You recently attended and participated in the second edition of ‘Le Festival International Art du Caftan’.. Tell us about your experience.
I participated in the festival with seven other fashion designers. Many celebrities attended the event including the renowned Moroccan singer, Dounia Batma. I really enjoyed this matchless experience, and I will definitely participate a second time next year.
You were crowned Miss Universe of the World in 2016. How did that make you feel?
I’m very proud to be a Moroccan Miss Universe of the World. It was a great experience to represent women of the Arab world, especially Moroccan women.
What first sparked your interest in fashion?
I have been interested in fashion since I was a little kid. I love fashion because I feel it is an extension to my personality, through which I can reflect my thoughts. I decided to create my own fashion line, ‘Chic Chic Couture’, which offers sumptuous designs of traditional caftans. I’m very proud and passionate about my Moroccan roots.
Why only caftans?
The line’s current focus is only on traditional caftans because that’s what I specialised in when I studied fashion. I wanted to share my passion about traditional Moroccan attire with women around the globe. Caftans are now actually becoming modernised as part of the international fashion scene.
Have you considered extending your line to include designing casual or evening wear?
Honestly, I’m thinking about starting to design evening dresses. I’m still doing my research about this because I don’t like to start something without fully understanding every detail about it, but I’m considering taking this step very soon.
What would you like to improve or add to the field of fashion today?
I want to improve myself and my skills. I want to learn more, and continue to take my career to the next level. I would like to add a level of richness to my clothing line.
As a horse lover and generous philanthropist, how far do you think we still need to go in terms of animal welfare?
I’m an animal lover in general. I love horses specifically, because I have been an equestrian since I was five. I think horses are among the most innocent and beautiful creatures ever created. There are still many basic rights that are yet to be granted to animals, including having specialised shelters, and generally being treated more mercifully.
Have you met any challenges you think have hindered your success so far?
I have been in the fashion design business for nearly two years, and I haven’t encountered any challenges or difficulties so far, which I’m very thankful for.
What is next for Meryem Refaie?
I’m participating in a renowned fashion show in Abu Dhabi, where I will showcase my new collection with many talented Moroccan fashion designers. In March, I will be launching another fashion show, and we plan to have many famous singers and celebrities as hosts including Samira Said, Wael Kfoury, and Fares Karam.
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