By Lamees Zwayne
When I was asked to write for Nina a fashion article, I was initially hesitant because of all the current conflicts in Iraq. There were two things I could do; decline or communicate my opinion of fashion to Nina’s readers – the women of Iraq. Obviously I chose the latter. I am from a family of strong women who have endured many conflicts in their lives and have come out stronger through their experiences. This is very true of Iraqi women in general. Therefore I wrote this with a positive approach to the current situation. Some readers may have doubts, but I am an optimist who believes in looking ahead and looking great…
Baghdad Fashion Show in the Sixties
My brother found an old photo on the internet of a fashion-show in Baghdad during the sixties of last century in which my grandmother and mother are seated in the front row. The photograph inspired me to share how women were free to create their lives at work, at home, and in fashion. This is aptly illustrated by another photograph I would like to share, from Baghdad Med school in 1969 which shows a group of female doctors dressed to kill!
The elegant ladies of Iraq were always interested in fashion. My mother told me that they would watch Egyptian and foreign films and the next day they would go to the seamstress to create the same looks. They were their own designers.
Decades later I am working in the fashion industry and my job requires me to attend fashion shows in Paris and other fashion capitals of the world, and I know the importance of fashion to women. After my eighteen years of professional experience I can safely deduce that a real and precise definition of being fashionable does not exist. Being fashionable could be about sharp tailoring, or wearing designer brands. For me though, it is all about wearing what makes you feel good and confident about yourself. It is important to understand your body shape and what suits it as well as keeping up with latest fashion trends. Creative details such as adding jewellery, accessories, or injecting a bright coloured top or a printed scarf to an ordinary black suit can transform your look. The internet is an amazing reference to current trends. There are great websites such as www.style.com, www.vogue.com, and luxury brands websites such as Chanel, Dior, Valentino.
Bagdhad Med School 1969
I suppose it is all about personalities. Some women are classic, others eccentric, and others ‘fashion victims’. Whatever the personality, religious sect, or career you may be attached to, generally determines your taste. We are our own designers when choosing what to wear every day.
Fashion is all about individuality, style and confidence….and of course, feeling good.