“I love to shop. That is the honest truth,” confesses 46-year-old Emirati, Fatma Abduljalil Alfahim.
The mother-of-four is also the CEO of F7 Design, a Dubai-based online fashion destination which stocks a more avant-garde edit of designers, including her own namesake brand, F7 by Fatma. “I’ve always loved clothes as well as making my own designs. It all started from looking through fashion magazines and looking at pop stars such as Madonna and Sherihan.” In setting up F7 Design, Fatma hoped to introduce new and upcoming designers that you don’t tend to find in the region’s other multi-brand stores.
Fatma has cultivated a style which is in equal measures comfortable, daring and colourful. The former derives from her ability to know what suits, and dressing to fit an occasion, while the latter indulges her best-loved designers, such as Maison Margiela, Sacai and Marni. “These brands represent me,” she explains. She also frequents Dubai’s more luxury haunts including Bloomingdale’s, Harvey Nichols, Boutique 1 and Level Shoes, while F7 Designs, Net-a-Porter, Ounass and Asos cater for all her online needs.
Fatma admits to the occasional struggle when it comes to deciding what to wear, with her biggest challenge staying on trend without copying an entire look. Luckily Fatma’s daughters are on hand to make a call when she can’t. Mother to Khawla, 24, Rawdha, 22, and Lamya, six, Fatma also has a son, Mohammed, eight, and imparts the following advice to them when it comes to style: “Always be true to yourself, never be pressured into a trend or what everyone else is wearing at the moment.”
Accessories are a weakness, whilst “shoes are definitely one of my obsessions,” she laughs, listing everything from Converse and Adidas, to Miu Miu and Chanel in terms of favoured footwear, and a Cartier Panthère limited edition watch her most treasured piece of jewellery. “It was given to me as a gift by my father when I was 16,” she recalls. “It’s dear to my heart and reminds me of him. It’s a truly unique piece.” She adds her couture Gattinoni gown to her collectibles: “It was the first couture gown I wore and I still have it – it was like a piece of hand painted art work.”
Having been a designer most of her life, Fatma proves that passion often fuels success, and says that she is proud “to be able to do what I love the most, my true passion of design, whilst also being a mother to four beautiful children. I’m a mum and I still uphold a career that
I worked hard for... I’ve turned my dreams into reality.”
Fatma Abduljalil Alfahim wears F7 by Fatma abaya, vintage brooches, and Chanel watch, all her own.
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Teresa Karpinska. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Make-Up: Blowout&Go. With thanks to Hawa Hawa, La Mer