Between working on her eponymous collection, and homeschooling her children, Bahrain-based fashion designer Deema Ajlani has somehow discovered the luxury of time, and tells Grazia readers to hang in there.
How are you finding the transition to a new way of working/life?
I’m currently in the brainstorming stages of my next collection, so working from home has not been that challenging with regards to Deema Ajlani, the brand. Since life has slowed down its pace, there is less going on and more time for reflection and creativity, so it has been a welcome change in a sense. The homeschooling, however is a different story altogether. While it is absolutely amazing to be spending so much time with my children, this massively impacts my day as a designer, and as a result the working days are shorter and incredibly tiring, especially since the start of Ramadan. Children’s body clocks don’t observe Ramadan hours!
What have been the biggest challenges?
Moving from a design phase to a manufacturing phase is obviously impossible right now and the whole industry is implicated by this issue, none more so than SMEs who work to a completely different supply chain model than the larger international brands. Sustaining the business and selling current stock is also obviously much harder, as people are not shopping as much in these very uncertain times, which is normal. So reaching the consumer and speaking to our clients has naturally taken a different direction. We are still navigating this part and it’s been interesting to see the many ways that are becoming available for brands to reach their customers, most of them digital.
What has been the most pleasant surprise?
For me it has been the luxury of time. We’ve finally been able to stop, to reflect and to plan, whereas before life was so fast paced and almost impossible to keep up with. Having more time to spend at home, with my children, to design, to take care of my body and my mind has been something I will always treasure from this experience.
What are your hopes for the future?
I do hope that we are not quick to forget this absolutely unprecedented and devastating moment in human history. The world needs to collectively and consciously make changes moving forward, so that we can recover from this globally and thrive in the future. I hope that fashion in particular slows down its frenzied pace as creativity takes time and is often stunted and limited by so many constraints. From designing, manufacturing, the supply chain, buying, selling, social media, e-commerce: there are so many challenges that face us as designers and the pressure is immense. So, a step back and a slow down is much needed, especially with regards to becoming more sustainable as an industry.
What message do you have for Grazia readers?
To stay positive, stay optimistic and always try and see the silver lining in these difficult times. We have been given a moment, albeit it unexpectedly, to reflect. Hopefully this will empower us to make changes for the better, once we overcome this crisis. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity,” so hang in there! I truly believe that better days are ahead of us.
Photos: Courtesy of Deema Ajlani