Mahmoud Antar, the Syrian fashion designer and founder of Antarmode Haute Couture, has proven that hard work can result in rapid, overwhelming success. With him only starting to work in Cairo only 6 years ago, his brand has quickly flourished and he was even a member of the jury in Cairo Summer Fashion Show 2018. Freesia got to ask Antar all about his success and some details to help every bride as well!
What inspired you to choose fashion designing as a career? And when did you establish Antarmode?
Well, I started working in fabrics trade; trading all kinds of fabrics, then I started manufacturing fabric itself. Afterwards, I moved on to cloth manufacturing, and during this period, I gained more experience about designing. So, step by step, I started the career of designing soiree and bridal dresses. And by the age of 24 years, I took the first steps in Antarmode, which was in 1998.
By 2011, Antarmode had a branch in every Syrian city. How did you manage to achieve this success?
Success isn't achieved without targeting certain goals, and based on this, we set a policy for Antarmode. So first of all, we "costumered" the care we offer to our customers, making them feel like there’s a friendship between us and offering them hospitality from their very first step in our stores till we deliver them their dresses. What made Antarmode’s name unique as well are the materials used, from fabrics to yarns, straps and even zippers. Also, our competitive, well-studied prices and being up to date on fashion designs were all elements of our success.
You’ve dressed many celebrities such as the singer, Haidy Moussa. How did you manage to achieve such credibility among celebrities?
When we have a celebrity who wants to wear our designs, we put in mind some criteria, like the event itself and the occasion. And about the celebrity herself, we pick what fits her personality, her age and her skin-tone. So, at the end, the dress will reflect both, our image and hers.
You presented your latest bridal collection in Cairo Wedding Festival 2018. How was this experience?
In my opinion, each new step and each push is just a new experience to gain and learn from, whatever this step is; either a huge event, a fashion show, a wedding or even designing a simple dress. But let me say that Cairo Wedding Festival was a really great one. The happiness and dazzle I have seen in people's eyes were quite enough to make me feel satisfied. So, I called that collection "Royal Spring," and the comments I received from guests and people ensuring how it was a wonderful, royal night that was the real success for me.
Women are usually confused when it comes to picking the best wedding dress for them. What do you do to help them decide on a dress?
"LIFE-TIME DRESS," that’s how each girl feels about her bridal dress and that's truly right; she has the right to feel the Queen in her on her night and to be an unforgettable bride. So with these few points, we get the perfect dress:
- Bride's character and charisma.
- Wedding place; is it going to be indoors or outdoors?
- The ceremony itself; is it a big one or limited?
- Will the ceremony be during daytime or at night?
- The bride's body shape, height, skin-tone, hair color and style. For example, as designers, we design the perfect dress for the woman according to the height and size of her center.
What are the latest trends in bridal dresses?
Well, fashion is a wide world, but we should pick from it what suits us perfectly and not follow or copy blindly. So, as I mentioned before, the wedding dress is always a beautiful dream, therefore I advise every woman to pick the design that’s going to highlight her character the best and make her a unique, unforgettable bride. But as a hint, "old centuries" bridal dresses are very trendy.
You design dresses that suit hijab, too. Is it more important to you to reach internationality or to embrace your culture?
For me, I have to respect our Eastern culture and traditions and not ignore them, as our mission as designers is to make each woman’s identity appear either in hijab or any other style. And about internationality, a smart designer is that who imposes himself with his vision that would satisfy every taste and culture.
Antarmode has just recently launched its spring/summer 2018 collection and now exports products to various countries around the world such as the UAE and Macedonia. Antar is also planning on opening more branches in Egypt in Alexandria and 6 October City, not just in Cairo. So, one thing we’re sure about is that Antar with his brilliant talent and outstanding team, especially with Miss Egypt 2014, Heba Hesham, as his assistant, will continue to amaze us and we may see him in the frontlines of fashion very soon.