Interview with Leila Rose Faddoul

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Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Leila Rose Faddoul (LF) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Leila Rose Faddoul by clicking here.

Interview with Leila Rose Faddoul at Monday 14th of April 2014
Leila Rose Faddoul
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
LF: It has been quite an interesting journey to become a designer. I am not sure if I am even allowed to officially call myself a designer considering I have no qualification in design. I actually studied Medicine in the UK. I became a doctor in 2008 and worked as a Doctor for 3 years. Being a doctor is an amazing job if you can totally commit to it. I just felt that medicine was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. This probably seems crazy after I had done it for 8 years. I believe that life is about living and we spend most of our life working so we must be happy with our work. I decided to leave medicine in 2011 with no concrete plan. Everyone including my friends and family thought I was crazy. It was a tough decision to make as I was leaving everything I knew. I decided to go travelling around the world for one year. It was a wonderful trip filled with life changing experiences. I got to see everything form a new angle. The longer I travelled the more I gravitated towards textiles and fashion. I discovered a true passion for clothing, I began to interview travellers about their travelling clothing and listening to their needs. I realised there was a real gap in the market for stylish functional clothing for travellers. The seed was planted and It just grew in my head. The first product I designed was the Kameleon. I was sat down for a picnic in my summer dress. I desired to just sit as I wished and felt restricted by my dress. I had a Eureka moment and I thought ‘what if I added buttons to the hem’ I grabbed some buttons sewed them on and closed up my dress. I pulled it down to form trousers then I just couldn’t stop flipping it all sorts of ways. From that moment, I knew I wanted to create Kameleon Rose, a brand creating adaptable clothing for travellers. However, I had no fashion experience, no business skills but I had an idea. I was determined to make it happen, at the end of the around the world trip I moved to Madagascar a country I had loved since I first went in 2007 as a volunteer. Madagascar has a recognised textile trade. I learnt to sew in a local school and made the first prototypes, I then shared them with travelling friends the feedback I got was awesome. People really liked the product and encouraged me! The adventure had only just begun living and producing in Madagascar was filled with plenty of unexpected challenges. I learnt the hard way about business, people took advantage of me being a foreign women in Madagascar. I had issues with import, factories letting me down, export, production delays and plenty more. I remained determined and knew I had to get Kameleon Rose on the market, I planned a trip to Europe in 2013 with samples and just went door to door trying to sell. I could not believe how hard it is to sell, I had undestimated this, I felt discouraged by the lack of contracts. In the end though I just kept going and in 2013 I secured 17 contracts with retailers. I love design and I love being an entrepreneur. I have found my true passion. It was so grateful to be a winner of the Adesign awards, to receive recognition for our design with no formal design training is an amazing honor.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
LF: Kameleon Rose’s workshop is in Antananarivo in Madagascar. We make prototypes in our workshops. The production is undertaken in a local factory that produces under ethical conditions. We follow the production quality.

FS: What is "design" for you?
LF: For me design is beauty and function. Beauty alone is art and when you include function you have a design.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
LF: Obviously clothing! I love to think how many ways can an item of clothing be worn, I find my brain just seems to see clothes upside down back to front and any other way possible!

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
LF: The Kameleon, the design we entered in the competition. This garment can be worn in 52 ways, this design is where it all started. Back in 2011 in New Zealand at Lake Wanaka.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
LF: The Kameleon

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
LF: Sustainable materials, Bamboo and organic cotton jersey

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
LF: In nature, I am totally inspired by nature, I see prints everywhere in nature and design. Magnificient designs. I love to go into nature with a sketch pad and a pencil and just design!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
LF: Actually beauty and function are equally important. That is what we try to achieve in all our designs this balance in our designs.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
LF: Excitement. It generally doesn’t take me long to convert the sketch into a piece of clothing. I like to make a prototype as soon as possible so I can just start ‘playing’ around with it.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
LF: That is a hard questions, on the one hand satisfaction but I think designers are often fairly critical with their work so I am always looking for ways we can improve a design.

FS: What makes a design successful?
LF: I do not feel I have enough experience in design to answer that!

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
LF: I have learnt not to be afraid of showing my designs early on. I have found customer feedback so helpful.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
LF: I believe entirely on creating a positive impact on people and the environment with our brand. Kameleon Rose has become a platform to share and spread ideas, we have an opportunity to make a difference with our brand and maybe in the future a real impact on the fashion industry.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
LF: Wow, there is so much happening. Within fashion there is a definite shift, consumers are becoming more conscious and aware about where and how their clothing is made. This is forcing the fashion industry to step up their game. I hope that the fashion industry can and will change and become much more sustainable. Otherwise, I think there will be more technology within clothing designs.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
LF: During April 2014 we held a fashion show in the capital of Madagascar. This summer 2014 I will be exhibiting in a few trade shows in Europe.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
LF: From my environment, from travellers, from nature.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
LF: Adaptable fashion. Our style is funky, relaxed and original.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
LF: I am English- Lebanese. I was brought up in England but often felt like I came from another land. I have been living in Madagascar for the last 2 and a half years. Living here makes creation easier however connecting with our market is more difficult.

FS: How do you work with companies?
LF: We outsource our production.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
LF: I still feel like I am camping as I am always on the move. I am not really attached to anything in my house!

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
LF: My days when I am in Europe are the opposite to being in Madagscar. In Madagascar I go to my office and work shop in the morning at 8am I sometimes design, do emails and paperwork. I visit factories and meet with other designers. In the afternoon sometimes I teach about entrepreneurship at university. My days are unpredictable, with powercuts transport breakdowns and general bureaucracy. I usually finish at 6 or later if I am working on a project.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
LF: I think I am still only a young and up and coming designer myself! I love to share my story to encourage others to follow their dreams. I think it is really important to be sure of your idea, if you know you have a good idea you must go for it. There are many people and things that will try and hold you back. It will not be easy there will always be challenges but the only way you can be determined to get to your goal is by believing in your idea. I would also say do not allow a fear of people copying you prevent you from sharing with others. We need other people to go forward with our ideas. It is very tempting to try and do everything alone and only allow your design to be seen by another when it is ‘perfect’ this can waste time. When you share you get more ideas you improve and you move forward.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
LF: The positive side is that I am doing what I love and what I am passionate about. The negatives, I guess is the unpredictability of being a designer that you never really know how people and the market will react to your designs.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
LF: I don’t have one yet!

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
LF: I am not only a designer but also an entrepreneur so I need to manage Kameleon Rose as a company. Sometimes getting this balance right can be tricky as I have so much to do and not yet all the resources to do it!

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
LF: It depends sometimes many months.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
LF: Being a doctor. I learnt about stress and time management, i learnt to manage uncertainty. I went beyond my limits and i was constantly challenged.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
LF: Young travellers, Urban young people independent boutiques travel shops

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
LF: Designing Clothing

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
LF: We would like to grow and distribute our brand all around Europe. We are looking to raise capital and investors. Anyone interested please contact us!

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
LF: Yes now I work as a team with another fashion designer, graphic designer and depending on what we are doing also with plenty of other professionals

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
LF: We have another product called the Wrap a tube featuring an invisible pocket that can be worn in 21 ways, as a scarf, skirt, bag, hood and more.

FS: How can people contact you?
LF: Email telephone mada: 00261322424813, FB Kameleon Rose, Linked in Leila Rose Faddoul, website

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
LF: Thank you very much!

FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.

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