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6Qs with Fashion Designer Dalia Ghanem //

01.01.10
byMarwa Helal

IMG_3932With shirts that boast, “Party like Iraq star,” “got falafel?” and the classic,”Yallah…bye,” you’ll definitely want to say, “Yalla…hi,” to Fashion Designer Dalia Ghanem who just celebrated five years in business with t-shirtat. As one of the sayings on her t-shirts goes, “When life hands you fava beans…make foul medames.” She tells FEN how she did just that when she got laid off and started her own company.

STATS
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
Favorite Arabic Singer: Um Kalthoum
Favorite Design Tool: Hands

1. How did t-shirtat come about?
It came about when I was laid off from my job and had time to be creative. I noticed there were no positive messages for the Arab community and the t-shirt trend was really growing. I decided to incorporate trendy t-shirts with Middle Eastern and Western pop culture to showcase a lighthearted representation of our culture.

2. When did you get into fashion and why?
I had no idea I would be working in the fashion industry. All I knew is that I wanted to study art, my family encouraged me and eventually I found a liking to textile design. I found myself creating fine art with fabric as a medium and I also studied graphic design. My first job was in the textile industry and eventually I began working for fashion companies.

3. Where do you get the ideas for your t-shirts?
Sometimes they come randomly and sometimes I get inspired from everything around me including songs, movies and various elements from the Arab and American cultures.

4. T-shirtat has been going for five years now, what have been the highs and lows?
The highs have always been the positive feedback and randomly finding an article about my t-shirts in an Egyptian gossip magazine (Kalam el Nas) while visiting. I haven’t experienced too many lows to complain about.

5. If you could pick one spokesperson or brand model for t-shirtat, who would it be and why?
I would love to have Fares Karam be a spokesperson because he finds humor in our culture. One of my designs was based on his song, “Neswanji.”

6. Any chance of expanding into other apparel — if so, what?
I would like to expand into pajamas and hats.



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