Fashion makes a statement, which is why Caroline Yassa creates dresses to fit every personality - from princess to punk, and everything in between. Mariam Raymone sits down with the aspiring designer to talk expression, intentions, and how hard it is to deal with women.
The fashion design world is constantly changing and, with the new trend of wearing local, Caroline Yassa is one of the aspiring young designers to keep your eye on. But, hold up, there’s a catch - a good one, at least: all of Yassa's designs are handmade and customised, so for all you big booty gurls, dem dresses will make you look fine as hell. Or, you know, the girls with no bums whatsoever who want to appear as though they have a Beyonce booty. They say your clothes reflect who you are and, indeed, 'tis true child; Yassa lets you choose how you want your clothes to say something about who you are. I have personally witnessed her create breathtaking dresses, especially bridal gowns, which will truly make you feel like a princess, others which ooze sex appeal, and others yet that are edgy and eclectic. Sitting down with the up-and-coming designer, here's what Caroline Yassa had to say:
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I never expected all of this; I started sketching designs ever since I was a little girl, just like any other girl in school with her colouring book. As I grew up, my parents started to push me to pursue my designs and learn all about haute couture. They always encouraged me to turn my sketches into an actual product, especially because I love the whole crafting process. I was in Grade 9 when I took my first nine-month couture course. I used to create simple pieces for myself without thinking that I could make a career out of it.
What are your inspirations for your designs?
I get inspired by different things, and each collection and dress is inspired by something special. Right now, most of the work is custom-made based on the clients; each girl has a story, and that’s why I get to know the clients first. I also ask them who they want to be in the event; does she want to be the social butterfly? Or does she want to be the sexy one, or the cute one? I reflect her personality in their dress, which is why I sit down with the girl and understand who she is before I create her dress.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe it as being a tool to describe my clients’ identity, and how they want people to perceive them. People constantly check and follow trends blindly, therefore, I don’t want to be a trendsetter. I want people to express themselves through what they wear. The first thing you base your judgment upon is a person’s outfit. The first thing I learned in college is that, when you create a product, you have to send a message; I am merely a tool for people to send their own message.
How do you select the materials you use?
Each design needs a certain material; if I want to show something soft and cute, such as an engagement dress, for instance, I would use lace and tulle to reflect elegance and grace. On the other hand, if a client wants an edgy and sexy dress, I use rough materials, dark colours, and sharp cuts, to reflect just that.
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Taking something that is a simple thought, or rather, something in my imagination, and turning it into something real, amazes me. A simple sketch can turn into reality. When I create an engagement, wedding, or even a prom dress, it’s rewarding to see that I was part of the reason these girls are happy; their happiness makes me happy. To see a smile on someone’s face and just watch their reactions to the dresses makes all the difference to me.
Caroline Yassa in one of her designs.
What’s the most challenging part?
Oh, the most challenging part is dealing with the clients in general; it’s very difficult. Some are indecisive, some don’t know what they want, and some want something that is just impossible to create. Dealing with women in general is very hard and needs patience.
Who inspires you in the fashion design world?
I get my inspirations from several designers; however, Lebanese designers such as Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab are of the most talented, in my opinion.
Do you teach fashion design courses?
I used to teach a workshop last year for three weeks; however, it’s very difficult. I got caught up with university work and clients as well. Couture is not easy to teach; there are a lot of factors involved, such as materials and whatnot - it needs time. It was an amazing experience to give part of me to people and watch them expand. I always encourage people to pursue their dreams and have certain goals in life.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t have a plan; however, I don’t want to be an international designer. I want to open a couture house, to revive the idea of couture in Egypt. I want to engage the clients and be part of the decision-making process. I want to be a tool for people to show their identity, because I would never force people to wear designs that do not show who they are.
Check out Caroline Yassa’s designs on her Instagram page here.