This weekend is my best friend's wedding and for those of you who have been following my twitter tweets you'll know the stress I've had trying to find a dress to wear. My dilemma of wanting to look fantastic but not like one of the bridesmaids, led me to conversations with fashion designer, Sabrina Ali of Motasem.
After scouring the high street for a dress and failing miserably, Sabina introduced me to some of her designs, and in doing so, inspired me to think outside of the wedding outfit box and wear a dress, I'd probably wouldn't have opted for.
Motasem was launched in 2007 and has had great success with brides who prefer to buy a simply classic yet contemporary dress - nothing overly extravagant and one that can be worn again after the nuptials. And it's not just brides - many women much like myself are loving her savvy cocktail dresses; pretty enough for a special occasion but equally fitting for after work drinks. Intrigued to know more about the designer behind the brand, I met up with Sabina for a chat about her fashion loves and business.
Sitting in Café Rouge, as she sipped on coffee and I indulged in a little chocolate banana crepe, we candidly discussed how it all started: I learnt that Sabina developed her passion for making clothes from an early age; picking up the skills from her mother who she beams was quite a whiz on the sewing machine. After years of experimenting with cutting patterns and her own clothes, Sabina took her skills to a degree level at DeMontfort University with a course in textile and knitwear.
Interestingly, from there, the path she took in owning her own fashion business was an unconventional one. Previous jobs include working as an editorial and photographer assistant, a fashion stylist and graphic designer at Lehman Brothers for 8 years. Her moment of enlightenment came when she designed a wedding dress for a friend. Sabina told of how difficult the bride had found it to find a dress that was re-wearable and special at the same time. Soon after, the demand for her designs grew, and her quest for launching Motasem was ignited.
Now with a studio in Brick Lane, business is flourishing and Sabina has continued to develop her range of understated sophisticated dresses. When I asked her to pick one piece that she covets the most, she chose the Cecaelia dress; elongating and universally flattering with contrast coloured satin bands. And it's no wonder she chose it, given that it's one the first dresses she made!
My next question to her was whether she had a style muse, which she answered no - but her style crush is Natalie Portman who she described as funny, sassy and confident. "It's women like her that I have in mind when I make my dresses" she considers. She goes on to liken her customers to the girls from Sex in the City but without the frou frou flamboyancy.
So what's next on the agenda for Motasem? There are big plans in store for Autumn 2009. We can expect a limited edition range of day-to-evening dresses, a debut line of accessories and an expanding distributor list. Sabina has already secured distribution with a number of boutiques in the UK for nationwide reach.
It was a really inspiring to meet Sabina and I look forward to wearing one of her creations myself. But for now, here's my pick of day-to-evening Motasem dresses that I'm loving right now:
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