Casa Johara is a unique, luxury, ready-to-wear fashion label launched in January 2020 by Qatari-Mexican designer, Johara Al- Suwaidi. To celebrate the launch of her new collection, La Colección Insijam, Ms. Al-Suwaidi graciously agreed to take some time to answer a few questions about her business and the inspiration behind it.
Tell us about your role in the creation of the Casa Johara, or ’Casa J’, label and what inspired it.
I am the founder and Creative Director of this local Qatari fashion label – so I conceptualize and create each of our unique designs for every collection. My ultimate inspiration for creating Casa Johara came, of course, from my love for all things art and design, but also from my personal mantra and ultimate goal, ‘dare to be you.’ I always strive to live authentically, and I wanted to build something that would empower people to be and to love themselves as they are.
What are the messages behind this fashion line?
Fashion for a purpose, enhancing family bonds, and empowering one another – these are all things I believe strongly in and want my label to stand for. I will be honest that it has taken courage to bring myself on this journey and my hope is to be able to inspire and support others to pursue their own passions and growth. I want my work to help pave the way for men and women to create a truly authentic society, adapting and evolving social norms to meet the challenges and needs of today's new era.
But, Casa Johara is also an extension of my desire to be able to connect to the world on a larger scale – to promote and implement what I truly believe could make a positive impact on the world – through my love for art and design. Two ways my business strives to make a positive impact is through practicing zero waste and recycling as much possible and by implementing cruelty-free business practices by not using animal products.
In terms of the big picture, how does Casa Johara impact and implement your vision for the future?
My goals are all about connection, to the earth and to each other. I love being able to create opportunities for fun family bonds through fashion by providing beautiful, luxurious designs for children and adults alike. And, of course, as a female entrepreneur, I believe strongly that a truly authentic, equitable future depends on individuals and society empowering women regardless of ethnic backgrounds. By building this company, I hope to serve as an example of what women can create in this world, hopefully inspiring other women to reach for their goals as well.
Tell us about your new collection for 2021.
The mantra of this collection is “Empowering One Woman At A Time”, so La Colección Insijam consists of 6 designs for women and 6 for little girls. Like all my collections, this line includes unique hand-made details so each piece is truly one of a kind. I focused on incorporating silhouettes that complement the female figure without sacrificing comfort, providing women with a sensible and sensual “everyday couture” option.
Consisting of Kaftans, Sirwal Jumpsuits, and Sportive Jumpsuits, this collection is built on the concept of 'twinning' designs, made for a fun 'Mommy and Me' (or ‘Big Sister or Aunty and Me’) fashion experience. But I also strove to make the designs simple and accessible enough that any woman of any cultural background could enjoy these comfortable, classic pieces. This collection is fun yet luxurious, and supports green and cruelty-free initiatives so every woman can feel confident inside and out.
As for the themes behind my designs, nature has always been a great inspiration throughout all my travels. The moon, the sun, and the ocean were the primary motifs of the collection. I incorporated my Qatari-Mexican background and used it as a lens through which to reinterpret these archetypal elements in a modern context. The color palette is inspired by Qatar’s undiscovered nature. The sunset, the moon, and the ocean.
How did you come up with the name for this collection? What does it mean to you?
The words ‘La Colección’ are Spanish for ‘The Collection,’ and the Arabic word, ‘Insijam’ means ‘Harmony.’ To embody the concept of 'Insijam' has always been my aim in approaching life. My goal was for this collection to reflect the perfect ‘Insijam’ of myself and my culture. Combining the grace and beauty of my natural surroundings here in Qatar, the love and importance of familial bonds, and the honor and responsibility we all have to our environment and society. Together, these things reflect my ideal 'Insijam' or harmonious life.