Shopping Unlike contacted us for an interview to feature on their international website. We are happy to be featured as an online fashion ‘discovery’. Get to know The Fashion Orientalist by reading the interview below:
(Original interview: http://www.shoppingunlike.com/fashion-from-the-east-meets-fashion-from-the-west/)
Fashion from the East Meets Fashion fom the West
Soraya has always loved writing and decided to start with her website The Fashion Orientalist after she graduated from university. Here she presents different styles of fashion from the orient without being judgmental and writes several well-researched articles about designer fashion by new and established designers from India and the Middle East. She usually adds her own view and personal fashion experiences to the articles she writes. The thing that Soraya loves the most is writing about ‘hybrid fashion’ – fashion from the East meeting fashion from the West. She wants people to get inspired by oriental design and broaden their horizons.
Shoppingunlike: What is your website about?
Soraya: The Fashion Orientalist is a place where I share designer fashion by new and established designers from India and the Middle East. I engage with the designers I personally love, I get to know more about their brands and my website also introduces me to new designers and brands to write about. I make sure to share my personal views and personal fashion experiences with my readers. My aim is to present the best of oriental fashion. To show fashion from all around the world, because it’s very diverse, I cover every aspect of the fashion industry; from fashion photographers to clothing designers, accessories, beauty, you name it.
Shoppingunlike: How did you come up with the name for your website? What was your inspiration?
Soraya: I read this interesting journal by Edward Said on orientalism once. Orientalism is quite a broad term and can be defined or interpreted in different ways. From a cultural studies perspective ‘orientalism’ is how the ‘west’ portrays the ‘east’. So an orientalist would be a scholar of oriental studies, someone who studies the orient. Since my website is about oriental fashion, ‘The Fashion Orientalist’ seemed like a perfect fit.
Shoppingunlike: Why did you start your website?
Soraya: Designers like Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad and Naeem Khan do amazingly well in the world of fashion today and have an impressive celebrity clientele. These are designers from an oriental background who design contemporary fashion and are internationally known. Fashion labels like Chanel and Marchesa have designed collection pieces in the past that were inspired by Indian fashion. Fashion is just very global and I felt there weren’t many websites speaking about oriental fashion as a whole.
I’ve always loved to write, at some point I even wanted to write romantic comedy novels as a teenager. After graduating university I had the time to set up my website, so I decided to go for it. I feel quite ambitious when it comes to my website. I’ve had so many great reactions from my readers and from the designers I write about, this type of support is amazing. I hope it keeps on growing, so I get to share more fashion stories with my readers.
Shoppingunlike: Where does the inspiration for your posts come from?
Soraya: I make sure I do my research when writing about the designers and brands that I love. I make sure to add in my own views and my own personal fashion experiences. Sometimes when I am researching a designer, I get inspired. For example, when I read about a designer’s collection inspired by art I feel obliged to share some of my art ‘knowledge’ or my own experiences with art. I am not a personal style blogger nor am I a fashion critic, I simply want to present different styles of fashion from the orient, without being judgmental. I want people to read the articles and enjoy the images and feel inspired by oriental design. To broaden their horizons.
Shoppingunlike: Describe your website in 3 words.
Oriental, diverse and fun.
Shoppingunlike: What is your favorite topic to write about?
Soraya: ‘Hybrid fashion’. I am not sure anyone has ever used this term before, but I like to think of it as fashion from the ‘east’ meeting fashion from the ‘west’, or the other way around. In Indian fashion they call it Indo-Western design if I am correct. I love it when I get in touch with designers who are inspired by oriental fashion or who want to combine cultural elements with modern silhouettes. To draw inspiration from different cultures and incorporate it all into one design seems very creative to me. It also makes me enthusiastic because I am from a Dutch/Asian background, so I love to combine different styles and use my knowledge of different cultures to my advantage.
Shoppingunlike: What is your most favourite item you have ever bought?
Soraya: I am a big fan of high heeled boots, and I got this black, leather pair in London during a designer sale at a department store in 2007. I’m used to wearing high heels, but these were a lot higher than I was used to, so I was struggling at first. I love them, they are great for the winter. I don’t wear them often to be fair, but when I do, it is like they add that little bit of extra sex appeal. I love shoes.
Shoppingunlike: What is this year’s ‘must have’?
Soraya: The year has not ended yet and I do not want to name the ‘must have’ item of the year and then miss out on any autumn/winter collections that are still coming up. I will pick a must have for the summer. I really like the crop tops, very nineties. I know a lot of people aren’t a big fan of them, but we all go to the gym and spend several hours a week doing crunches and sit ups, so it is nice to be able to show off your abs this summer. It is great for the beach or when you go to a festival.
Shoppingunlike: Who is your favorite designer?
Soraya: Lebanese designer Elie Saab is one of my all time favorite designers. He makes fairytales come to life on the runway. His gowns are stunning. Some of his designs remind me of both Arabic and Indian gowns. My favorite Indian designer would be Manish Malhotra, I have admired his work ever since I was a little girl watching Bollywood movies. I love his use of color, whether it’s bright neons or soft pastels. He designs both traditional gowns and modern pieces, which I love. My blog is introducing me to many talented designers as well, so my list of favorites is growing.
Shoppingunlike: What is your favorite shopping/fashion city?
Soraya: London, United Kingdom. I’ve lived in London for a little while; it is like my second home. I love the designer shops at Bond street, browsing the shops at Oxford street, I’ve spend a lot of time in department stores like Selfridges and Harrods. There are so many great brands in London, there is a lot of diversity. I love Paris as well.
Shoppingunlike: Can you give any tips to people who want to start a blog or website?
Soraya: First of all find your fashion niche, find a topic you know a lot about. It makes the process of researching or finding inspiration a lot less complex. You are going to be writing a lot of articles so if you lack the interest and passion for the topic you are writing about, you’ll run out of ideas very quickly. I am fairly new to blogging, so I am learning a lot about blogging myself as I go. Just be creative, enthusiastic, passionate and curious at all times!