Tahani Albrahim just graduated from Oregon State Univerity with a degee in merchandising management and apparel design. She came to the United States from Saudi Arabi 5 years ago and just recently won the award for best overall collection in OSU's Spring fashion show, Eleven. I had the oppertunity to sit down and have a chat with her. Read on to find out what her inspirations and goals are.
What made you want to come to Oregon?
I didn't get the chance to complete my higher education there (Saudi Arabia). There is a rule where your certificate gets expired three years after your high school graduation if you don’t enter another school. I faced some problems so I couldn’t get into school right after high school. So after 12 years, I came by on my own. I paid one term and then after I got a higher GPA, I applied for the scholarship through my embassy. I wasn’t sure if they would accept me as a fashion major because in my country there is no such major. But I saw that they did have an apparel option. So I searched for a school near by and found OSU.
How she felt when she won the award for Best Overall Collection:
"It was amazing; a unique feeling. I’ve past by difficult times through my life before I came here to follow my dream. WhenI first started my presentation (during the judging round), I told them (judges) about my collection. I said it was about my journey. About leaving her loved people and her memories to follow her dream. And seeing my dream come true, it was the biggest moment of my life. I show people that I could do it and I deserve it."
What was your inspiration for the collection ‘Oriental Spirit?’
The collection is telling my journey from home to here. I get my inspiration from my background culture; from the furniture, textile and jewelry. For my culture they use to have multiple colors and backgrounds matched together in one piece. They did it because they didn’t have enough material to complete one piece but there’s beauty in it. So I found that it was unique to use this technique because I want my garment to look unique. My customer is unique and special. She isn’t afraid to try something new and different. And this is my first collection, can you believe it? It was so scary because I was afraid of showing people my collection.
What are your plans after graduation?
I graduate this term and so I’m going to go home after that. Maybe out there, I could start my own brand and have my own collection out there. The fashion taste of people out there is different then over here. But my idea to be a fashion designer is to work more with the higher level designers. That is why I was hesitating starting my collection and participating because I didn't want it to look too different than others, but I just took a chance.