A day In the life of Mena Hamoodi
CEO & Creative design director
Time with the company:
What is your morning routine?
I start my day at 5am, ready for the world and its offerings by making some hot water and lemon, then meditating with a yoga session, it’s very calming and liberating; both mentally and physically setting the right tone for the day for me. Followed by blending my daily fruit smoothie, reading a few chapters of poetry or news articles, drawing shapes/patterns from what I dreamed the night before, whilst setting targets to achieve by the end of the day.
How did you become involved with the fashion industry?
I was always determined to be part of couture, a re-defining culture that allows you to express and revolutionise modernity; I started very early in my career in fashion as my grandmother immersed me in the worlds of storytelling and poems that would inspire my designs and sketches for Haute Couture. I had my internship with DVF whilst in Art school, after I gathered all my designs and started knocking on luxury’s doors!
I was young and curious, being in London helped at the time and I later came back to finish my studies in Manchester and return to work again whilst in University, for the biggest names in luxury fashion today; Tom Ford and Ralph & Russo to name a few.
I was always working, learning and travelling. I still am, and that allows me to be part of different realities that stem my imagination, dreams and incept my own luxury house- MH Mena.
What is your main responsibility?
At MH Mena, I work through every creative and artistic point of the brand from couture to ready-to-wear. I do all the research, design and development of a collection so it is truly seamless, seasonal, that speaks within the attitudes of the times we live in. I also ensure the values and craftmanship of our brand.
What is your typical day like?
With the MH Mena brand growing, adapting and re-inventing during these times, there is no typical routine which is exactly what I love – each day is different! Of course I have my own regime and morning smoothie order that adds some element of routine to each day, but I am typically working on new projects for the brand where at the moment my office is my safe haven.
I like the viewpoint from that spot, and the freedom of sitting there alone with my imaginations. I find it useful and encouraging to have fascinating materials, paintings and literature around, especially while sketching for clients or new development projects.
By midday to late evening, I gather all my research/ designs and start collaborating with my team, whilst staying connected with my family and friends, who I don’t consider as only clients but part of my family.
What’s the best part of your job?
The research and designing for a client. Watching their fairytale unfold, when they try on for their very last fitting alongside the seamstresses. That cherished moment and smile we all share after the months of labour, care, love and creativity comes together into a beautiful piece that is finally worn and brought to life – like magic!
What’s the worst part of your job?
If there is one thing to be the worst it’s the seasonal design review for the couture collection where I have to pick and choose what’s in and what’s out- they’re all so beautiful! But it has to be done.
What’s your most memorable work moment?
I have had many great memories, but finally going solo and channeling my dreams in motion by establishing my luxury haute couture brand MH Mena, has been a dream come true of mine, and like my Grandmother always says, “Every dream starts with one small step at a time”. In my case it’s with a 5-inch stiletto heel at a time.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in the same profession?
Be patient and plant your seeds very early in the industry and work hard, especially with who inspires you the most; connect, contact and be curious – be in the know and now, so by the time you have grown a blossoming tree you can enjoy the fruits of your knowledge and labour later in life.
Tell us about the process
I mainly work on bespoke / haute couture pieces from daywear to cruise-wear, cocktail dresses to ball gowns and everything in between.
A bespoke piece typically needs at least 3 months in order to create a collection or piece. The (shortened) Journey of a bespoke haute couture piece starts with:
‘Booking a Consultation’ so we can arrange to meet our client or if necessary, we will host opportunities to do this via online too.
The meeting will include my seamstress or assistant who will accompany me to measure and support the design and consultation. This process helps us understand our client’s vision and lifestyle and most importantly starts a professional / friendship where my aim is to share a sisterly nature to their lives which inspires the next steps of design.
‘The cost’ is agreed, and the payment process begins.
We start creating the dress with the mannequin and toiling, we then meet our client again with the finished toile. Once everything is agreed (choice of fabric, fit etc…) We construct the dress in the fabrics & finishings and arrange a further fitting.
At the ‘Final Fitting’ an Illustration of the dress and look book is gifted to the client. I stay in regular contact with all our clients including the aftercare of their bespoke pieces. We are there whenever we are needed and for much more. We make sure our clients are part of our haute couture world in the friendliest and most exclusive way possible.
Please visit my website http://mhmena.com to find out more about what it is I do and to book a consultation. You can also request the current Look Book at https://mhmena.com/look-book/ to find inspiration for your next outfit.