Do you remember the exact moment you fell in love with fashion? Or the moment you knew you wanted to make a career of it?

I think I must have been 5 or 6 when I first remember making my own clothes from my mother’s curtains. I think she forgave me for the curtains but would not let me follow my career choice into fashion. Like many families everywhere, my parents wanted me to follow a professional career so I had to give up my dreams of a career in fashion until much later. I had been working as an engineer in the oil industry for quite a few years before I decided that I needed to take the time and opportunity to switch to the career I really wanted to follow.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I think if you ask any designer this, they will likely say the same thing.......I get inspiration from almost anything. A lot of the inspiration comes from nature and art. I can give you an exclusive on this one.....my Spring Summer 16 collection which I have just shot is a combination of the explosion of colour in Jackson Pollocks art and flowers. I think the juxtaposition of the wonderfully structured detail of lilies and other flowers and the wildly unconstrained colours in Pollock’s paintings make a wonderful theme for a collection – I think this is one of the collections I am most proud of.

Do you have a celebrity fashion muse? If so, who and why?   What would you like to see him/her in?

I am most in love with the more timeless fashions of the past – my favourite ‘fashion movie’ is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I think the really structure tasteful look Audrey Hepburn displays in that movie is as close to an ideal of beauty as I have seen. There are, of course, many modern ladies who show enormous taste and style in their fashion choices. Queen Rania of Jordan is an example of a lady whose taste and style is a model for me – I would love to see her wearing one of my dresses.....

 

How would you describe your personal style versus the style of your brand?

I spent many years in Europe when I was growing up and indeed, my home country of Libya was much less conservative when I was growing up than it is now. However, as time goes on, I do find I am happy to wear my own designs so perhaps my personal taste and brand style are converging.
 

Tell us a bit about your customer. What are they like?

The typical baruni customer is a difficult lady to pin down , it is more about a taste and style than a particular age or other demographic. If I needed to find words to describe a baruni customer, they would include sophisticated, mature (not likely to be a teenager) and stylish. She wants to look great at work and in the office. She is definitely active and engaged between family and career obligations. In summary they are fantastic – I really have liked meeting my customers and nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing someone wearing my clothes and looking and obviously feeling fantastic. 

What is the hardest thing about being a designer?

That is easy – it is all the other non-designer things I have to do to keep my brand going. Managing my team , running around and dealing with administration, licensing, shipping and accounts – it never seems to end and all of it crowds out the time I have to do my design work. Together these other issues create a lot of pressure and it is easy to feel there is not enough time in the day.

What’s coming up for you? What are you working on?

Well we just finished the photoshoot for our SS16 collection and I am really pleased with how that went. We managed to do a photoshoot outside in July in Dubai! I don’t know how the models managed to stay looking so cool but they did and the outcome is great. (see her instagram account at baruni_fashion) This is always a really stressful time of year getting this done in time to have material ready for buyers who are working on buying for the Spring Summer 16 season and we can’t miss the window. Apart from that, I have just moved our office and am dealing with all the problems that this has generated. I am working to manage production for our Autumn Winter 15 collection which will be in the stores in a few weeks. We are working with a number of large department stores like Salam, 51 East , ETRE and House of Fraser so making sure we get all the manufacturing completed to meet their schedule is a great challenge. My next focus is on traveling to Paris to visit the big fabric shows. I really want to find some new and innovative fabric ideas for the Autumn Winter 2016 collection and that is my mission in Paris. So I am not looking for something to do – my days are very full and that is just how I like it.

How can we purchase your merchandise?

In Dubai , we are stocked in Professionelle and in Salam stores. In Abu Dhabi, House of Fraser, and in Doha, 51 East. In Riyadh and Jeddah in ETRE and Rubaiyat. Basically you can find all our stores and stockists on our website at www.baruni.co 

Any advice for anyone thinking of going in to fashion design?

My only piece of advice really is that you really need to feel that fashion is the only thing you can do. It takes enormous commitment and perseverance and unless you have 150% commitment to it, you will not succeed. The other point I would make to anyone getting into fashion is also to think from the beginning about the commercial aspects of the project – what segment are you aiming for, price point and other considerations have a great impact on how sellable your designs will be.

Visit www.baruni.co for more information