Baruni, a label owned and operated by designer Fadwa Baruni, draws inspiration for its pieces, she explained, from the structured world of engineering (a former profession) as well as her North African heritage. Now based in Dubai, part of her life and career was also spent in Europe. Her designs combine sophisticated, clean lines with sharp tailoring for garments constructed for ease and fascinating fit. Culture and nature are pivotal themes; Baruni’s autumn-winter line, for example, takes cues from “wind, lighting, and torrential waters,” while a past line offered allusions to desert themes.

INDUSTRY: How did you find your way into fashion?
Fadwa Baruni:
I was well established in my career as a petroleum engineer, then sales manager in a software company, when I realized that I was not happy with what I was doing and needed to change. I decided to take the opportunity to go back to study at design college. After moving to Dubai, I was in an ideal position to launch a brand, which I did in 2008. It was a huge leap of faith to make such a career change, but I have never regretted it.


What does fashion mean to you?
FB: I find myself completely absorbed by it, and not only in my work…I find all fashion interesting. In terms of my brand’s style, I seek to make ladies feel that they are the center of attention—not because they are in any way loud or overly provocative. My style is clean, yet has lots of subtle details. It’s chic yet comfortable, and easy to wear.

Who inspired you?
FB: In terms of design? Oh, Chanel is certainly one; I love her ability to get to the essence of a piece and only add what is needed. Fendi, Chloé also inspire me. And Roksanda…her abilities of mixing colors and color blocking.

What quality should a good designer possess?
FB: I am always amazed at how little of my time actually is spent on design versus managing staff, social media management, sales and other marketing activities. I think flexibility and a high level of energy are key, but perhaps most important of all is the need to have a very clear idea of who the customer is for your brand.

Timepiece Spread

How do you select the materials you use?
FB: I start with the theme of a collection. Clearly, summer and winter have appropriate fabrics in terms of weight and color. I spend lots of time travelling and looking for fabric, but for designers making relatively small numbers of garments, minimum order quantities can be a challenge. My spring/summer 2019 collection is called Havana, and was inspired initially by a pop song. That took me into the process of developing a mood board, which defines the mood and often the overall look.