Today we meet , Atiyya Laher , born in South Africa and raised in the UAE – a fashion Stylist, designer and blogger
US: Hi Atiyya, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Atiyya: Born in South Africa and raised in the UAE. I grew fond of diversity, change and adventure. I believe firmly in positivity, equality and ambition and feel that trying is the answer to a greater future. Luckily for me I have the greatest support system that is my family, my husband and my friends and they give me my daily dose of motivation that gets through each day.
US: At what age did you start becoming fascinated with fashion?
Atiyya: My mum has always been a major influence in my life when it came to my closet. She was an absolute diva in the fashion department and made sure her daughter followed her footsteps but it was at 18 that I decided why not make a career out of it if I love it so much.
US: Tell us about your fashion designing? Do you still get to design a lot?
Atiyya: Having graduated with a B.A degree in fashion and design I felt my first step to the real world would be to gain experience under the most prestigious designers possible – I’m talking Elie Saab, Proenza Schouler and even Oscar De La Renta. While I do not design full time, I take opportunities to design for friends and family and even potential clients who want something original and specially made. I must boast a little and mention that my greatest achievement this far was designing my wedding dress and my husband’s tux.
US: Where can we view/purchase your designs?
Atiyya: My design portfolio unfortunately is not available for view unless of course you are looking to have something designed. Until I have a steady line up and running, all designs are made especially for my clients and kept for their eyes only. However my styling portfolio is available on my blog – aforatiyya.com and you can reach me on the website at any time.
US: How did you prepare for a career in styling?
Atiyya: Styling has always been an ambition of mine and I was awarded an internship fresh out of my graduation with a luxury boutique. As everyone says you have to start at the bottom and that’s what I did. I wrote articles, copy edited, styled and studio managed as an intern which then grew into an opportunity for me to becoming the new online stylist – I grabbed it with my hands and teeth!
US: How do you stay updated on the current trends?
Atiyya: Trends are one of the most exciting aspects of working in fashion. My most efficient methods lie at the hands of my best friends; fashion magazines. While the street is full of trending ideas, none are official unless they’re in print and shown off at fashion week.
US: How important is Fashion Week for you?
Atiyya: Super duper important! Fashion week defines what your wardrobe is set to look like for the next 6 months and that means shopping! Not only do I spoil myself rotten but it means I get to play style consultant for a whole new set of themes that inspire other people.
US: What is your dream job?
Atiyya: Once I have conquered the fashion world and by that I mean I have gotten my designs across the globe successfully, I would love to teach arts and motivate in the creative world. Education is a gift and I believe it’s the best gift we can impart on our youth.
US: How important is communication between yourself and the photographer that you’ll be working with? What sorts of things do you do to prepare yourself for an upcoming shoot?
Atiyya: Like any team based work there needs to be constant communication and chemistry. Having an open mind and being free to suggestions is key because while you might see an image in a particular way, the photographer might see it in a better perspective. My preparations consist of 3 main things: research, quality check and endless accessory options.
US: Name the top three things in your styling kit that are must-haves?
Atiyya: Pegs, lipstick and a smile.
US: What is most challenging about what you do?
Atiyya: Styling is a very physical job; you are on your feet 24/7, moving from the rail to the set to the model and it requires superior precision. If anything, it keeps my feet moving all the time which means I get to skip leg day at the gym!
US: In addition to designing and styling you also blog. How do you find the time to do all of this and tell us a bit more about the other projects that you are working on.?
Atiyya: Blogging is a recent venture I have come to enjoy and do it purely to share my views on the fashion world. I don’t like routine because I don’t like boredom and the 2 are very closely related for me. I am able to manage the many things I enjoy to do solely because I want to do them – passion is a driving quality that doesn’t let procrastination approach.
US: How would you describe your own personal style?
Atiyya: It really depends on my mood. Some days it’s preppy with a mix and match chic while on others its anything works with everything. I do maintain a certain quality and that is to have really exciting denim!
US: What’s a typical work week like?
Atiyya: A 9 hour day at work, 5 days a week which embodies on set styling and still life styling. Squeezing in a few photography sessions for my own blog here and there which then takes me home to a session of gym, a delicious dinner and skype sessions with family abroad.
US: What do you think will be the big hits fashion wise for next season?
Atiyya: We’ve had velvet make a major comeback this season and I don’t think it’s going leave anytime soon. Also the perfection of ankle boots, white sneakers and off shoulder cuts seem to have devoured the fashion world and I am so excited to see the versions of them being sold in stores soon.
US: Where do you tend to buy your clothes, and why?
Atiyya: I don’t have a flagship store – I look for unique items which define me as a person and this could be found anywhere from Zara to Kate Spade. I tend to do a lot of online shopping at boutiques which hold a variety of brands because hey it’s convenient and I get everything I want all at once.
US: What do you splurge on?
Atiyya: Shoes! We have a serious relationship going on and it’s not one I’m going to give out on soon. You can wear the same outfit twice with a different shoe and it will look totally different!
US: Do shops and advertisers send you samples of their goods to feature?
Atiyya: Some have but I don’t encourage it, nor do I sign up for affiliate programs. I like to speak about items solely on the fact that I love them and not for any form of compensation.
US: Do you have any fashion rules when putting an outfit together?
Atiyya: Always consider proportion play!
US: Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?
Atiyya: The idea that someone who is reading my blog posts are feeling happy, pleased or inspired is all it takes.
US: Who is your fashion inspiration?
Atiyya: Sarah Jessica Parker.
US: What’s your next fashion must have?
Atiyya: Miu Miu’s Satin Ballet Flats – on the top of the list!
US: Who does your amazing photography?
Atiyya: When it comes to style curation and street-style, that is all me but the mastermind behind my portraits is my husband – he sure does have a lot of patience.
US: How many times a week do you post on your blog?
Atiyya: I try to post an article once a week and a flash of inspiration every morning.
US: Where do you see yourself taking your styling career?
Atiyya: Working as a full time stylist has given me the opportunity to become a styling consultant on a free-lance basis. I do hope that from here I could work on the runway, styling for designers back stage and for look-books.
US: What events do you like to be a part of when it comes to designing and styling?
Atiyya: Anything and everything that is new, trending and exciting. Local talent shows, fashion exhibitions and even street-events are always sure to bring colour and is a wonderful place to network.
US: What advice would you give to anyone wishing to pursue this career path?
Atiyya: Don’t give up. You will always find someone better than you – learn from them. Someone will always tell you it’s not good enough – work harder. There will always be a difficult challenge – conquer it!
US: Your message for 2017 is…….
Atiyya: Just because you’re not ready, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Follow Atiyya on : www.aforattiya.com