REEMA AL BANNA DISCUSES WHY HER BRAND REEMAMI IS DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING ELSE IN THE REGION AND HOW SHE PLANS TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
Reema Al Banna founder of Reemami developed her UAE-based brand to find a way of bringing together her background in graphic design and her love for fashion.
Al Banna loves to explore new cuts, volumes and materials with her designs that are known for their unusual and stand-out features. She’s not afraid to experiment and is determined to defy the stereotype of Arab designs with something modern and unique. Reemami’s latest spring/summer 2019 collection is the designer’s first foray into floral prints.
The bright and colourful collection is taking the brand’s signature style to the next level with new shapes, styles and combinations of materials. Here we discuss with Al Banna why being a female designer in the Arab world is such a great achievement.
What would you say sets Reemami apart from other Middle Eastern designers?
At Reemami we like to tell the stories of experiences that we’ve been through. We like to incorporate daily life, passions and activities in our collections. Every season we tell a story of a new sport, hobby or passion that I’m going though at the time and we want to be a positive influence on people by inspiring them to pursue their own passion and hobbies. We visualise and sketch our own prints, and tell stories through them. We love experimenting, innovating and coming up with new textures, fresh silhouettes, and mixed medias or materials to create our final products.
What are the challenges that you face as an Arab designer?
The fact that we are based in Dubai means that we have to travel to fashion week every season to meet buyers both from The Middle East and internationally. This is a small challenge but otherwise as an Arab designer there are a lot of opportunities here in the region.
How did you come to start your brand?
Starting Reemami as a brand here was the biggest opportunity. It began when I applied to a design a dress competition, which then encouraged me to start my own label. At the time I had no business plan, just start, and find a way to make it work!
What can we expect to see from you SS19 collection?
Reemami’s Spring Summer 19 Prismatic Fields collection showcases an array of floral prints envisioned through kaleidoscopic goggles. The collection embodies everything from seasonal trendy prints, to our signature silhouettes. It’s the first time I am working with florals that are true to Reemami’s fashion aesthetics of edgy and cool. All of the prints were hand-sketched, developed and paired with scribbles and rainbows to make florals edgy. Whilst the collection is feminine, all the pieces have an edge, from the biker shorts to the unique tailored pieces and finally to our signature work with buckles and iridescent buttons. Finally, in this collection we also introduce our first swimwear pieces and bodysuits, which came from my love for watersports and the need for trendy swimsuits.
Who is the woman that your design for?
My woman has a fun, optimistic, playful character. She loves fashion, and loves a unique statement piece. She pays attention to the smallest details.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From my hobbies, passions, and life, and most importantly from my customers.
How do you think the brand has evolved since it began?
It’s been an interesting journey to finally be able to combie my background in graphic design and fashion design in one brand. Over the years we have introduced new fabrics and techniques and of course we are introducing a swimwear line this season, so lots of developments. Today we are able to reach and be available in so many more outlets in the world.
And where would you like to be with Reemami in five year’s time?
I would like to have reached a wider audience and new markets, as well as created collections that captivate the viewers and make a difference in their world.
What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Just got for it, and take risks!
How important do you think the role of social media is in the fashion industry today?
It’s very important as you can have a relationship directly with your consumer. It allows you to gain first-hand feedback and promote your favourite items directly to the customer you want to reach.
What would you like to see as the future of the industry in this region?
I would like to see a stronger community that supports local art, culture and fashion. Today in the region there ae so many new small businesses starting up, so many dreams, and visions which need to be supported by the local communities.
Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your designs?
I strive to get Reemami on the woman who loves to have fun dressing up, and really appreciates the work and tailoring that goes into our collections.
What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
There are a lot of exciting things coming up. New collections, new stories, and always new introductions to the collections, stay tuned!
Describe your office space.
So many white tables, always scattered with sketches of the upcoming collections. There are moodboards stuck on every wall there is. It is a little messy, and somewhat unorganized.
What is the motto that you live by?
Go with your gut every time, and think positive. Your world is your vision! Attract positivity with your positive thoughts.
Where would you most like to travel to in the world right now?
I would love to go to Hawaii to surf.
Are you currently reading a book?
I have around five books next to my bed waiting to be read! I’m currently reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”. Recently I have been listening to a lot of podcasts. I love “How I Built This”, “The End of the World”, “Stuff you Should Know” and “99% Invisible”.
Complete this sentence: I’m happy when…
I’m surfing, being active outdoors, and when I see my designs come to life.
Describe your style.
Comfortable and chic
And how would you sum up Reemami in one sentence?
Reemami is all about telling stories of the present, future and past.