January ‘13
Insight Interview

January ‘13
Caroline Yassa
Caroline Yassa


Yassa is an eighteen-year-old aspiring young fashion designer who managed to develop her skills in making handmade evening dresses from scratch, and launch them in her first fashion show that took place December 2011. Her handmade collection combines femininity and cleverness with affordable prices. These designs are not just articles of clothes you'd stack up in your closet, each and every piece is a work of art that is only made once...for you!

When did you realise that you wanted to become a fashion designer?

It all started many years ago, when I started to unwind my mind during boring lessons, doodling and sketching out dresses. The more I practiced, the better my drawings became, which encouraged me to attend an intensive eight-month course at Haute Couture, so that my handmade work of art be made with the utmost delicacy and proficiency. I was 16-years-old during at the time.

How did you manage to develop your skills and find time for that during high school?

There is no doubt that it was hectic, but my parents and friends' support motivated me to pass through all the tough times. Besides studying for my American Diploma Certificate, I had to attend Couture classes three times a week, four hours each, merely to develop my skills. I had to work till late hours to study and practice sewing, and then wake up at 6 am for school! It was tough'¦really tough beyond my capabilities, but with my family's assistance and a constant voice screaming inside of me to finish what I started, I overcame the difficult phase well.

What interests you about fashion?

Turning a sketch of your taste into a marvellous handmade, available for every pretty lady who wants to feel unique and sexy.

What obstacles have you faced and how did you manage to handle them?

While all my friends were having a normal life, I had to struggle to practice my hobby, catch up with studies and socialise with friends. This experience taught me to become more patient, persevere and encouraged to transform my dreams and sketches into finished goods, impressed by friends. So anyone wants to fulfil their dream should never permit obstacles to hinder their paths.

What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label versus i.e. design, production, sales, finance, and advertising?

Well I planned for my fashion debut for a year to display my evening gowns in a fashion show. I wanted to make everything myself, handmade and unique. From picking the clothes from cheap places and sewing assorted elegant designs, to choosing attractive models to display my designs. Taking care of every single detail, along with my studies, was quite hectic but interesting at the same time. The show opened wide doors and opportunities to resume my career in this path, which led me to what I am doing now; designing evening dresses for Posh, a shop in Zamalek that sells designer dresses. I send them between 10-20 dresses a month, according to the season, and they take 30% of the price I put. Furthermore, I sew dresses, jackets, blouses and swimwear for my friends and I.

What makes you unique from other designers?

I make all my pieces from scratch myself. I draw and design sketches, buy every yard of cloth from Wekalat El-Balah, then cut, sew and embellish my dresses. There may be countless designers who are specialised in a specific production phase, but not every designer can do things from A to Z, and that's what people like about me. They trust my taste.

What do your friends like the most of your designs?

They like my taste and find what they need. Although many international brand stores are opening in City Stars, Mall of Arabia'¦etc, girls spend a lot of time looking for something sexy that fits perfectly, a mission impossible in other words.

Do you think hair and make-up makes a difference on a model when promoting the designs?

Yes, you need to present your designs in a good way using attractive models, catchy make-up, professional shoots'¦etc. These features are imperative to add value and quality to the designs.

What skills do you think someone would need to put on a fashion show?

Patience, artistic style, commitment, inspiration and craziness.

Are you happy that you chose this profession? How would you want to pen your whole career in this industry?

Definitely, and I am planning to open my own shop to sell clothes and evening dresses by order. I will design clothes according to my customers' preference and choice of colour in great value and affordable prices to satisfy my customers' needs and wants. In addition to my own collection of casual wear and accessories to match with the items.

Are you planning on designing an accessories line under your label?

Since I have the gift, I might enlarge my business to constitute accessories, heels'¦maybe a salon!

By Christine Kassasseya