Welsh-born Haifa Shamsan, is an aspiring fashion designer from Wales, UK who inspires Muslim women through her clothing line- Maysmode. The brand blends traditional Arab style with a Western outlook. Shamsan, originally from Yemen, plans to take her line to an international level and break the stereotype associated with Muslim women.
“I am a 26-year-old business marketing graduate. I am Welsh born and bred but my parents originate from Yemen. I started designing a couple of years ago when I had started designing outfits for my daughter. I aim to go global in designing innovative modest designs for fashion devoted women,” she told Saudi Gazette. Currently, Shamsan takes orders via email and her Facebook page.
SG: How and why did you start your fashion designing journey? Has anyone in particular inspired you?
HS: From a very young age, creativity was my strong point, be it interior designing or clothes. I enjoyed fashion a little more. Both my grandmother and mother are seamstresses, so I guess it is genetic! I also enjoyed textiles classes at school, which pushed me in this direction. It is safe to say my mother definitely inspires me a lot and she is the reason I pursued my designing career. When I was younger, I always liked to dress differently, less mainstream, which I believe led me to start this journey by creating my designs.
SG: What is the concept of your designs? How are they different from other fashion designers?
HS: Everyone has a sense of originality in their designs and that is the beauty of it. Each creative designer will bring something different. To me, it is not about designing a dress or a maxi skirt or a sleeved blouse. There has to be something interesting about each piece. The whole point of designing is to create something that no one has ever seen before. Apart from the fact that I aim for my clothing to bring modesty, I sometimes love to bring in dome vintage styles and mix up a little culture to make things more interesting and revive some pieces. I sometimes love to incorporate traditional fabrics into my clothing to give it a special touch.
SG: Is your focus the Muslim community in Cardiff or all around the world?
HS: Aiming small for now, but I shall definitely aim big because I would love to go global which is my long term vision. I not only target Muslim women, my fashion pieces are modest but not too traditional meaning anyone can wear them.
SG: Can you talk about the fashion shows you have held so far including your first and the most recent one? Are you planning to hold any fashion shows soon or in the future?
HS: The first fashion show I had was in London Mayfair hotel where I got to showcase my first collection and actually got my first interview that was featured in a London based magazine. My next show will be in a month’s time, it is planned by a modest fashion platform for any upcoming designers and bloggers. They are called Muslim Woman Expo and it will be held in ‘The Atrium’ London.
SG: Are you bringing your daughter into the fashion industry as well? What do you think about kids fashion? Do you design for them as well?
HS: “Mays” is my daughter’s name which means ‘to walk with pride’ and that is what I would love my audience to feel when I get to dress them. My daughter is one of the reasons I actually started designing. So yes, she will very much be in the industry. Matching children outfits is what we are known for. I love to dress the little fashionistas to match their mothers sense of style. Of course that started from my daughter too as she is very trendy and to me, her style is more important than mine!
SG: Who would you like to see wearing your designs?
HS: I would love to see the well-known social media influencers such as Hudabeauty, Zoella and Ascia AKF to be wearing Maysmode. I would also love to dress celebrity mothers and their children in a matching Maysmode outfit.
SG: What do you think of women’s fashion in Saudi Arabia?
HS: Nowadays fashion in Saudi Arabia is quite western, although some women still like to wear their traditional dress. I feel Arab women love to follow western fashion a lot now and follow what is out on the runway. I would love to plan a fashion show there, of course one step at a time.