Designing way forward
January 28 2020 10:15 PM

Safiyya Karim, a fashion designer from UK with Indian origin, who has fast been making inroads into the fashion industry of Qatar sees a lot of opportunity in Doha to cement her place as a distinct fashion designer. Her designs are very unique. She adds a quirky edge to her designs to make statement, interesting and elegant pieces. Community recently sat down with the budding designer to talk about how she started designing and where she wants to take it in Qatar.
Safiyya has been living in Qatar for over six years with her husband and two young daughters. She had inherited the interest of fashion from her parents. “My background is in paediatric nursing. I come from a family who loves fashion. My mother used to love to dress me and my two other sisters. My father was in textile design. That is how I developed interest in fabric and designing.”
Saffiya has done professional courses in fashion design besides studying science as her majors. “From a very young age I loved to personalise whatever I used to buy. Tweak a little here and there, add some embellishments and create something unfamiliar to the original. I would see a piece of cloth as a work of art. Initially, I started designing for myself for different occasions, but then after some time my family and friends started to approach me to design something for them.”
In Qatar, the designer was again encouraged by friends to pursue fashion design. “It was in 2017 that a friend of mine who is a blogger asked me to design an outfit for her. I designed an evening gown for her and she wore it to Grazia Style Awards. Everyone appreciated it.
“It really encouraged me. I made a capsule collection in 2019. For the collection, my inspiration was the architecture of Qatar. The collection encapsulated the fluidity of the sea and strong lines and structure of the buildings constructed in bold block colours. Now, I’m working on another collection that is all about femininity – for a strong woman who is fashion conscious and elegant.”
Saffiyya being a Muslim herself is trying to make modest and wearable pieces. “My designs are for the modern women who like to be covered yet wants make a statement.”
Coming from UK and living in Qatar, Safiyya sees the fusion of modernity with traditional silhouettes as an opportunity for herself. “Nowadays, modest wear is everywhere. All the high street brands have got modest fashion designs. I want to tell my clients that you can be modern, classy, and stylish,” she adds, “When it comes to silhouettes and gown designing, I like to make a statement with my personalised approach. People want to be different, they want to make a statement — and that’s what I try to do with my designs.”
“I am trying to be as much sustainable as possible. I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint. I make sure that all my fabrics are sourced locally. This I think sets me aside from others. I use textured fabrics. I look for the stuff that not only looks good but also feels good. I am trying to break the barrier of no pain no gain. I want to assure people that there is gain without pain. The name of my fashion brand is Amaya. I put together names of my two daughters – Ayya and Amira.”
When asked about how to make it big as an entrepreneur. She said, “It is the drive. You have to have the drive to move forward. You have to believe in yourself. You will face many obstacles, but if you do not have the drive, you will not be able to move forward. That is what pushes me every day. My husband is my biggest support. Believe in yourself and other will believe in you, he says to me.”
The designer is upbeat about the prospects of Qatar’s fashion industry. “There is acceptance for new designers. There is more acceptance for local designers. They want to support them. Qatar has actually helped me move further.”

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