‘I’ve been designing for a very long time but I never realised it. My mum would make our clothes when we were children; really beautiful dresses for my sister and I,’ Polka Dot Cat owner and designer Rana Jamshed remembers. ‘Over the years growing up in Dubai I didn’t have many options in terms of retail but I did in terms of textiles so what we used to do what buy fabrics and design our clothes.’ It was only after a decade long career in private equity that she took design seriously.
She was inspired by the architecture and interior design she came across whist working on hotel renovations in her previous career life, and this helped plant the first seeds in her mind that fashion could be her calling. ‘I always wanted to be in that field, of creativity, but I wasn’t sure exactly what is specifically was.’
One day Rana attended a fashion show and unknowingly showed an attendee a couple of her dress designs. All of sudden, she says, they were being paraded on the runway. ‘Everyone was asking where they can find them from. There were a lot of signs like this before I said to myself enough is enough I need to start something.’ That something was Polka Dot Cat which started life three years ago and from the start she spread her sights on a global audience rather than a local one. The UAE-based label that is something of a modern take on romance which takes form in everything from the elegant to the playful, which does include the occasional polka dot design. It’s a universal message she wants to spread about bringing back elegance and femininity into simple dress designs that should resonate with any woman interested in fashion.
Asia, Europe and recently been concentrating her efforts on collaborating boutiques in the Middle East with a multi-brand exclusive feel. Exhibiting her work to an international audience has been fundamental to shaping her brand, which she says leans a more European edge. This exposure has also helped her constantly address the needs of the market and adjust her designs to taste, in particular taking a more conservative approach to some of her current designs for the GCC region. Likewise she understands the diversity of her competitors too. ‘Everyone out there is talent and you can never say you are better than anyone else, but what makes me different is that I am going back to classic rather than funky.’ She says she wants to bring back the idea of dress that you can accessorise or not but most importantly for Jamshed is being at a place where she can bring her designs ‘back to simple.’
Where did you study?
Mostly from my mother, but also London Fashion School.
Famous brands you’ve worked with?
I would love to work with DVF – she is my ultimate super woman.
Designing for how many years?
As a profession 4, as a hobby forever.
Fit, fabric and design.
Where are your designs most popular?
So hard to say, retail really fluctuates.
12 month plan?
Who’s the next ‘one-to-watch’?
Polka Dot Cat