Design Grad Creates Fashion Inspired By Morocco
We recently chatted with FIDM Design Graduate and L.A.-based designer Mina Binebine, who creates Morrocan-inspired fashion.
Where were you born and raised? I was born in New York, but we didn’t stay there very long. At the time, my father’s job made it so that we had to move quite often. When I turned five, we left for Paris where we lived for a couple of years until my parents finally decided to go back to their hometown, Marrakech, in Morocco, where they wanted me and my sisters to connect with our roots. I stayed and studied there until I left for university in 2013.
How did you hear about FIDM? FIDM was always one of my dream schools ever since I started exploring fashion design professionally. Once I got accepted to the San Diego campus, it became a no-brainer as I had the opportunity to attend my first choice school in a city where I had family, which made the transition from leaving home much easier and seamless. I later moved to Los Angeles in order to finish my studies, and I can’t see myself living anywhere else now.
Which degrees did you receive from FIDM? I graduated with an A.A. degree in Fashion Design, and then followed up with a B.A. degree in Design.
Tell us about your self-titled collection. Who do you design for? The first collection was still a phase of discovery and experimentation for me. I wanted to work using fashion design techniques and fabrics that I was unaccustomed with in order to spark creativity and refine my skills. Shortly before Christmas, when I was back home in Morocco, I decided to go to the old city (Medina) of Marrakech, where I started hunting for traditional textiles made by local artisans that would help me represent my country’s colors and traditions in what became the first pieces of this collection.
How else has Morocco inspired your designs? I lived in Marrakech, the red city, where one can only be inspired by its bright colors and exceptional artistic scene. I grew up in the middle of traditional Moroccan art, where I learned to dance, to play music, and especially to appreciate what makes us so unique. Having bathed in this environment in Morocco, in Africa, I wanted to share with the world my love for my culture, my country, and my city. My roots make my personality.
We heard you had a big fashion show last month in Hollywood. The fashion show was the product of several months of work, between designing the outfits, casting the models, and the whole organization of the show. For me, it was a magical experience that I had the honor to share with the over 300 attendees, but especially with my little sisters, my mom, and my uncles who came from far away to see it.
What are your hopes for the future of your line? Creating a brand is a long process and I don’t want to skip any crucial step. I am lucky to be surrounded with an amazing group of people that help me balance immediate strategies and opportunities with long-term goals. For the past couple of weeks, we have been working towards the opening of an upcoming pop-up shop in Los Angeles. This is a very exciting new challenge for me, and although I cannot disclose all the details as of yet, I cannot wait to share this experience with everyone.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your work and career? FIDM taught me all the technical aspects of the industry, and without the knowledge and skills I acquired there, I would have never have been able to nor be confident enough to start my own brand. During my time there, I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the most talented people in the fashion design world, who truly operate like a family and offer you all the necessary advice and experience to help you, whether that’d be personal or professional.
What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do? The only advice I can give at this stage is to just start. There seems to be this intense pressure when starting a new project to do many different things, do them fast, and execute them to perfection. Consequently, we end up refining them over and over again and just never dare to present them to the world, or never even start. Mistakes and failures are unavoidable, however, they are also the best opportunities for us to learn and improve. So just chose one thing and do it from start to finish. It doesn’t have to be perfect and there will always be time to improve and expand later.
Visit minabinebine.com to learn more.