My Life In Fashion: Dima Ayad
My Life In Fashion: Dima Ayad

My Life In Fashion: Dima Ayad

Dima Ayad is a pioneering designer known for empowering women of all shapes and sizes. Blending Middle Eastern influences with contemporary style, her eponymous label is celebrated for its elegant pieces and diverse size range. Dima spoke to us about her journey so far, her current favourite pieces, and what the future holds…

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It all started one wedding season when I had nothing to wear. It felt like a Pretty Woman moment in every store I went to: they had nothing for me. So, I started designing and wearing my own pieces, and people started asking where they were from. I threw caution to the wind and launched a fashion label. And here we are – a need of mine has become a want of many.

Dima Ayad is a label for women of all shapes and sizes. Today, in an era when everything is available to us all of the time, many women struggle to find pieces in their size. The fashion world doesn’t cater for you if you’re a certain size. It is important to be clear about this: being size inclusive doesn’t mean we’re promoting obesity; it simply means that, whatever size you are, we believe you should be able to buy clothes, and especially well-made clothes that are desirable.

To the future generations of FASHION DESIGNERS, I’d like to say, as clichéd as it sounds, DO YOU.

I look towards timeless fashion for inspiration. It’s really everything to me. The Alber Elbaz era of Lanvin spoke about women in the most romantic of ways, and Rabih Kayrouz still speaks about women in the most romantic of ways. They tell a story, a beautiful one, and they drape fabric like a work of art. A Valentino gown also stands the test of time. It will never feel outdated. Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are women who feel timeless to me. Nadine Labaki, too.

My mother was the epitome of class and style. I grew up with these things, and they stuck with me. The women of the region love to dress up. They love the extravagant, the unique, the rare, the limited edition. This has totally shaped how I see fashion.


I’m currently obsessed with my sequin linen blazers. I think I’ve worn them at least 30 times. I create a version of a blazer season after season, and I try to make it ‘bling’ more often than not. They just elevate any basic look. My other go-to is a kaftan silhouette, which is a must for all seasons. Strapless and one-shoulder dresses are other favourite for me, as well as shades of metallics. 

I love creating something that can be worn over and over again. I played around with polka dots this season and I was really worried I would be bored of them by now – but no! I’m still into them. There’s also a stretchy lurex print that is making waves. I love it because it’s so easy to wear – I can see so many women rocking it all summer on their island getaways.

I broke the mould by designing in a 4XL and scaling down. This helps me ensure my designs suit as many people as possible. Everyone thinks a size-inclusive designer only caters for plus sizes. That’s incorrect. We sell just as much XS as we do 4XL in a given design. I’m very proud of that. It shows that if you carry the size, it will sell. 


Seeing one of my dresses at the Oscars this year was such a moment. I had no idea Nadia Stacey would be wearing Dima Ayad. To see her there in it, and win wearing it, was very special. I loved seeing Ashley Graham in my pieces, too.

What goes up will come down and vice versa. But a classic dress stands the test of time and the test of trends. I just keep going as I always have. This year, I expect to see the second season of my collaboration with Marina Rinaldi – it will be a summer eveningwear collection – as well as Dima Ayad retailing at Bicester Village in the UK. This has all come about due to the unwavering support of the Arab Fashion Council and Dubai Fashion Week's Mohammed Aqra, who work tirelessly to facilitate opportunities for us Arab designers all over the world. 

Please be you. To the future generations of fashion designers, I’d like to say, as clichéd as it sounds, do you. Celebrate the person you are, and know that the women buying your clothes don’t look like what you think they do. Our imperfections are what make us special.




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