Emirati label Iam Mai is known for its minimalist take on modest wear. Founder Mai Al Budoor, a trained interior designer, describes her label as a “culmination of simplicity and curiosity.” Al Budoor never took the seasonal route of fashion – she designs capsule collections as she believes in timeless fashion. Known for her abayas and kaftans, she is mindful in her approach to design. Her latest collection for example, Re-experiment, uses principle of upcycling. The first edition of this series incorporates elements from Iam Mai’s previous collections, such as a top crafted entirely from unused belts and a black and cream abaya constructed from two unsold abayas. With many Arab designers now looking to incorporate this technique of repurposing into their collections, Al Budoor explains why upcycling is here to stay.
Q You have always presented capsule collections – why this approach to your label?
A Re-Experiment is my first capsule collection, as I always work with seasonal collections. This collection was inspired by the past year and how now is the time to act and incorporate steps that would be beneficial to the environment, no matter how small these steps may be.
Q Tell us about your this first drop of the Re-Experiment series – how many pieces are there in the collection and how do we buy these pieces?
A Re-Experiment is a capsule collection that focuses on the idea of reconstructing and repurposing archive styles into new one-of-a-kind pieces. It incorporates elements from previous seasons by reimagining them in a unique way. As the name suggests, the collection reimagines and re-experiments with existing styles to create something different. These are limited pieces and can be ordered directly through Instagram.
Q What does upcycling mean in fashion?
A In fashion, upcycling is a way to promote conscious fashion by reusing fabrics, embroidered elements and other details from previous pieces and shaping them into new, distinctive pieces.
Q Upcycling seems to be the sustainable fashion approach that a few designers in the Middle East have turned to of late. Why do you think there’s this new upcycling trend?
A As a designer, upcycling sparks creativity. It enables you to rethink conventional elements and create something completely different and exclusive. At the same time, the idea of upcycling promotes a more conscious approach to fashion, which I believe is something brands should partake in to help the environment.