THE VIEW: Fatam Gargash

The ambitious co-founder of fledgling U.A.E. fashion brand House of Fatam (HOF) on her love of bling, launching her first label and signature reversible robes.

Fatam Gargash
By Claire Carruthers
Nov 04, 2013

You launched HOF with your two sisters, Shaima and Lamya – tell me a bit about your roles within the business.
Each of our roles is related to our expertise. I actually started the brand two years ago whilst studying at Esmod [International Fashion Institute]. I love fashion and as cheesy as it sounds, it truly is my life. My sisters have a great sense of style so the three of us working together only means a stronger and more diverse brand – but we also have very different approaches: Shaima goes for the sophisticated, chic look while Lamya is more into vintage and the whole Fifties era. I on the other hand, love bling, fur and six-inch heels. [Laughs.]

Given you all have such different tastes, do you ever disagree over the direction in which to take HOF?
Yes, and I think it’s normal to have arguments and disputes. In the end, we reach a solution that appeals to us all. Initially, we may not always like what someone else suggests but in the end we understand why it works.

What are HOF’s signatures?
Two words come to mind for me: Elegant and experimental. Our key pieces are our line of reversible abayas, jackets and robes. I think every designer is an individual who showcases his or her personal abilities, styles, moods and ideas in differing ways.

You presented for the first time during Season Two of Fashion Forward (FFWD) – for a start-up label that’s quite a big step.
It was a chance to introduce who we are and what we are all about to the fashion world – who knows what other great opportunities will come our way through this. It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time but I’m positive and confident in ‘us’ and our vision.

Tell me about the collection.
It’s all about prints meshed with jewel-tone fabrics, our signature reversibles and lots of dresses and skirts. The collection is sophisticated, versatile and fun but still has an Arabic touch to it.

Thinking about the international design stage, who do you admire?
Balmain, Miu Miu, Alessandra Rich, Acne, Mary Katrantzou – the list is endless. But it’s not who you wear, but how you wear it.

What drives you mad?
There have been a lot of ups and downs and having full-time jobs can complicate things; scheduling the time to oversee our fashion initiative can be a headache – it could be weeks before we have a day off. So stress and worry, I guess. But it’s all worth it.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Well, I would have loved to work with Stephen Sprouse.

What do you want to achieve in fashion?
To be recognized, loved and respected, and to be able to deliver our creative message to the world.