Selina Farooqui, a Fashion Design senior at VCUQatar, was approached by Cugini, after the VCUQatar Annual Fashion Show in May this year, for which she designed a luxury ready-to-wear collection consisting of interchangeable separates (jackets, blouses, dresses). Cugini loved the ‘India-inspired’ collection, which featured a lot of handwork, braiding details and decorative edgings in fabrics ranging from fine silks, brocades, golden embroidered georgettes and cottons and promptly contacted Ms Farooqui through VCUQatar Fashion Design department Chair, Sandra Wilkins.
“Selina’s collection is young, innovative and there’s a cultural connection,” says Ms Wilkins. “She took what could have been typical ethnic designs like sarees and made them into what every woman would love to have.”
“It is such an honor to be selling my clothes at Cugini,” says Ms Farooqui. “I think it’s great that they are being supportive of young designers and local talent. These past months, getting the collection ready for the boutique, have been exciting, full of anticipation, inspiration and I am proud of what I have accomplished. Just seeing my first labels sewn onto the backs of my garments was a moment I will never forget,” says the budding designer who believes having the opportunity to design and sell her collection at a boutique like Cugini has helped her focus on what she wants to achieve in the future.
“I am determined now more than ever to get my label out there, show people what I am capable of designing, and most importantly to create beautiful fashion that reflects who I am as a designer. From this point forward, I plan on putting out a collection every season (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter). It is a lot of work, but I feel I am ready to make the next move.”
22-year-old Ms Farooqui doesn’t have just one source of inspiration that she always draws from; she’s constantly searching for things that inspire her, from nature, art and objects to different countries, people and history. “One thing does remain constant in my style of design. There is always a hint of rich ethnic undertones, whether it is in the choice of colors, fabric prints, buttons, trims, or other details. I think that part of my design aesthetic comes from my own background and culture,” she states.
For Ms Farooqui the sense of touch is just as important in fashion as is the sense of sight. “Something that is visually appealing can be taken to the next level if interesting textures, subtle or not, are also incorporated in the design.” Creating and manipulating fabrics is something she does very often in her designs. In this current collection for Cugini, one can notice a lot of chiffon braiding details used as belts or trim. And speaking of details, Ms Farooqui loves designing accessories – handbags, belts and jewelry - as well. “I think creating a ‘total head-to-toe look’ is important. It inspires people, shows them a new style. It also allows them to have the freedom to pick and choose what they like and want to wear from that look, and style it in a way that makes it their own.” She has recently started designing and selling Jalabiyas to private clients too, which she says involves a lot of customization “and taking into consideration who you are designing for and what they want. Although jalabiyas are a traditional Arabic garment, I like to experiment with innovative details, embellishments, cuts, and fabrics different from what is available in the market now, giving my clients a one-of-a-kind garment, with a modern twist.”
Growing up, this young woman from India wanted to be everything from a teacher and a pastry chef to a doctor. “But I ended up being a fashion designer. I don’t remember when exactly it struck me that that is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It just happened naturally and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. This is what I was meant to do.” Ms. Farooqui is very grateful to her family, friends and the fashion design faculty at VCUQatar for supporting, encouraging and believing in her all the way. “I still can’t believe that my dream to become a fashion designer is finally coming true!” she exclaims excitedly. Ms Wilkins is certain she’s going to make a name for herself in the world of fashion. “She’s definitely going to make us proud,” she maintains.
Fashion design as a career is still new to the region, but Ms Farooqui would like young people interested in a career as fashion designers to be more spirited and take the leap. “There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you are doing something you are good at, you are passionate about, and that you believe you have something unique to offer in,” she concludes.
Selina Farooqui with her collection at Cugini
Selina Farooqui with her collection at Cugini