Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

Fashion in the Middle East has, in recent years, begun to step up its game. Now often featured alongside global household names, local designers, business owners and fashion enthusiasts are receiving the opportunity to take their creativity to the next level. One entrepreneur and fashion lover that I recently got to know has actually decided to do things the other way. Rather than spreading Middle Eastern designs across the world, she wants to bring unknown international designers right to our front door.

This concept, the brainchild of Futtaim Beljaflah and a friend, was born into a store known as 'The Butik'. A passionate individual, Futtaim wanted to give new anonymous designers outside of the U.A.E, the chance to become known and valued in the local market. And with her choice of designers creating only a few pieces of each garment, her concept serves the most sought after element of fashion in this day and age: originality. She doesn't buy for a name and she doesn't buy for the price, she buys for the quality, time and effort put into each piece. 

When I met Futtaim to discuss featuring some of the clothes on my blog, we spoke about how the Butik began. She had such passion and determination for her brand and concept, I knew the post wouldn't be complete without a short interview.

And so, I present to you The Butik. You can find below an interview with Futtaim herself, as well as a few photographs of their pop-up store that is currently at Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. I've also included some sneak-peaks of one of the style shoots I put together - I was lucky enough to work with Fanny Turcotte of FT Photography on the style images...you can see more of these photographs soon :) 

Check out The Butik here: www.butik.ae
And see more of FT Photography here: www.ftphotographystudio.com

Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN THE BUTIK?


The Butik was an obvious answer to a gap in the market for unique fashion designer that have an interesting story to tell. We realised that people buy fashion that is mass-produced in factories, leaving a gap for that personal element between the designer and client.

The main focus of The Butik is more than selling the product itself, we target a city and curate a collection from a small number of designers (ranging from emerging to established). We explore the fashion of that city and how it is represented through the work of the designers we select. We dive deeper into their world to discover more about their sources of inspiration and methods for constructing their collections.

The Butik takes the customers through a journey from the designer's point of view, starting with the city from which the designer originates, their design process and sources of inspiration, up until the end product that we offer.

Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL INTEREST IN FASHION?

Yes, but my interest in fashion goes beyond the trends, the florals and the colours. I always find myself reading about the fashion designer of the piece and how it was made before I decide what to buy. I stay away from the 'it' bag or the 'it' shoe. If a lot of people are wearing the same thing, it doesn't say much about them as individuals. In a way, I am the perfect customer for The Butik. I make sure that I personally meet with the designers that we showcase so that I can establish an emotional connection with them as people, which then make me fall in love with their brand even more. This helps me translate it in the stories that are told on the website in a more honest way.

Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR INDIVIDUAL STYLE AESTHETIC?

For me, comfort comes before anything. If I'm not comfortable with what I am wearing, I won't feel good or confident. I love all the basics. The perfect knit sweater, the long jersey dress, the high quality denim jeans and the flawless white shirt. Navy blue, grey and white are the three colours that you will mostly find in my closet. A friend of mine calls me an 'undercover hippie'.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A DESIGNER?

Firstly the designs as well as the designers themselves have to be unique, inspiration and creative. When researching new designers to bring on board, we look at the last two collection that they launched and the inspiration behind each collection. You can immediately tell if there is something unique about that designer. Their collection tells a story and you can see it in every piece. We also look for designer that haven't been discovered yet by boutiques in the region to ensure that what is offered on the website is exclusive to us.

Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

WHICH PIECES/DESIGNERS HAVE BEEN THE MOST POPULAR, AND WHY?

The designers we discovered in Skopje have been the most popular to date, and surprisingly it was the statement pieces that were the most popular. Structure dresses with exaggerate peplums were immediately sold out within two months of our launch. I believe what made those pieces very popular is the fact that they are very unique and different, and cannot be found anywhere else. Skopje is a city that is not well known, especially here in the U.A.E. We had to repeat ourselves several times whenever we mentioned the city, and sometimes we found ourselves giving people a geography lesson to explain where the country Macedonia is located in Europe. 

It was a risk for us to showcase designers from a place that is not very familiar, but by featuring their stories and taking out customers through this journey and into the designer's studio, we found that our customers were able to establish a connection with them and immediately fell in love with them as people. We then started getting requests about more collection sfrom certain designers, such as 'When is Tanja Kokev launching her next collection?' The fact that people not only request more from a certain designer that they have never heard about before, but that they also know who she is, reinforces the idea that people are intrigued by new concepts and are also constantly on the move craving new things and embracing innovation in various forms.

Dubai Fashion Photographer Style Blogger

WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

The Middle East has a lot of culture that can be showcased in fashion design, which goes beyond the obvious abayas, kaftans and evening gowns. Globalization hit us and it hit us fast, but have an advantage because we have the best of both worlds.

I think once we understand the difference between 'fashion' and 'fashion design,' we will not be able to move forward in this industry. I think fashion design in the Middle East still have a long way to go to compete with the international scene. However, we are definitely getting there with many exceptional designers that have recently emerged in places like Doha, Beirut and Saudi. Fashion is all about the design of a garment, the construction, the inspiration and the thought process. Fashion is another form of art, and we can definitely learn a few lessons from the fashion industry and designers in Amsterdam, Sweden, Seoul and even Ukraine!


1 comments:

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