Razan Alazzouni has always taken an artist’s approach to fashion and an almost academic critique in her understanding of how clothing and human expression relate to each other. Alazzouni says this began as a passive interest in fashion during childhood which ‘swivelled and changed direction hundreds of times’. One day, mulling over a collection of her paintings and sculptures that she had completed at art school in Boston, she found a common theme in her art work. ‘I dabbled in so many different mediums that it became very hard to define what kind of an artist I wanted to be. Then I came to a realisation that changed my course yet again. Everything I painted, drew, or sculpted was related in one way or another to fashion, the female form, light and shadows. So that is how I started out,’ she says.
This she incorporated into her portfolio, manufacturing a handmade dress from paper for her graduation project and so impressed was one spectator, that she asked Alazzouni to design a dress for her to wear for a Vanity Fair New Year’s party. ‘I guess you can say my journey in fashion all started with my first commissioned dress. It is what led me to start my brand and translate my art into fashion.’
Based in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, her brand Razan Alazzouni has gained huge credence for its individual character which incorporates Middle Eastern embellishments into an expressive, artistic framework.
Her latest collection is created from airy materials and fixed metals which she believes creates a symbiosis between the contrasting textures of smooth silky surfaces and structured solidity. ‘All my embroidery and my beading is done in-house so these are exclusive styles to my brand and also the quality of the fabrics is of the highest standards. The idea is to create couture grade clothing that you can find in a store. I think that is what sets it apart from other brands.’ It has also allowed Alazzouni to incorporate Saudi traditions into her work, but still retain an individual voice which keeps the designs thoroughly contemporary. ‘But culture is what drives my inspiration,’ she says.
Alazzouni believes that the region fosters an inspirational environment for designers willing to show ‘hard work and determination.’ She says, ‘the thing about the Middle East is that artistically driven industries are all still relatively new here. So the region stands as the perfect environment to break free and creates institutes that support these drives. The rules are not set in stone so there is a lot of room for creativity.’
Where did you study?
I didn’t study fashion design
Famous brands you’ve worked with?
Designing for how many years?
Translating what is in my head into wearable clothing.
Where are your designs most popular?
Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
12 month plan?
To produce two new collections and gain more awareness.
Who’s the next ‘one-to-watch’?
Sarah Baadrani, her Fall 2012 collection is beautiful