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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Advancing the Inclusive Fashion Movement: A Dubai-Based Designer’s Impact

Inclusive Fashion Dima Ayad, a prominent figure in the region’s public relations scene, has not only established her own PR agency, DAC Communications but has also made a mark as the founder and creative director of her eponymous fashion label, Dima Ayad. Renowned for its size inclusivity, offering sizes from XS to 4XL, Ayad recently achieved the distinction of being the first designer to launch a size-inclusive brand on the luxury e-commerce platform, Net-A-Porter. In an interview, Ayad discusses her journey, challenges faced by curvy women, and her commitment to promoting body inclusivity in the fashion industry.

Size Inclusivity and Breaking Barriers

Ayad, a curvy woman herself, initiated her label in 2010 out of frustration in finding clothing options that complemented her body type. As the first designer to introduce a size-inclusive brand on Net-A-Porter, Ayad is vocal against the ‘fat tax,’ challenging labels that charge more for clothing catering to larger women. Her fashion label focuses on body inclusivity, offering designs for petite, mid-size, and plus-size women. Ayad’s recent showcase at Dubai Fashion Week highlighted her commitment to diversity, featuring pieces designed for women of various sizes and body types.

Challenges in the Fashion Industry

Addressing the lack of diversity in the fashion industry, Ayad points out the minimal representation of regular-sized models on regional publication covers. She emphasizes the role of advertisers in perpetuating beauty standards and suggests that discussions around diversity tend to fade away over time. Ayad expresses her disdain for the term ‘fat tax,’ considering it appalling, and advocates for body inclusion rather than body positivity. She notes a decline in the focus on inclusivity in recent seasons, citing the emergence of brands that do not prioritize diverse body types.

Defining Inclusivity and Representation: Inclusive Fashion 

Ayad clarifies that true inclusivity involves being part of the fashion conversation, having sizes available, and feeling a sense of belonging through editorials, size availability, and the promotion of people who look like you. While acknowledging the dominance of extreme body types in the fashion world, she highlights the need for representation of mid-size models. Ayad acknowledges the support of the media in the region and her customers, friends, and family, who have played a significant role in her fashion journey.

Inspirations and Collaborations: Inclusive Fashion

Ayad cites Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, known for his advocacy of diversity, as a significant inspiration. She also admires Schiaparelli for creating artistic pieces that convey a love for fashion and Valentino for redefining couture. Collaborating with Marina Rinaldi, an Italian plus-size label, Ayad unveils a collection featuring seven silhouettes, including a suit, an evening blazer, a golden woven kaftan, an embellished kaftan, and pleated designs in her signature style. She shares her excitement about collaborating with shoe designer Malone Souliers, noting the exposure it brings to a regional designer on a global scale.

The Future of Dima Ayad 

Looking ahead, Ayad aims to expand her collections, reach more diverse body types, and enhance her brand’s presence through additional physical stores and a robust online platform. Her ultimate dream is to dress a wide range of body types and be available in concessions in department stores worldwide.

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