We sat down with Hilda to get an idea of her inspiration, style. She took us on a trip through her mind...
Tell us who Hilda is and what you love doing in everyday life besides fashion…
I am a naturally curious and passionate person so I have many interests; I constantly fall in love with new things and am always willing to try something new. I don't have a specific routine but I like photography, reading, travelling and discovering new cultures and places, painting, sports and spending time with my loved ones and friends. I am in love with my new kindle my boyfriend has gifted me lately - I am addicted to buying books. I've also been visiting quite a lot of exhibitions in the past months. The list could go on and on really.
What moment/time in life empowered you and made you realize that you can make a difference in the fashion industry with your designs?
Life is beautiful, but it is also hard and serious. What I like about fashion is the fun in it and the feel good factor it gives to people as well as the beauty of the craft. I had had many compliments about my first graduation collection, but when I won a competition I had entered, right after the catwalk show during the party I had all members of the jury - all respected personalities of the fashion world - saying my collection brought them joy, freshness and it put a smile to their lips, that meant a lot to me because I could see my vision and thoughts about fashion translated in my garments.
How do you start with the design process for each collection?
It usually starts with a feeling I have about the new season. Old pictures of my family, an exhibition, book or travel, and my own photography or experiments I’ve been doing on a subject that tickles my imagination. I then research more into it to develop and let it flow. From then on it's fabric research, print development and sketching, not always necessarily in that order. Ultimately it all starts with something that gives me a vibe and excitement, when I found it it gives me a wonderful feeling and butterflies in my stomach, it's a bit like falling in love at first sight.
What was the source of inspiration for your S/S 2014 collection?
It all started with a wonderful sunset in London's Hyde Park while I was taking photographs, it was magical and poetic. That was my starting point and I imagined this woman walking free in an empty beach the morning after a party from a private location and then going in the water still dressed up, and that's how it all started.
Who do you regard as your ultimate role model?
I don't really have one, I have more of an idea in mind of a modern woman with both style and substance, a busy life and a positive attitude, someone passionate, quirky, with a strong head on her shoulders and free spirited.
What are your aspirations for the next 5 years for your fashion brand Hilda Maha?
I'd like to be a global brand in 5-10 years but I try not to plan too much ahead. Of course I have dreams and a vision, but I don't plan the how to get there step by step, it's like working with a beautiful fabric that you dream to make into a specific shape, sometimes it just doesn't want to do what you want it to, so it's often best to try listen or see what it wants to be and let it flow in the right direction rather than forcing it. We only live in the present, so it's best in my opinion to focus on it and do your best in it. What is most important for me is to continue to learn and elevate my craft, to ultimately be a better designer and person.
There’s a big pool of emerging fashion design talents in the Middle East, what advice can you give them as an emerging designer?
Always be yourself. Try to learn and be informed on everything, use that knowledge to develop as a person, get to know yourself, listen to advice but ultimately you take your own decisions and stay true to your vision, feed your creativity and explore as much as possible. It's always a work in progress.
Which 3 fashion items are your favourites and can’t be without?
I go through stages where I am in love with certain items of clothing, so that changes from time to time around them. There has been a trousers period, a skirts one and a jackets one, lately it's been dresses all the way in all sorts of colors or prints, layered with light weight sweaters or shirts underneath and cardigans or jackets on top. I also have a weakness for shoes and nice underwear, they are a bit like your foundation, with the right one accordingly everything falls better.
What defines timeless for Hilda Maha?
As a designer I push myself to create something new and exciting every season, but as a woman with a busy schedule I always keep in mind the need of women to be stylish, comfortable and to achieve that quickly. That's where timelessness comes in.
A garment has to be versatile and flexible to wear for a multitude of occasions and seasons, can be styled for everybody in their own way, flatter your shape and complete your closet. This means that it has to transcend quick trends and sustaining your own style with power. A good cut and quality fabric are key. It's an investment for a long time. Then you can mix bold and fun pieces with it. This is not to say you should play it safe and classic, just to mix different elements in order to find your own style which show showcase your personality, make you feel unique and stand out from the crowd. Mix a new purchase with something you already own to keep it fresh and contemporary but personal and feel good in it. Get rid of what you don't wear and edit your wardrobe so it works better for you. Looking like a window's shop mannequin is not a good look and doesn't say much about who you are.
How would you describe yourself? Stylish or Fashionable?
I would say stylish, both for the fabric quality, the prints and the cut of my collections. I'd like women to cherish them for a long time and to feel great, comfortable and stylish each time they wear them. I don't particularly follow a trend and try to achieve a beautiful thing that
boasts your confidence and gives pleasure both to the spirit and the eye. I don't like to design something that's not anymore good tomorrow; I like to challenge myself on how to make something good even better.