Your Local Fashion Guide to Dubai: #localdesigners
Get to Know KAGE
KAGE is one of Dubai's most established local designer brands. KAGE is a contemporary womenswear fashion label, an effortlessly chic brand that is as close to affordable luxury as you can get.
At the time when it launched back in 2009, KAGE was one of the only local ready-to-wear brands in town. Today KAGE has extensive presence in selected cities across the Middle East, and is set to hit Europe next. It mainly sells through retail stores but expect a brand new e-commerce store that should be up and running by September.
We sat down with KAGE founder Basma Abu Ghazaleh for our 7 Questions interview at KAGE's beautifully quaint atelier and office space in Dubai Design District (D3). Over a coffee, some Oreo cookies and Basma's infectiously enthusiastic personality, we chatted about KAGE, life as we know it, Dubai, and everything in between.
On the Brand Name
We started off by talking about the brand and how the name ever came together. Basma explained, "It's very difficult to come up with a brand name you love, not to mention that Arwa and I are polar opposites." After brainstorming quite a bit, they got to looking at their zodiac signs (Cancer and Gemini) and something clicked. If they could derive a bit of both of their personalities and combine them into one, it would portray exactly how Kage came together. So, they go the 'Ca' from Cancer, the 'Ge' from Gemini, flipped the 'C' into a 'K' - and there you have it: KAGE. Basma remembers after they came up with it, it felt right. They were both convinced saying: "KAGE is cool, it's strong, and it's easy to remember."
On European Expansion
Today KAGE has pretty good brand awareness in the Middle East, and Basma says it's time to expand beyond that. Basma says all brands that have "made it" in the Middle East have to think of how to grow the brand next. "I feel like KAGE is a contemporary laid-back brand, I see it in Europe and definitely in LA in those small quirky multibrand boutiques that really fit the brand." They never jumped on the opportunity before because they simply weren't ready, "Today we are more much comfortable and confident than we were before. Even if you have the money behind you, it's about the brand and being ready. You need to minimize all risks." She will be spending some time in London to acquire exposure and presence for KAGE as it steps into Europe.
On The Fashion Show
We asked Basma what she thought about the future of the fashion show and how she thinks that concept is evolving. She says, "I believe that the 5-month time between the actual fashion show to when the items actually get delivered to stores, consumers lose interest. In other words, they feel the collection is old by the time it hits stores." She sees the industry shifting to having a much closer fashion show to the delivery time.
Check out KAGE's Fall 2016 collection.
Inside KAGE's Atelier
Here's a peak into KAGE's beautiful atelier at D3.
7 Questions With Basma
Get to know another side of Basma Abu Ghazeleh, of KAGE.
1. Biggest design inspiration?
I can stumble across anything that can inspire me but my love for travel and exploration usually does the trick. For last Fall's collection, I designed the whole collection based on the fabric which had playful prints and a 3D effect - so it really depends on what draws me in at the moment. Most importantly, while designing, the KAGE girl is always in mind.
2. Person whose closet you’d most like to raid?
Cher – how interesting would that be?! Her one-of a kind sense of style was fearless. I would love to physically go through her outfits, wigs and her look transformations over the decades. It’s like walking into an outrageous costume store.
3. Biggest fashion regret?
Many many years ago, I happily made dresses and headbands out of garbage bags and made my younger cousin and I wear them for the day.
4. Theme song to your life?
Not sure I have a theme song to my life but this is a song I love and is related, "Let It Be" by The Beatles. Even though I do believe that we can sometimes control our destiny, I also believe that fate dictates a lot of it. “Everything happens for a reason”.
5. Dream dinner guest, living or not?
There are many dream dinner guests that I would like to dine with but Karl Lagerfeld is my number one. He is an artist, a photographer and the genius behind three of the world’s biggest fashion houses. His creativity is endless.
6. Worst vice?
My stubborn attitude.
7. Secret talent?
I was definitely a florist in my past life. I love creative tabletop pieces so the combination of flowers and objects is something I have always loved to play with. I find myself creating arrangements all the time!