Image Credit: I AM SHARQI Collection

Arab American artist and designer Zaid Farouki is making waves in the fashion industry with his unique design aesthetic that seamlessly blends cultural identity and timeless elegance. In our interview with the founder and creative director of the Zaid Farouki brand, the man who loves to wear perfectly tailored button-up shirts shares his sources of inspiration, his design style and his vision for the future of fashion.

What marks Zaid the most is the joy of seeing his creations come to life in the streets. Witnessing his designs being worn by people, spotting them in the crowd, fills him with a childlike happiness and fuels his passion for fashion. His desire to create clothing is deeply rooted in his personal journey. Being from the East and having lived in many Western countries, he sought to create garments that reflect his identity, allowing him to feel a sense of pride and connection to his culture.

Zaid’s designs are a testament to his multicultural background, serving as a bridge between different worlds. “I wanted to find myself in the world,” he says. “I wanted to put on clothes that represent me.” And while culture plays an important role in inspiring Zaid’s creative process, family stories that he grew up listening to are one of his biggest sources of inspiration. Coming from a Palestinian background, his family sought refuge and migrated throughout the globe; these tales instilled in him a desire to connect with the world and different cultures, making travel a crucial element of his inspiration. By immersing himself in diverse environments, the designer absorbs the essence of each place and incorporates it into his designs.

Image Credit: I AM SHARQI Collection

When it comes to family, he also draws inspiration from the women of his, such as his mother, grandmothers, aunts and cousins. Their resilience and ability to thrive in any situation have deeply influenced his perception of strength and beauty. The creator admires the women who build homes and navigate the world with grace and strives to design for them. In fact, his designs are aimed at the globally empowered hybrid woman—a representative of a new globalised world.

Staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving fashion industry is a challenge, but one of the key aspects of the Zaid Farouki designs is their timelessness; the designer’s approach is to create timeless pieces that transcend seasons. While trends come and go, the brand embraces a seasonless concept, -offering limited editions and even one-of-a-kind designs. Each garment is meticulously designed to be cherished by collectors and remains relevant regardless of fleeting trends.

Yet, seasons are an intrinsic part of our wardrobe. And summer, oh that special season, which to most of us is synonymous with vacation, brings about vibrant colours and breezy styles. When designing summer pieces—probably to the sounds of Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Abdel Wahab that also make the soundtrack of his summer nights playing cards with his grandparents in the garden—Zaid considers key elements such as colour, light materials, textures and the effortless feel on the body. As he explains, summer fashion should be vibrant, breezy, and all about “colour, colour, colour”. In fact, his upcoming collection will showcase colourful tailored essentials for men and women. However, one outfit is allowed to be pigment-free: the ultimate summer power suit. According to Zaid, that is a deconstructed tailored white or off-white suit, which he believes is a statement piece that exudes confidence and sophistication, and can be a powerful tool for self-expression and communication, making it suitable for both men and women.

Zaid Farouki Image Credit: Supplied

And when faced with the ultimate fashion designer “would you rather” question—design only for men or only for women, no choice in the matter—Zaid replies with a laugh: “We mostly design gender neutral pieces, so that wouldn’t be an issue.”

“I live in Dubai where it’s summer all year round, and I miss the winters, the layering, the winter fashion,” he admits. “But I also love the ease of wearing outfits in summer without thinking of a jacket or matching boots.”

And just as “there is beauty in all seasons,” as Zaid says, there is beauty in all body shapes. In a world with diverse body types, Zaid believes in inclusivity; his evening wear is made to measure, ensuring that each design complements and enhances the wearer’s unique features. There is no mold when it comes to his creations; instead, the brand celebrates the beauty of diversity.

With his visionary approach, Zaid Farouki is redefining fashion, one timeless design at a time.