A Conversation with Madiyah Al Sharqi

by Yalda Zacca
We sat down with Emirati fashion designer Madiyah Al Sharqi as she explains her latest collection, the inspiration behind it, and her exciting new partnership with Moda Operandi - making her the first Emirati designer to be featured on the website. Al Sharqi's modern yet feminine style has made her a fixture in the Middle Eastern fashion scene. Her latest collection features a mix of statement pieces set in a romantic pastel palette with flowing sheer and lace fabrics. 

You are already selling at Boutique 1 and Symphony in Dubai and you have been showing in Paris for several years. How do you think selling on Moda Operandi will differ or benefit you?
My collections are currently stocked at Sauce, Symphony and SAKS which is amazing for my brand. Being on Moda Operandi is another huge milestone for my career as the collection will be visible on such an important portal to a global audience.

Being the first UAE designer to be featured on Moda Operandi is no small feat, how does it feel to be in with the likes of highly acclaimed international up and coming designers like Delpozzo?
I definitely feel incredibly honored to be on the same pedestal as renowned designers such as Delpozzo. It’s a tangible way of making me see how much my brand has grown and is growing.
How do you think your designs will be perceived outside of the Middle East?
Looking at the success I’ve had in the Middle East, I’m hoping that internationally people will appreciate my collection too.  I feel my collection is suitable for all markets.
Do you see a need in the market for high-end designs?
I always see a need for high-end designs - everyone wants to feel special and dressing in high-end designs gives you that vibe.
What markets are you most eager to tap into?
I don’t have a specific market in mind -  preferably I would want any type of woman to find something suitable to wear within my collections.
Being a Sheikha and the daughter of an Emirati Sheik, you grew up surrounded with high fashion. How do you think your upbringing affected your style and your perspective on fashion?
I grew up exposed to fashion and design thanks to my very stylish mother. I wanted to follow her footsteps which I did and this really affected my style and triggered my passion for fashion.
Your designs are always elegant and often feature lace and embroidery – do you think they can be worn easily from day to night or are they exclusive to eveningwear and occasionwear?
All of my collections have always been a mixture of contemporary wear and eveningwear. I like to provide my clientele with a range of options so I’m not restricted as a designer. At the same time, there are many pieces in the collection that can actually be transformed from daywear to eveningwear depending on how you style it.
You Spring 2015 collection is ultra feminine and very romantic. You use soft shades like pastels and neutrals, is that a signature for you or do you vary depending on your inspirations?
Unintentionally pastels have become a signature for my brand but it’s honestly just the past two seasons that I’ve loved working with this particular colour palette. It’s very fresh and feminine, a color my clientele really seem to like too.
I’ve noticed that you use sheer paneling in this collection and previous ones, what is it about the transparent fabric that interests you?
I enjoy working with transparent fabrics because everyone perceives my collections as very feminine, and by adding a transparent element it become quite edgy and daring.

How does your country inspire you?
I usually get inspired when I travel but at the same time I like to merge Eastern influences with Western influences. As an Arab woman, I always ensure that my designs are appropriate for Arab women but at the same time I also try to eliminate the stereotype.

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