Designer Sahar Dada's work considers the beauty dwelling in and around the intersection of cultures and explores how fashion influences power. Dada's garments express a unique hybrid of cultures, part of her secret to creating new forms.
Muslim women have always had power, weather you look back to the time of The Prophet and his wife Khadija as a strong business woman, or if you look at current Muslim women such as Queen Rania. I believe that we have enough power to enable change in this world, especially because we have resources such as equal education and technology available to us as times have evolved. It is not necessarily about being liberal or conservative as a fashion designer that makes me feel powerful. Providing a fashion-forward solution for all types of women, including Muslims, and the possibility of influencing how they perceive themselves in a positive way embodies that power.
Feeling powerful comes from pushing the limitations of “normal." Pursuing a career in the art industry isn’t exactly the path taken for many Pakistani Muslim women. Taking my dream and making it a reality is what makes me feel that I can influence others. It is great to see the older generation accepting this career choice and the younger generation being inspired by it. Starting a career in the fashion industry was something I decided to pursue at the age of eighteen which was exactly ten years ago. Currently, I have been featured in many publications of my hometown (Chicago) and have sat in my second year of residency as an Associate Designer for the Macy’s Chicago Fashion Incubator program. I have also expanded my business to New York and Dubai during my career.That is something I may have not been able to do if I didn’t believe that Muslim women could be powerful and accomplish what they really wanted. I don’t create keeping in mind what is modest. I create what I think is beautiful. My designs are an inspiration of my roots. Being modest means something different to everyone, by being able to fit the mold of different perceptions is what power feels like to me.
The photos I am submitting are from the Gold Collection. This was a series of hand embellished and stitched couture evening gowns. These pieces are available for bespoke versions for clients. These pieces were created over a span of six months. The process started with creating mood boards, color stories and sketches. The theme behind this collection was to embody “art as fashion” and “fashion as art”. After many prototypes these pieces came to life through production overseas and in Chicago. The fabrics used are silks and chiffons in black, jewel tones and pastels. All my collections are a series of fifteen-twenty evening wear pieces that are made to measure for clients. I am inspired not only by my South Asian roots, but everyday life which includes: music, art, family, comfort, fluidity, nature, women, and current trends.