Artist Profile: Hala Sabbagh, Designer
As an artist who uses a variety of mediums in expression, I have a strong passion, and appreciation, for other artists who are taking the initial steps to follow their dreams. Since the conception of Dressed to Death, I've known that I wanted to include a segment that highlighted these artists- hence, the birth of 'Artist Profiles'. I believe that every artist embodies three common characteristics- a background story, a unique source of inspiration, and a dream that is built upon passion. When asked to participate as a guest judge at Dar Al Fikr, I was informed that it was because there would be a specific young lady who would be presenting her project related to fashion design. As a firm believer in the idea that 'all things happen for a reason', discovering this designer who embodies such passion, and vision, was clearly meant to be. With that being said, it is an honor to introduce to you a talented up-and-coming designer by the name of Hala Sabbagh.
Tell me a bit about yourself!
My name is Hala Sabbagh, I’m 18 years old, and a high school graduate from Dar Al Fikr School. I have a great passion for fashion design, and so at the age of 17, I decided that I should do something about it! I created a fashion line as my graduation project- Lychee.
When did your interest in fashion design initially ‘begin’?
Since I was a little girl, I would always find myself cutting pieces from my wardrobe that I didn’t like. Even half of my crop tops were cropped by me (queue the laughter)- I always liked wearing pieces that had my own 'personal touch' to them.
What would you consider your biggest inspirations in terms of your design aesthetic?
I’m mainly inspired by the ‘vintage feel’ that I get from a garment. So, I tend to include a ‘vintage touch’ in all of my garments. Also, I like seeing unusual colors and touches of modernity in a garment, so I think that colors are my second inspiration.
When you envision the woman that you're dressing, who is she?
She is a young woman who is willing to take a risk in choosing her wardrobe. She is confident enough to stand out with her wardrobe, and not think twice about choosing a bright colored piece, instead of a normal colored piece- which, is what i noticed most girls my age pick out when they go out shopping.
What are your plans for the future of Lychee?
For Lychee, I will continue to produce collections, which will be mainly inspired by new and unusual colors. I want to produce three sizes of one design, only because I want the woman who is going to wear it, to feel very special, unique, and to stand out. Since I’m entering university next year, I’ll be creating (roughly) one collection each year, consisting of ten to twenty pieces. Then, in the future, I want to create summer and winter collections, but for the time being, I don’t think I’ll have the time to create more than one collection a year.
Looking back at the process of launching your first collection, what was your favorite part- from the initial conception of designs to the official debut?
Apart from seeing my designs become a reality, I was ecstatic when my sponsorship requests were accepted. One of my four sponsorships was an offer- so that was amazing. Also, I was very happy when I was asked to help sponsor a charity fashion event by AlHamraa School, by providing garments from my collection, which gave me my own segment in the show.
A piece from your wardrobe that you would find it difficult to live without?
I think my purple and navy maxi sheer skirt with a hint of a floral pattern. I can dress it down to go to the beach, or dress it up to go to a party. I love pieces that are versatile in style- just like Lychee’s pistachio dress with the removable collar. You can wear it with the collar for something more formal, or you can simply take the collar off and go to a party that has a cocktail dress code.
Do you have a quote, or mantra, that you try to live your life by?
“Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” -George Bernard Shaw
In terms of style, who is your biggest icon?
Blake Lively. I love her style in, and out, of Gossip Girl. I would also love to meet Gossip Girl’s stylist- the clothes, the jewelry, and the shoes- everything is perfect!
A bit of advice for other young, aspiring fashion designers?
I advise aspiring designers to get as many opinions as they can, but let the final decision be their own. Looking back, they will be happy that every decision made was their own, and they would know that they wouldn’t change anything. Also, don’t expect your first collection, or event, to be a huge success- even the world’s most renowned designers are still learning!
Anything else you would like to add?
Honestly, I am very thankful that I received this much recognition just from doing my first collection. Many people have told me that at this age, people do many things, but that gaining recognition is difficult. Also, no matter where I go after this first step, I will be very thankful towards Ms. Jeanie Bzoo from Dar Al Fikr, for pushing me towards my dream. Actually, for pushing every senior student of Dar Al Fikr towards their dreams. I’ve noticed that most of the graduates from Dar Al Fikr actually pursue a career that includes their graduation project as being the first step- such as Lace Events by Sarah Al Dabbagh.
Follow Hala Sabbagh on her journey!
Special thanks to local businesses who support local artists! Graceful sponsors of Lychee by Hala Sabbagh include the following:
Cream Boutique - Jeddah
Lillian Ismael's Jewelry - Jeddah
TONI&GUY - Jeddah
Nusha's Pastry - Jeddah