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2019 Designer Profiles:  Laila Abdelmonem

2019 Designer Profiles: Laila Abdelmonem

Every year, the MODA Fashion Show wraps up winter quarter with the perfect homage to student talent, hard work and creativity. In anticipation of the show, we have been interviewing some of the designers involved in this year’s show. Meet Laila Abdelmonem, a 4th year Public Policy major and Spanish minor!


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What are some sources of inspiration for your collection?

My heritage is probably the largest source of inspiration for my collection. I’m focusing on Egypt and its varied looks across time and history. I hope my collection shows the richness, diversity and regional significance of the country without implicating the stereotypes commonly associated with the Middle East.

Anecdote: I also want to add that my first year, I modeled for Nabila Latoyef and we bonded instantly over both being from Cairo. So in a way, I think she’s always informed the associations I have with participating in the show.

I hope my collection shows the richness, diversity and regional significance of [Egypt] without implicating the stereotypes commonly associated with the Middle East.
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Have you ever done fashion design work before? What are some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the process?

I’ve never designed before, and I think the most challenging aspect is translating mind to matter: the imagined design has to manifest in a physical way. I would say that conversion process is both frustrating and intriguing because it will inevitably surprise you. I am not sure that the design will look the way I imagined it, but I guess that’s just part of the process and I’m curious to see how it turns out.

What are you looking forward to most about the show?

As always, I think the show’s designers always produce fresh and bold takes on different fabrics, colors, and patterns. I am so excited to see what everyone else has cooked up.  

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Who do you have in mind when you’re designing? 

I don’t really think I have someone in mind when I design, but maybe something that will provide a framework for my process.  

If you could give yourself any advice on the design process, what would you say to your younger self?

Ha! I genuinely don’t think I will be able to answer that until the show is over and the performance is truly complete. Maybe to start with one aspect of the design–a single color, fabric, or texture–and vary that one element as much as possible within three different looks.

What’s your favorite aspect of the design process? 

This might be cliché, but the creativity of working within parameters. I think thematically, so I’m always asking: How can I incorporate more of the same concept within the pattern or colors or shape of each design? I try to diversify the style as much as possible while maintaining a continuity in concept.


All images via Laila Abdelmonem

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