Tell us about yourself and what sparked your interest in fashion and design?
I am an Egyptian fashion designer and the founder of Karen Nan Couture. My obsession with design began at the age of ten when I started drawing fashion sketches, then my passion grew from sketching designs to sewing alongside it, which all goes back to when my mum used to buy me my sewing supplies and craft tools. I majored in Literature and Linguistics, but when I graduated I felt that I had to take my passion to the next level and make fashion designing my career.
What keywords would you use to describe women who wear your brand?
Daring and provocative, yet simple and feminine. My goal is to make every woman look effortlessly confident, elegant and unique in my dresses.
How would you describe your style?
In my latest collection, I wanted to highlight my signature style, which is adding luxury details on the dresses using shiny crystals, gold threads, glittered embroideries and other sparkling handmade embellishments and fabrics that actually took me like a thousand hours to produce! I’ve always wanted to embrace feminine beauty with a bling of modern luxury and glamour, which is initially why I collaborated with Asfour Crystal and Iram Jewelry. I’ll also be featuring one of Jaguar’s sports cars to accentuate the concept I have in mind for my photoshoots.
Which of those embellished designs would you say is your favourite?
The 2000 Asfour Silver Crystals Blue Dress is definitely my favourite! I just love how I managed to sew 2000 original Asfour crystals in a single dress and managed to make it look luxurious and simple at the same time. This one piece is what I basically consider my ultimate masterpiece.
What makes your brand stand out?
Complicated handmade details and embroideries are what make my brand unique.
What’s your favourite collection that you made?
My ‘Désirable SS16’ couture collection.
Name fashion icons you consider your muses.
Zuhair Murad, Marchesa and Balmain.
Do you prefer handcrafting or mass production and why?
I love and use both. For instance, I use handcrafting in evening gowns for accurate fits and special designs; however, I use mass productions for other purposes, namely for prêt–à–porter collections that are actually going to be released very soon and will be available in stores.
Is your work shaped by current trends in any way?
Yes, but in a limited way. As a fashion designer, your style should not be outdated; you have to constantly update yourself on new trends all the time. I consider forecasting one of my main talents, which is eventually reflected through my work as being fresh, surprising and trendy.
What is the Egyptian fashion industry missing, in your opinion?
It seems to me to be either missing creativity or style. I mean, if you are creative with your designs but lack the elegant touch that makes your style appealing, that only means you’re good at crafting patterns because being a fashion designer requires far more skills than just pattern-making. In my opinion, very few designers manage to combine these two fundamental elements together.
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