Introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Dina Melwani, Fashion Designer, Creative Director and Founder of Melwani Couture Fashion House. I am originally from Moldova, and moved to Dubai in 2008. I have been married for eight years and have two beautiful girls that are my number one priority. I always had a creative nature, therefore I established Melwani Couture in 2015, positioning ourselves as Creators of Couture and High-end ready to wear. Since I am married into the Indian culture, I am always inspired by the creativity and beauty of the Indian textiles and embroideries. This inspiration is especially prominent in my couture collections, where we predominantly use hand embroidery.
1. Tell us about your education.
I completed my Business Administration degree at Middlesex University Dubai, with First– Class Honours. Simultaneously, I took courses in Fashion Design at Esmod University and internationally at the London College of Fashion. At Middlesex University I am one of the Alumni Students, hence I was recently asked to be a participating member of the Fashion Design Advisory Board at the Middlesex University Dubai, which is a definitely an Honor for me. I feel it is extremely important to always educate ourselves. I continuously take business and self growth courses to help me with my growth.
3. What sparked your interest in fashion?
My love for creativity comes from a young age. I always remember myself drawing and making dresses for my dolls. Although a physics and mathematics teacher, ky mom herself is a very creative person. During her free time, she was teaching students at our school painting and how to make ikebanas for which she received international awards. Later on, she took me to the Arts School in Cahul, Moldova, where I went religiously every day after school for four years. During this time I received many national and international painting awards. I always knew I wanted to ultimately become a fashion designer and own my own business. I feel Fashion is a very powerful phenomenon. The cloths that one person wears can empower and make that person more confident and attractive. I find it amazing how wearing the right outfit can ultimately even change people’s perceptions about you and even more, raise your personal power. I was always fascinated by beautiful dresses. Being able to create dresses that people love and are happy to wear truly the most satisfying job to have. To empower the wearer and focus on accentuating the beauty of the feminine forms is what keeps my interest in fashion so alive.
4. Are you self-taught or did you study Fashion Designing?
Although I did few short-courses in fashion design, most of what I truly learned about this business is through the people I employed. I invest in my people as I believe the final product and the success of the business is fully dependent on the team. I employed people that studied fashion as well as people that worked for big ateliers in Europe and Moscow. I ensure that I always learn new things from them. I design each piece of clothing by myself but in the same time I work very closely with my pattern making and my embroidery team and always consider their input as well in the way that the final product should look. I believe that although an education in fashion design is extremely important, it is also ok to be self-thought, as long as one is always open to learn and try new things. I firmly believe that creativity always comes from within.
5. If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a designer I would definitely be in the property business. I love the creative work that goes in to buying and refurbishing properties. It always gives me a great joy. Further perhaps I would have continued my singing career. I used to be a singer back when I lived in Romania, however getting married and motherhood made me reassess my priorities in life.
6. What influences the design details in your collections? What’s the inspiration behind each of those designs?
I draw my inspiration from various sources. For my last collection, The Royal Russian House (end of 19th century beginning of the 20th century) served as an extraordinary source of Inspiration. The exquisite fashion of that time, as well as the fine jewelry and crowns inspired the gowns as well as the style of the hand embroidery. Furthermore, the Phoenix Bird which is often met in the Russian folklore stories is predominant in some of the gowns embroidery, gently blending with the baroque inspired themes. Further I always get inspired by the fabrics I use. In this collection we utilized extraordinary meshes such as Italian and French Laces, Crepes, Italian Silks and Silk Chiffons. Further, in other collections, my inspiration is drawn from the rich Indian couture, which I personally love.
7. Would you like to tell me about the creative process of creating a new collection?
An increased amount of time is spent to perfect a collection and ensuring that each garment is created with care with flawless construction techniques. Although it is always advisable to firstly identify the trends for the next seasons, in my case I always prefer to make our own trends. That’s why I love my job so much, it allows us to be more creative. In our case, we start with a mood board. Mood boards usually create a visual of the direction we want to take in our collection and it gives us an idea of the textiles and textures we need to utilize in the collection. Based on our mood board, we then create our sketches… Further, we select and approve the sketches that go into the finalized collection. Even though, the model of the dress can still change in the process, as each fabric falls differently when draped on the mannequins and we might decide along the way that a certain garment style doesn’t necessarily suit the fabric we intend to use. It can be a long process as many times we decide to remove certain dresses from the collection.
8. What does your typical day look like.
I created a routine which works best for me. I usually wake up at 6 am and do my meditations. I started taking energy healing courses with Jeffrey Allen which I find help me quite a lot in making me focus more, and become more aware. On some days I would also do a 40 min yoga session. At 7.10 I drop the children to school. In the car we always practice gratitude. I like to remind my girls how blessed we are to have each other, be healthy and have such a wonderful life. I also starts our day on a positive note. At 9 am I am already in the office. My office hours are quite long as sometimes we have clients late in to the evening during the season. However I always make sure I spend my free time with my children, practicing piano and guitar with them. Fridays and Saturdays are fully dedicated to my family.
9. How would you define fashion?
I will answer this by quoting Ralph Lauren: “Fashion is about something that comes from within you”. I personally think that Fashion is an Expression of one self. One uses Fashion to express emotions, feelings, a lifestyle. It represents life, making us feel empowered and confident. It has the power to change perceptions, making people more interesting, alive and present. Fashion can be so many things: art, functionality, expression… It is also very personal, real and raw. It can make you powerful, beautiful and in control!
10. How would you describe your personal style?
In my Personal style I strive to wear pieces that are timeless. During the day, I would always opt for high-waisted jeans or classic trousers with a classic long sleeved silk shirt. In the evening I opt for uncluttered and sophisticated style, usually centered around classic and elegant pieces. Classic elegance is key to any wardrobe. Furthermore, I really like modest fashion. Long Sleeves, high necks and calf length skirts is also something that is predominant in my wardrobe.
11. Three things that make you happy?
My family, My work, and Spiritual life
12. When you are not busy with your job, what is your favorite thing to do.
My favorite thing is spending time with my friends and my family. I absolutely love my walks in Hyde Park. When in London, I walk there every day for two hours in the morning and evening.
13. Your motto in life?
I will quote Winston Churchill for this: “Never give up on something that you can’t go one day without thinking about it. ”
14. What are your plans for the future?
My dream is to open my own stores in London, New York and Paris as well as Expand the brand to the European and Asian Markets.