By Shafiya Nawzer
Whether you prefer something simple or sleek, upscale or basic, casual wear is an open invitation to dress in what feels most comfortable to you. Rather than focusing on formalities, dressing casually is about finding the right balance between comfort, individuality, and style – think fashionable yet functional outfits. Fatima Zahra Guenfoud is 26-years of age and hails from Morocco. She is well known and called by everyone as Fatym. Currently living in Sri Lanka with her expat Indian husband; she came to the island in the year 2016.
At the initial stages of settling down, the culture shock made it an uphill task for her to adjust but with the support of her husband, she became comfortable and managed to make the most of it. Fashion for Fatym means identity, the first impression that recognises who you are. According to her it portrays what choices you make, your character, and what you believe and stands for. Also she admits, it gives a glimpse into someone’s personality; it’s about the differentiating factor, what makes an individual different to another. In keeping with her love for fashion, she recently launched her fashion line Fatym Collection. Her understanding of the taste of the modern woman is conveyed through every simple yet elegant collection. Excerpts from the interview:
How would you describe your world and style for people who don’t know you yet?
My world is quite simple just as is my style. I am not a fan of loud colours and fancy bedazzle. I keep it simple and chic, modest and elegant. I’m a diehard fan of neutral colours.
Tell us about your brand Fatym Collection and what led you to set up your clothing line?
Fatym Collection is a branch of Fatym Collective. Fatym Collection aims at bringing true fashion at affordable prices. Fashion that is modern, elegant, and active to suit today’s modern woman. All the designs at Fatym Collection have been carefully and meticulously designed maintaining the highest quality and at the same time ensuring form and presence.
The idea of starting my fashion line came up during the lockdown in 2020 when I was wondering what I can do to contribute to this nation. It was then that I realized that many of my followers on Instagram used to ask where I buy my clothes from. Many Sri Lankans have a good sense of style and being a potentially upcoming market with online shopping being the new norm, I decided to venture out into this industry. Coming from a finance background, I knew nothing about this industry but I was lucky enough that my husband had some knowledge of it and along with a good colleague of mine had guided me throughout my journey. This was my humble beginning!
You come from a diverse cultural background. How do you think that diversity of experience has inspired your vision behind your designs?
Embracing cultural diversity is what I practic for success. You must adapt to survive. Moroccans are somewhat westernised and so are most Sri Lankan’s so it was not difficult to understand each other’s taste in fashion. In the beginning, apart from family, I did not have any Sri Lankan friends but then slowly but surely I happened to connect with lovely people who inspired me to launch products that would be well suited for today’s Lankan woman.
What makes Fatym Collection clothes different from others?
Fatym Collection’s exclusivity lies in its unique design, patterns, and colours. I choose the colours that I like and would wear and fabrics that I like and would wear. So I can say that Fatym Collection is an image of me and my style.
As an online store, you use social media to promote your business. How successful has it been for you; any advice on how businesses can use social media to promote themselves?
Social media and online shopping as I mentioned before are the New Norm. Most people do not have the time and patience to go into a store and pick up something. Social media today is the most powerful tool to publicise and market your product/talent/skill and be known to the world. Practically everyone owns a smartphone now and is online either shopping or on social media so leveraging your brand via this media couldn’t get any better.
It’s cost-effective, practical, and safe too given the current pandemic the world suffers from. I have been using social media for Fatym Cosmetics and owing to its success was another reason why I branched out into the online fashion industry as well
Being a fashion blogger you are often portrayed as being glamorous. However, when you were starting your business on your own, creating your designs, trying to make sales, and contact potential new clients, how did you motivate yourself?
Being a fashion blogger is no easy task as well. Success comes through hard work and determination. If you need to build yourself and portray the same in your brand you need to put in the effort and extra hours.
If your brand succeeds, you succeed. This is not a 9-5 job; it’s a 24-hour job till you reach your goals. This go-getter hardworking attitude was what I learned from my husband who works round the clock managing his business, his job as well as my work.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want them to feel confident, like their second skin, I want them to know and feel that they are beautiful, important, glamorous, and classy. I want them to feel that they have made a good choice and that we are here to stay and serve you to the best of our abilities.
What are your future plans for your brand?
I would someday like Fatym Collection to go international and see my brand name displayed across the world.