Mabel Gago sits down with Hissa Haddad and chats about her designs as well as her rise within the fashion world.
Behind any entrepreneurial woman, there’s a tale which deserves to be told. Great stories are a powerful source of inspiration for every one of us. Design owns a rare and hypnotic kind of beauty that goes beyond itself.
A heel can hide an amazing story. Like the ones designed by Hissa Haddad. I had the privilege to meet her last season in London at the designer’s showrooms, during London Fashion Week.
Although let’s be honest, when face to face with the right pair, it is quite easy to be captivated by a fabulous pair of heels. But in the midst of a crowd, I spotted something truly different and special: a pair of leather shoes with high stilettos, where its shape evocated the elegance of Arabic architecture.
I absolutely love how the heritage breathes throughout the pieces so as to accompany the contemporary world. And there was Hissa. A young modest designer from Qatar.
Quite surprisingly Hissa’s professional background has nothing to do with design nor with shoes. She studied enginery and graduated where she managed to obtain some seriously impressive grades. Her studies immediately helped her to become a relevant professional where she ended up working on a few international projects.
But, inside an entrepreneur soul, there’s a voice guiding you to follow your passion and Hissa’s inner voice was calling louder each day. Her love of shoes goes beyond the aim of owning thousands of them. To her, it was more than that. Hissa always found that shoes were the perfect expression for the modern woman.
The aspects of quality and expert workmanship lie pretty deep inside the mind of an engineer. Like an obsession. By taking these into consideration Hissa has combined her passion together with her cultural heritage and her futuristic perception of elegance. All of her visions and values came together when she started her education in the art of shoemaking at the Italian Chamber in Qatar where she studied for almost two years.
So, in 2017 Hissa launched her first capsule collection and successfully debuted at Paris Fashion Week. Here, we would like to discover more about this young businesswoman.
I remember the first time I saw you when you caught my attention at the Designers Showroom during the last London Fashion Week season. The beautiful explosion of heritage made me follow you immediately. So, thanks so much for this interview. When was the moment you discovered that you wanted to focus your creativity on designing shoes?
I have always known that I wanted to focus my creativity and love for art in fashion. From that field, I have always loved shoes and wanted to explore more on that. I have always wanted to have a different characterised cutout that is inspired by culture. But I also wanted to focus on the comfort of the shoes and fitting.
And now, you are an entrepreneurial business-woman. What were the main fears and barriers you had to face?
Taking the risk to try and get out of my comfort zone. Taking this step is really hard. I had to but all my savings into the business and change my personal approach in life to proceed with my business. It was a huge personal and professional revolution. But I must admit, I feel happy with this decision.
How does the brand HISSA HADDAD see modest fashion, its relevance and future?
There is a huge move in the international market towards modest fashion. I consider it a relevant change of interest and trend. What’s more, I think this movement shows the interests and capability of the modern woman. We are independent entrepreneurs. We love our heritage and also look to the future. I believe the interest in modest fashion will continue to expand in the future.
One of the things I especially love about your shoes is the rich combination of different heritages and how you translate all of this into a contemporary concept which fits each different type of women. How did you achieve that?
It is true that the designs are inspired by the culture and breath the heritage aspect. But they are also designed for today’s woman. A woman who is always on the go and ready in her comfortable unique high heels.
The soles of your SS19 shoes collection features quite a nice line: “Handcrafted in Italy for a unique lady”. To me, this says a lot about a global vision which provides a personalised experience. It this something that aligns with your business model and values?
When I developed the brand, my target was to put it to the international level. In order to achieve that vision, we had to maintain a specific quality level. That is why we have chosen Italy. Needless to say, it is the best place to manufacture footwear. The brand isn’t only about quality. We truly believe we are designing and manufacturing for unique ladies.
The art of shoemaking is quite complicated. I’d love to know how was your learning process regarding this was.
My professional experience comes from engineering project management field. This helped me to understand the process would not be easy and straight forward. But this is my passion, so once I decided to go for it, I tried and tried and tried. And the more we created samples or manufactured pieces we discover further complications. Afterwhich we record all of them as lessons to be learned within the process to improve the quality.
Regarding the fashion industry, which are the things we need to improve?
I believe the fashion industry is full of all the required options for customers. However, I always can see gaps for improvement in the quality of the products. This aspect pushes me to work harder so as to offer the best.
Where would you like to see your brand within the next 2 years?
I would love to see my shoes available in all the major fashion cities.