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Portrait : Ava Hashemi, Designer For Hâshé

Hashe - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai October 2014

Ava Hashemi: « Elegance is the single most stylish and affordable item found in a woman’s closet; it fits all shapes and never gets outdated »

Do you feel that having always been exposed to the Middle-Eastern culture has shaped your design and reflect on your collection ?
Absolutely ! I am constantly consciously or subconsciously inspired by the Middle-Eastern art, culture, and architecture. I believe that the Middle-Eastern culture is most explicitly and candidly expressed in works of Middle-Eastern artists, and that is exactly why we collaborate with different artists every season.

You’ve been sponsored by Moët & Chandon, to showcase your first clothing collection. Same year you got the award for “The Best Upcoming Fashion Designer in New England”. How did you get Moët & Chandon to sponsor your very first collection ?
Two things: Great PR and a strong belief in what I did.

What’s the brand aesthetic?
Simple and chic yet modern and bold.

When did you discover your love of fashion design ?
The first John Galliano for Dior Fashion show that I watched… that was the start of this complicated love/hate affair I have with fashion.

What’s your fashion Mantra ?
Two words: Confidence and comfort. Get rid of it if it has to be worn with spanx.

Tell us about your collection ?
SS15 was heavily inspired by Middle-Eastern architecture; hence all the geometric shapes and mirror-like embroideries.

You started Hâshé, at the age of 19. Initially you designed custom-made clutches, you then decided to extend the label to women’s wear and most recently hats: how did this happen? What were the steps ?
I’m a hyperactive person when it comes to work and of course having graduated from a business school, I’m constantly thinking of different product lines we can introduce to Hâshé or different industries we can involve ourselves with. So it came naturally that I launched the RTW line shortly after launching Hâshé. We are also working to launch our Chapeaux line very soon. So it’s a decision made based on both my business logic and passion for design. I’m not going to lie, it does get overwhelming at times, atleast I’m never bored !

Is your primary ambition to massively expand worldwide or would you rather concentrate your effort on a niche market in the U.A.E ?
I don’t necessarily associate expansion with success. My primary ambition is for more women to feel confidently beautiful and empowered in Hâshé. Expansion can be one way to make that happen.

How would you define your own style ?
It’s funny I seem to be able to define anyone’s style but mine.

What does good design mean to you ?
Right placement of subtle details.

Who do you look up to and what has inspired your work ?
Objects or individuals rarely inspire me. I oftentimes find myself inspired by concepts or theories instead. I have recently been very much inspired by Parviz Tanavoli’s theory where nothingness has infinite layers of meaning. I‘ve translated this into my new collection where a simple garment at first glance, has many subtle complicated details that in reality make that garment very design-heavy.

What do you think about the trend of mixing fashion with design nowadays? Who gains and who looses ?
I think that Fashion industry as a whole can greatly benefit from encouraging and nurturing creativity and innovation in the industry and especially among the designers. Every season we witness collections resembling one another walk down the runways. I think the industry needs more of Lee McQueens and Chalayans. This can only be done by incorporating other areas of design into fashion. It’s a win-win situation!

What part of the world today would you think are the most fertile in terms of development and growth for up and coming designers ?
London I think has a well-established culture of nurturing and supporting up and coming talents. Dubai is another great city where you can get your voice heard as a start up.

How did you celebrate NYE this year ?
I spent it with someone who inspires me on a daily basis!

Where are you planning your next trip ?
If not for work, I would say Japan, Tokyo.

What are the pros and cons of being a UAE-based designer today ?
Many pros, few cons ! Firstly the competition especially within our brand positioning (high-end RTW), is not as saturated as other major fashion capitals in the world. The fashion industry in U.AE is comprised of a tightly knit community of industry icons and players. They are for the most part very helpful and supportive.

The only setback is that international buyers barely travel to U.A.E for buying trips, so as a U.A.E based label, we oftentimes travel to Paris or London to present our collection to the buyers.

What drives you to explore new material or shape?
Curiosity and fear of mediocrity.

On a scale of 1-10 how much of a shopper are you?

Something about you we do not know ?
I’m a certified art critic and the worst singer you’ll ever meet.

What’s your favorite sport?
Horse back riding.