‘Simplicity Is The Best Outfit’ – Shafi

How it all began:

‘It all started while I was in school. Grade 9 – if I remember correct. I grew up seeing my mom and sister stitching. I think that’s probably how I developed an interest towards it. I always looked for ways in which I can be a bit more creative in styling and fashion. It was interesting and I was slowly becoming very passionate about it. I first started doing dresses for my classmates. I was so young then but I think that’s where people started getting to know about me. In time, I was able to do a dress for the cover girl model on a new video CD which was released then. It was common during those days and I was very pleased with the opportunity.’

The process and greatest inspirations:

‘There came a break in between. It was only during 2012 when I started all over again with fashion designing as a career. I realized how much I wanted to do fashion designing. I have been putting more and more effort in to this and started investing my time on it since then. I feel like I’m inspired daily with a lot around me. And I’ve really been enjoying it till today. But I think it’s safe to say that my mom and sister have been the greatest inspiration for me. I mean, I started with the very old machineries from back in the days which belonged to my mom. I was so keen on learning from her but later on got self-taught with more techniques.’

Achievements and milestones:

‘During the past years, I’ve contributed to the industry by taking part in various fashion events. I think bride show and designer week are my main highlights. The experience I gain from it and how much I learn can never be put in words. And the love that I receive. Currently, I am more focused in creating beautiful pieces for the ones wearing hijab. I really want to make a difference for the ones wearing the hijab. Two collections have already been out in collaboration with Hijab Maldives. I see that as one of my main accomplishments so far.

Personal favorite:

‘Bank of Maldives Annual Award Ceremony night. A girl came to me wanting to make her dress for this event and was completely clueless about what exactly she wants. Got me thinking and finally had a design sketched. I was so satisfied with the end product. I think that was my best and most favorite work, personally.’

‘It’s always a delight to know that your customer is happy with your work. Usually, my designs speak of simplicity. To me, simplicity is about elegance and class. It is simply the best outfit one can wear. I think the simpler it gets, the more beautiful you look. But I do absolutely love doing all sorts of time consuming work which can be very exhausting. I mean, I can never say no to lace working or just sitting the entire day trying to perfect some hand embroidery. I really do find joy in doing all that too.’

Future goals:

‘I aspire to be able to own a place where you can come in to not only pick up your outfit, but to walk out perfectly dressed and ready for the occasion or event. I’ve always had a spot for make-up and hijab styling. Beauty all in one, to be honest. Of course, I dream big too. Maybe not now, but soon. I do know I will work towards achieving all of it in the coming days, gradually.

‘I am fully responsible for my work. If the client seems to be even a little bit dissatisfied, I ensure I get it fixed right on time. I’ve also been doing well with time ever since the beginning. My clients are very confident that I will finish on time. That’s probably one reason why I’ve been maintaining my regular clients. It really is a good feeling too.’

Fashion Scene in the Maldives:

‘I get very thrilled to see people so enthusiastic and keen towards the fashion scene here in the Maldives now. Things have been improving and it really is so much better now. Sense of hijab styling in most girls are so good these days it genuinely makes me so happy. It’s evident that we have so many new comers into this industry with real passion and they all deserve a hearty welcome. But if I’m to ever pass a piece of advice to anyone, I probably would want to ask them to never give the chance of humiliating yourself or your model. Give it your best shot and design accordingly to what’s best for the model. It’s crucial to make use of your skills and keep improving every day, really. I’ve a bunch of people who I have the utmost respect towards in this industry too. To name a few, I always thought Shamla’s designs are so perfectly done. And it is so nice to see young faces like Raidha reaching new levels too. With sincere interest, anyone can really do this!’

Last words:

‘Fashion designing is also about a lot of time, effort and dedication. It’s definitely not an easy job. It gets tiring at times but this has always been so close to my heart. I feel it’s a must for me to at least do a little bit of work almost every day. I’ve received an enormous amount of great love and support throughout from both family and friends. But there’s no one like my husband. I’m here today all because of him. He never failed to be there for me and I’m forever grateful for that.’


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