The future is edgy: Hindamme's Mohammed Khoja on looking forward
"My aim is to reverse the tables, and export more of our culture to the West." Hindamme's Mohammed Khoja talks to Farouk Chekoufi about putting Saudi Arabia on the fashion map with his latest capsule collection Futur Antérieur – from the French verb to express a future action that is expected to happen. That and how his reimagining of heritage wear has landed in mainstream fashion.
How would you define the aesthetic of Hindame in 2019?
I would define the brand as edgier and more forward thinking. It's still nostalgic in its inspiration yet is focused on the future in terms of its outlook. There are many elements I look at in my design approach, I like to focus on creating memorable and timeless pieces that integrate elements of the past into contemporary and modern design. I was one of the first designers to do this in contemporary ready to wear with my first season featuring reimagined heritage patterns from Saudi Arabia's Asir region, and I've continued this theme with my most recent capsule collection: Futur Antérieur which is an amalgamation of the past and future.
How important is Saudi Arabia in the business of fashion and how important are your roots as a designer?
It's very important as there are not a lot of fashion brands, especially in ready to wear, that are able to our story. It's certainly not a prerequisite for me as a designer, and I would not want to necessarily put myself in a corner in being inspired by Saudi Arabian heritage alone, but when I come across the beauty of the heritage from here, I feel obligated and truly inspired to reveal them and reimagine them in a more modern and universal format.
Does your style adapt to the Arab or international market?
I really feel it adapts to both. And I find that both markets are not that different as well. The silhouettes I tend to use are mostly international and my prints are inspired by Arabia, so it is a beautiful merger of both worlds. My aim is to reverse the tables in a sense, and export more of our culture to the West.
It seems you brought Saudi fashion to the mainstream...
I feel truly humbled, but I also feel I am not quite there yet but definitely working towards it! I am the happiest when I see my pieces being worn and enjoyed. The driving jacket capsule I did last year for example, I felt was a turning point for the brand. I also realised how impactful fashion design can be when used within a broader theme. I'm proud to announce that one of the jackets I made for that capsule will now be included in an exhibition slated for 2019 at a major European National Museum. All will be revealed soon!
How would you define yourself? Designer or influencer?
I am definitely a designer first. It's been passion of mine ever since I can remember and I am always committed to it. I've also realised the impact social media can have as a designer, both positively and sometimes negatively. I personally like to use social media as a channel to engage with my consumers on a more personal level and also present various ways my pieces can be styled.
What is a typical starting point for your new collections?
It usually starts with a concept, and I start piecing elements of reference and ultimately a moodboard and from there on, I start sketching different pieces based on that theme. I have already designed my upcoming collection which I am very excited to release soon. I can't reveal the concept yet unfortunately, but you'll be the first to know!
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of after three seasons?
I have to honestly say that I am equally proud of all the seasons I have created as each season has a mood and characteristics of its own. I am quite attached to my work and almost feel that each one is my child.