We recently spoke to the lovely and talented Suraya Mahumed, the woman behind Nahda Designs and Relief on the Runway, a charity fashion event. She told us more about her new collection and the experience of showcasing during New York Fashion Week, which was held in September.
You have showcased your new collection during Relief on the Runway at New York Fashion Week, how was the experience of being part of a major fashion week like this for the first time?
Showing during New York Fashion Week was a life-changing experience, one that I am personally so grateful to God for. There’s nothing quite like it to be honest, the entire industry is a well oiled machine and it’s all so fast paced. Some people live for that type of rush, as for me, being the Californian that I am, I felt enough stress to last a lifetime! You really have to be prepared for just about anything when it comes to New York Fashion Week, but you find that you can pretty much handle any show once you get NYFW right.
You organize the event ‘Relief on the Runway ‘ annually, could you tell us more about this event?
Relief on the Runway started out as a one-time fashion showcase in 2011 and it has expanded into an exclusive annual charity fashion event. The goal is to bring about awareness of worthy causes while building bridges through fashion.
We are very curious to know more about your NYFW collection!
My “Dream” Collection is my first venture into eveningwear. It incorporates a lot of old world subtle drama, it’s simple chic. I focused on the cut of the dresses and that is what makes them breathtaking. The “Reine” and the “Nuit Astre” empire waist evening gowns have a strip of pleated chiffon that goes down the center, creating a graceful flow. I couldn’t help but fall in love with pleats and lace this season.
Compared to earlier creations from Nahda Designs, with this collection you went into a whole new direction. Is this a permanent change of styles?
It definitely is a new direction for me, a side of myself I was too apprehensive to share with the world before. For years, I have been loyal to the market that made Nahda Designs what it is today, but deep down I always knew I’d end up here. My husband gave me the confidence last winter when he happened to look through my sketchbook, he didn’t understand why I didn’t pursue what I’m most passionate about. He always encourages me and I love that about him masha’Allah.
What fabrics do you enjoy working with for your designs?
As much as I want to delve into eco-friendly fabrics, which is something I am actively working towards, as of now I’m obsessed with embroidered lace and tulle.
Who is this new collection aimed at?
The leading woman in all of us, the fearless woman that isn’t afraid to start something new. She’s strong and feminine, dreams big and is passionate about helping others, she succeeds because she isn’t afraid to fail. She thinks for herself and answers to God alone, she’s an everyday hero.
A lot of fashion designers have a celebrity muse, who would you like to dress?
Kate Middleton! I would absolutely love to see her in the “Nuit Astre” empire waist evening gown. I think she would look stunning and elegant in just about anything, she’s definitely every designer’s celebrity muse!
Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment that we should know about?
Currently, just working on launching the new store. There is something fun in the works that’s centered around fashion and styling, but it’s more of a long term project that will reveal itself in 2015 insha’Allah. Wherever God takes me is where I go!
Take a look at a few designs from the new Nahda Designs collection in our gallery. We are very fond of the tulle, pink maxi-skirt combined with a white dress with long, lace sleeves and the blue number is a lovely gown for a luxurious evening out. The use of lace is beautifully incorporated into the designs. Let us know which gown you love best!
For more information about Nahda Designs read our article: https://thefashionorientalist.com/2013/05/20/hijab-fashion-designer-brand-nahda-designs/
Or visit their website: nahdadesigns.com/
Relief on the Runway: http://reliefontherunway.com/
Photography by Phelan Marc (1-3)