Twenty nine year old Zaki graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business from Modern Sciences and Arts University, but he was yet to find his calling in life.
He was always an ambitious man looking for different ideas to find a way to unleash hidden talents. When he wanted to try his hand in fashion, he decided to go to Milan, recognised internationally as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals, for an intensive course in pattern making,
After mastering all the techniques required in making a perfect dress, he established a studio and showroom in his grandmother’s apartment and launched his first collection in 2011 that included 14 designs. To his surprise, his designs were a sell out. His second collection was also another hit.
In 2015, he launched his third catwalk collection at the Meridian Hotel which included 33 of his new designs, and once more, most of the dresses were taken. “All the attendees were super impressed, especially with the quality finish,” he says.
Fashion design wasn’t on his list of careers, but from the start, he knew that he had the heart for anything creative. “I always loved creating stuff with my own hands, I even love designing furniture and sculpturing, but I didn’t have fashion in mind, it was more like a decision and choice rather than a realization or a growing passion… I believe that I have the talent and imagination for anything that requires creativity. I know that If I focus my energy on anything, I will excel in it.”
Rafik aims at making dresses that perfectly fit the body shape, skin tone, style and character of each woman that comes into his studio. “I like to make women feel sexy, confident and happy with my designs, as that is all that counts. I try to create something that is unique and special about each and every dress,” he says.
He admits that the cut and finish of each dress are the two main things he always gets complemented on, apart from the out of the box designs. “My clients are always surprised when they come in for the first fitting and find that the dress fits them perfectly, and many say, ‘I can’t believe this is the first fitting and the dress is almost done!’ and that’s something I take pride in.”
Clients usually give Zaki some broad details on how they want the dress to look like and then leave him to work his magic in the design. “The design phase is actually my favorite part, as this is were all the magic happens.” Then the execution part begins where he shapes the dress on pattern paper, then his team of four people do the sewing, and one of Zaki’s favorite phases is when he gets to cover up the dress with accessories or any other finishing fabric. “Lace and beaded lace are actually my favorite, I love all shapes and colors of lace, its just super classy and makes the dress more appealing and brings the dress to life.”
Being the creative mind that he is, Zaki always manages to create beauty wherever he goes. “I can make any woman with any character and body shape a perfect dress that suits her completely, and bring out the best in her while hiding her flaws. I don’t pick who wears my dresses (unlike many others), I take every dress order as a new challenge.”
Zaki mainly focuses on evening gowns as, “They offer an open end line of thought for designs. I can play around with the design and fabric, and can change everything and anything and come up with a unique dress every single time.”
The main obstacle that Zaki faces is finding skilled tailors, even if they are qualified, for, as a perfectionist, he still finds the need to train them to exactly the way he wants his clothes to be. “I want my dresses to be beyond perfect always.”
As for the future of Rafik Zaki, we see nothing but growing phenomenon, as he is currently working on a bridal collection that he says is cutting edge and, “Not like anything you have ever seen before, or at least not the usual stuff you see these days.”
When we asked him what is next, he says that he wishes to expand his line to include jewelry, handbags and shoes in the future. He also wishes to have “a chain of stores under the name, Rafik Zaki designs all over the world.”
Check his collection on www.facebook.com/RafikZakiDesigns