is one way to empower them, and helping the less privileged ones is another way of doing so. I am honored to also be a board member of a number of NGOs in the Kingdom such as Al Oula, supporting women and guiding them to become financially independent.
Lastly, what fashion brands can we find in your wardrobe?
HONAYDA! It’s funny, but really ever since I launched my brand, I truly only wear pieces from my collections, whether day or night.
For more information on the brand visit honayda.com
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