Usually, you’ll find the skinniest models ever on the couture runways. But not on the catwalks of this size inclusive couture brand! Meet Hala Al Mamari, the world’s first size inclusive couturier.
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Couture week is a cornucopia of beauty. It’s where you’ll find some of the most elaborate beadwork; exquisite embroidery, and luscious fabrics. You’ll also see some of the skinniest models in the industry.
There’s a reason for that. Mainly, the designers really want the clothes – not the model – to shine. They’re literally meant to be clothes hangers, no more. But the truth is, most couture customers aren’t that thin. And sometimes, the average client can’t imagine how she would look in a stunning couture creation, since the model showing it is far from her size.
Enter Hala Al Mamari. The Omani designer is one of the first to call hers a size inclusive couture brand.
That may sound a bit obvious. After all, couture is, by definition, made to order. So whether you’re a size 8 or 18, the dress is guaranteed to fit like a glove. But Al Mamari insists there’s more to being size inclusive than making bespoke clothing, and she explains why in our exclusive interview with her, below.
Based in the Sultanate of Oman, Hala has been a luminary in the world of couture since 2013, creating avant-garde designs for women all over the world. In line with conscientiousness of 21st century fashion, concerned with eco and ethical approaches, her brand has focused on sustainable and ethical practices, as well as an appreciation of authentic techniques.
Using handcrafted materials, Al Mamari’s work truly glorifies femininity, no matter the shape or size of the woman. Her latest collection, called Rebirth, is utterly focused towards inclusivity.
Meet Size Inclusive Couture Brand Hala Al Mamari
What kind of sustainable practices do you use in your work?
As with any couture house, we produce on a bespoke basis, so we produce only according to demand. That way we reduce the amount of waste. We also introduced our first sustainable pieces made with a fabric produced from recycled plastic bottles, which you can see in our cream mini dress (pictured below). We are scouting and studying more sustainable fabrics options for future collections.
The truth is that couture, by nature, is size inclusive, as it’s made to order. So how do you stress size inclusivity in your range?
It’s absurd to limit inclusivity to only size availability. Size inclusivity as I believe it to be includes the inclusion of styles and designs that are made deliberately to flatter a plus size woman. That’s why some pieces of our latest collection were worn by plus size models; to showcase exactly that. That been said, around 60% of our clients are plus sized, proving that we have achieved inclusivity
Why did you choose to stress this?
I wanted to show that a woman can look beautiful regardless of her size, and that there are some techniques and styles that can accentuate and compliment all women of all sizes
Given all the lockdowns, there are fewer parties and weddings. How has the pandemic affected your brand?
It made us expand our production line to include bridal and a diffusion line (FLOBYHALA). Both were a great success and widened our customer base.
Ethics in fashion is of increasing importance. How do you ensure fair payment to all those in your production process?
We make sure our employees are paid fairly even higher than the market wages and that their families are living a decent life and their needs are being met.
What couture trends do you see for this year?
I don’t think it will revolve around complex, elaborate designs. I believe the focus will instead be on lightness instead of more traditional, heavily embroidered work.
Besides designing for larger women, what inspired your current collection?
It was the daily miracle of the ever changing colours of the horizon throughout the day and everyday. With the lockdowns and not being able to leave home, my daily gazing from my window into the ever changing sky inspired me.
Given the pandemic, where do you see couture’s future going?
I do think there will be a shift to semi couture and the need to have a faster production as situations are becoming very unpredictable with regards to production processes.
And what about your own brand? What future plans do you have for it?
For now we are concentrating on our two new lines and creating more brand awareness. We will be launching our new online store soon.
Follow Hala on Instagram @hala.almamari