Fatimah Hussain is the designer and founder of Ari London. Our Pirouette One to Watch Award winner from Dot to Dot London believes that luxury and sustainability are qualities that should go hand in hand. An attitude that the big luxury labels seem to continue in having a selective approach to. Fatima has two design/production studios, one in the heart of London, the other in Scotland, both providing flexible working for the production workers. This is a young luxury label with clean lines, sustainable, sophisticated fabric and a boss that wants to challenge the norm. Lets meet Fatimah and find out more….
How many individuals make up Ari London and what are your roles?
I created the label and launched ARI at the beginning of 2018, we now have a team of 5 who work in the ARI studio producing the collection whilst I focus on designing and the fabric sourcing. My daughter Ariana (4) enjoys getting involved with fittings and trying on new designs.
What is your background? How did you get into designing for the children’s market?
I have worked in fashion for most of my career whilst in Europe and Dubai, but before that I lived in Denmark whilst training with the Danish Olympic team. I’ve had horses since I was 4 and since I can remember my focus was a melange of creativity and dedication to competing as a dressage rider in the international arena. My equestrian career ended due to injury and so I decided to follow my passion for design. My career history has been focused on textile design and garment production so it was inevitable that my love for luxury fabric should evolve and move forward into the design of garments. My passion for embellishment will be shown in future collections, adding another element of design, dreaminess and inspiration to the pieces.
What do you believe good children’s design to be…?
I believe fashion and in particular children’s fashion should be unapologetic. Childhood is so precious and full of discovery, a time of adventure so I think clothing should be brave, borderless and innovative. There should be no rules or lines to colour within. Our clothes as children and adults should allow us as individuals to move and think with integrity and courage.
Where do you find the inspiration for your collections?
I see inspiration all around me, when I close my eyes I see endless creations my mind goes wild with new designs, techniques and colours. I’m especially inspired by sound and most of my sketches are created whilst listing to great piano pieces such as Sam and Sam by Harold O’Neal and Time by Joe Alexander Shepherd. The different notes and sounds influence the shape of the garment and the textures, I can imagine the garment being worn to the music and the emotion and mood it creates whilst worn.
What is your companies ethos?
ARI is focused on a fashion revolution. A movement striving for production transparency, working with local artisans, creating contemporary and flexible workplaces and combining luxury with sustainability. We look to remaster design whilst revitalising traditional techniques to ensure craftmanship is core during the design and development process.
Describe your range of products?
ARI is a Prêt-À-Couture label so we design contemporary and thought provoking garments that are instantly recognised as unique due to the detail that is usually only seen on haute couture garments. Our use of fabrics and textures are key to the simplicity of our designs, you will find subtle details such as piped scalloped edges, silk linings, delicate frills and a colour palette of pastles and nudes. The sophistication and focus on shape and simplicity has not been seen so much in the childresnwear sector, so it’s great to be focusing on this aspect of the design.
What are the main materials you use?
We travel worldwide to discover and source beautiful and ethically made fabrics including soft organic cottons, innovative recycled textures and luxurious sustainable silks. Those are combined with hand embellishments, unique and contemporary in design.
In how many countries can we find your label?
We are now accepting wholesale orders so our capsule collection will be available to buyers worldwide from Spring 19
Countries of manufacturing?
All design and production takes place in the ARI studio here in the UK. We are very unique to be producing in-house thus allowing us to produce the collection with a sustainable approach. Our tags are hand-signed and dated by the artisan who made that garment so our customers can understand the story of each piece.
Where would you like to take the label in the future?
I would like to expand the collection size, and offer our buyers more embellished garments. I will be travelling more to source unique fabrics and incorporate those into new designs. Shortly we will be offering the collection in older sizes. Our current size range is 1-7 years old.
Any news from when we last spoke?
We have added new designs to the collection which we will be doing more of throughout the year. I believe in trans-seasonal collections that are available all year round, This is a more sustainable method of producing fashion and allows children to be more creative in what they wear.
Tatler featured us in the Royal Wedding issue.
ARI London has showcased the capsuple collection at MINI MODE on the 15th September, garments from our capsule collection were on the runway, as well as limited hand-embellished designs.
Three words to describe your next collection?
Ethereal, fearless and intuitive.
Finally, where do you keep your Pirouette One to Watch ’Spyglass’ award?
The spyglass is now one of Ariana’s favourite toys and can be found nestled in her basket bag or with her gang of cuddly toys by the bed.
Ari London – website