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Bahraini fashion designer Maha Alqassab has been inspired during the Covid-19 crackdown to concentrate on cool casual looks and fabulous fabric printing.
The 30-year-old celebrated creator of the MAW Collection has started to explore new business opportunities to compliment her popular pieces with ready-to-wear options, kaftans and gowns.
“I mostly work on couture, so Covid-19 has affected me in a big way because there have been no weddings or parties for women to attend,” Maha explained. “However, while my couture line was affected, my ready-to-wear line sales have really taken off!
“People are buying a lot of casual pieces to wear at home. Social media has also helped, especially during the time the stores were closed. More people are shopping online so I’ve had to focus on new opportunities.
“I’ve created my own prints on different types of fabrics and even designed a swimwear collection as well. However, I won’t launch the whole collection because of the current situation.
“I have also used this time to expand my team and work on future projects.”
Maha, who designs and produces her collections in Bahrain, recently, hired a designer based in Mexico.
She is also planning on expanding her swimwear and ready-to-wear lines once things return to normal.
“As for the summer, I will be launching a summer collection soon,” she explained. “This is my main focus at the moment.”
Maha advises other designers that may be struggling during this time to try their hands at picking up new skills. She said: “I also got in the mood to design the interior of my own studio during Covid-19 and experiment with designing furniture pieces!
“Also, according to WGSN trend-forecast platform, fitness and sleepwear show the smallest decline in sales. People are moving towards casual lounge wear, so this should be the main focus for designers now.
“For example, if you usually design a summer holiday collection, market the collection by creating the mood for ‘staycations’ and lounging at home.
“Use yourself or anyone at home that can help you to style these outfits and take casual photos at home to give that stay-at-home fashion feel.
“No one is interested in a professional photo shoot at the moment, so don’t waste your time and money on that in my opinion!”
Maha says she got her talent for fashion from her designer mum. She started sewing at the age of 12 and selling her custom-made party dresses and gowns to her friends in high school!
While she doesn’t have a specific target demographic, the majority of her customers are aged from 23 to 40. She is inspired by nature, travelling, paintings furniture and music.
Maha boasts a Bachelor of Arts in business excellence with marketing and a Masters in Fashion Design from The Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing in Florence, Italy.
She worked in fashion marketing for four years before taking the creative career plunge in January to focus on her design business.
People can check out her designs @mawcollection on Instagram.