Born and raised in Dubai, Basma Abu Ghazaleh attended North Eastern University in Boston, majoring in communications with a minor in sociology. She founded KAGE in 2009 with the vision of starting a brand that was contemporary, effortless and playful. Abu Ghazaleh has since go on to have both local and international success and is working on expanding the brand even further internationally.
L’Officiel Arabia: What motivated you to get into fashion design?
Basma Abu Ghazaleh: I’ve always had interest in the realm of fashion – I’m a creative person by nature so I enjoy the creative freedom designing brings. I was also at a point in my life where I wanted a change from the corporate life. It was while I was traveling in 2009 that I decided to launch KAGE – a defining moment that changed my life.
L'O: What is the story behind KAGE?
BAG: KAGE was formed to offer people quality, well-made designs that are timeless. The brand offers entry-level luxury merging both Middle East and Western influencers to make a unique hybrid – designed with modern, international customer in mind.
L'O: A sense of unruffled cool, with a compilation of effortless and easy-towear silhouettes are some of the signatures of your designs. How did you discover your style and what inspires you?
BAG: My style is somewhat playful and effortless. I love putting together different looks and mixing and matching different fabrics together. Many different things inspire me; it could be a film, an era in time or something as simple as a fabric. I also sometimes come across a chance thought that triggers my imagination and I find myself designing pieces in my mind.
L'O: How does KAGE help the environmental issues?
BAG: We decided to incorporate a selection of recyclable fabrics made from organic cotton within the collection. I believe as the conversation of climate change continues to garner global attention, and greater awareness is given to the cause, more and more people will look to see how they can make a change. We’re always setting new goals for ourselves and this move to incorporate sustainable fabrics is a step in the right direction on our journey to better our commitment to the environment. This was something that I felt strongly about and was a decision I made to help reduce our environmental footprint.
L'O: You have added jewelry to your clothing collection. Tell us more about it?
BAG: I’ve always loved fashion jewelry; it’s been something I’ve wanted to move into for some time now. It was all about timing and it felt right to introduce it when we did. The collection includes a range of statement earrings and dainty hairpins.
L'O: Do you have a favorite historical reference that you always return to?
BAG: I’m particularly drawn to the Art Deco period; the era has been a reference for many of my past collections. Bold, statement prints are intrinsic to the KAGE DNA and the Art Deco period does this very well.
L'O: Are there designers that you look up to?
BAG: There are many designers that I look up to who’ve become a source of inspiration to me. We’re very lucky to have so many talented designers past and present to inspire us.
L'O: Have you ever found it hard to achieve your goals as a woman?
BAG: I feel I’m given the same opportunities as my male counterparts, however there are always challenges in every industry and fashion in no different. It’s a highly competitive so you need to remain passionate and continually drive to better yourself and your brand.
L'O: What is your greatest strength?
BAG: I think my biggest strength is being extremely passionate about that I do. This is what drives me and motivates me in my work.
L'O: What are you currently reading? What do you love most about it?
BAG: With the current Covid 19 pandemic, I’m just constantly keeping up-to-date on current affairs with reading media articles and listening to podcasts whenever I can. BOF has been a great source.