Get To Know The Winner Of Rene Caovilla's First Middle Eastern Shoe Design Competition

Rene Caovilla, Ahad Bin Haider, The Dream Shoe, Shoe Design Competition
Ahad Bin Haider tells BAZAAR about her earliest shoe memories, what goes into creating beautiful footwear, and who she'd love to see wearing her shoe designs

Harper's BAZAAR Arabia: What was your first memory of shoes?

Ahad Bin Haider: I grew up watching my elegant mother wearing different designer heels but the ones that caught my eye were the Italian shoe brands. There was always something unique about them in terms of cuts, quality and design. I remember sneaking into her closet to play 'dress up' with her beautiful gowns and gorgeous shoes.

HBA: So, tell us how you got into shoe design? 

ABH: Well, believe it or not, I have never professionally designed a pair of shoes before I was chosen to join this competition by Tea Before Noon, a company that caters to helping Emirati talents collaborate with big brands. Being a fashion designer at Illustrella, a fashion brand owned by me and my two sisters - Afra and Alia Bin Haidar - I did not find it hard to complete my first shoe sketch. I am glad to have my sisters in my life who have helped me create this beautiful design. The mood board was full of elegance and femininity and it was all about the beautiful reflection of chandeliers, diamonds and crystals and how they grab attention. All of these elements have played an important role in shaping the beauty of this design.

HBA: What is your most treasured shoe to date?

ABH: I cannot name any specific piece that I own as different brands reflect one part of my personality. Disney cartoons, especially the Cinderella glass shoe is a dream for every girl and has played an important role in bringing out the beauty of this design. When I got this opportunity to design these shoes, I had flashbacks of my childhood and I thought about other girls in my generation who imagined ourselves as princesses with beautiful jewellery and sparkly shoes. This is where my sisters and I started to think of all the inspirational elements that were placed together to design this masterpiece. I can easily say that once this winning design comes to reality, it won’t just be the most treasured pair of shoes to me but to every elegant lady who has voted for this design. I cannot wait to own a pair of these magnificent 'Dream Shoes'.

HBA: How do you explain the love Middle Eastern women have for shoes?

ABH: Every pair of shoes that we as Middle Eastern women choose to buy, represents a side of our personalities - whether it’s edgy, chic, classy, simple, unique and many more. We care about two things: one comfort and second the beauty. I believe that Middle Eastern women are the most stylish women as they look for beauty everywhere and admire things that are limited edition or personalized. They love being in the spotlight and tend to collect beautiful shoes that match their personality.

HBA: What makes a good shoe design?

ABH: Primarily, shoe design should be based on the mechanical functionality of the human foot. The second thought always is how often you will be wearing these pair of shoes?  That is how you determine the choice of materials and structure of the shoes. It is true that it is all about the style and the look, but you should not compromise on comfort for your feet.

HBA: Who would you like to see wearing your designs?

ABH: From the Arab world, I would definitely start with Queen Rania of Jordan. Additionally, Ahlam Alshamsi, an Emirati Singer, Nadine Naseeb Njaim, a Lebanese actress and ex-Miss Lebanon and Egyptian Actress, Yasmeen Sabri.

Ahad's design will hit Rene Caovilla boutiques later this year and will be available exclusively in select boutiques in the Middle East for a duration of six months.


From the March 2019 Issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia 

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Rene Caovilla, Ahad Bin Haider, The Dream Shoe, Shoe Design Competition
Rene Caovilla, Ahad Bin Haider, The Dream Shoe, Shoe Design Competition