Column Hills and Gemstones - L'O meets Fatmah Hussain

Fatmah Hussain, Creative Director at CARAT speaks with Tanja Beljanski
Fatmah Hussain, Creative Director at CARAT

Launched in November 2019, CARAT is a luxury footwear brand which combines Italian craftsmanship with Kuwaiti flair. Created by Kuwaiti designer Fatmah Hussain, Carat is poised to be the new IT brand all the fashionable girls will be strutting in. Popular regional fashionistas like Jessica Kahawaty, Alice Abdelaziz and Esraa Al Hajeri have already styled their pair of CARAT footwear, radiating uber-chic vibes. The shoes are handcrafted in Italy under the best manufacturer and finished off with a signature synthetic ruby engraved on each pair – this is what defines CARAT.

The debut collection of heels, mules and flats offer aesthetic excellence for women who wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfection in every pair of shoes. CARAT has boasted several sold out pieces within just three weeks after it has been launched. Evoking boldness and feminine allure, CARAT’s silhouette is easily recognized in this collection, from the architectural heels to the folding effect achieved from the manipulation of leather. It is clear that CARAT was created for women with distinctive taste.

CARAT heels are designed by skilled artisans and crafted using premium quality Italian leather incorporating semi-precious gemstones, creating pieces that are made to last long and impress.

“I’ve always had a special relationship with fashion especially shoes, it provided me with a platform to create art. With the launch of CARAT, I wanted to transform shoes in any form, be it high heels or flats to wearable art so the individuality of the women wear them can shine through” says Fatmah Hussain, Creative Director of CARAT.

With over a decade of experience working in the oil industry, Fatmah viewed fashion as a daily inspiration. After realizing her passion and talent for finding the finest fashion designs, Fatmah travelled to Italy and trained in a prestigious private school while she was there. During her training, she learnt the sought-after secrets of iconic Italian footwear and infused that knowledge with a touch of her very own cultural influences and personal style.

How would you describe yourself?

FH: If there is one word that could describe me, it would be “ambitious”. I am a mother of 3 boys, happily married to my best friend. I possess a Bachelors degree in Geoscience and a Masters degree in Petroleum Engineering & Geoscience. I started working at the Kuwait Oil Company in 2008 & still do so.

With the professional background in oil industry, hoe did you come up with the idea of creating your luxury footwear brand?

FH: I have always had a passion for fashion, especially for footwear. I guess all ladies do, right? At a certain point of my life I wanted to transform this passion into a profession. So, I followed my heart to Italy where I acquired customized sessions to build my foundation in the footwear industry and here I am.

You were schooled in Italy. Please tell us which private school it was, and what is the most valuable thing you learned there.

FH: I studied at the Arsutoria School Ltd. based in Milan, where I attended tailored private sessions to cope with my busy work schedule. I believe the most stimulating learning aspect that caught my interest was about the important elements needed to create a comfortable stable pair of shoes. It became a motivation for me to design the collection implementing optimum comfort along with an impressive silhouette. 

'Roman' with a column heel

What is the story behind your designs?

FH: My designs simply represent me. I like to combine classic designs with a creative twist of my own. The idea is to create a pair of shoes that compliments an outfit without taking the attention away from the person wearing it. You will find an attractive element in every piece; either a sleek architectural design or a statement heel, there is always a unique feature.

Are there designers you always look up to?

FH: There are many actually! But out of the most, I admire the boldness of Giuseppe Zanotti, the creativity of Sophia Webster and the functionality of Martina Grasselli “Coliac”.

How did you design your first collection?

FH: It began with one design. The whole collection started when I created the Column heel, then one design after another it just came through my mind and I kept drawing. I see my pieces as a polished army that has come from an ancient time to rock this era.  

Please tell us more about your debut collection.

FH: The collection consists of 4 designs: 2 flats and 2 heels. All of them have been manufactured using authentic patent leather, with each design having a synthetic ruby stone engraved in its bottom outsole which represents CARAT’s brand signature. Even though it is a fall/winter collection, I would describe it as a non-seasonal collection that can be worn all day and for any occasion.

CARAT, 'Roman' heels that feature a column heel and the 'Joy' flats

TB: A key piece?

FH: The “Roman” heels that feature a column heel and the “Joy” flats.

TB: How will you develop brand communication? 

FH: CARAT is intended to be the go-to brand for all women who want to look and feel fashionable. Therefore, all the brand communication is crafted and developed to reach the target audience through key publications and social media platforms considering that CARAT currently operates through its website only. 

TB: What makes your shoes unique?

FH: I believe that the combination of unique designs, comfort and high quality of craftsmanship sets CARAT apart from the rest.

CARAT, 'Joy' gold

What does your usual working day look like?

FH: It is kind of a busy schedule. After I finish my work in the oil company, the designer mom comes to life. I spend quality time with my kids & family for a couple hours, then I rush into my laptop to work or attend urgent meetings. But I always manage to find an hour for some “me-time” to recharge my power.

What is your favorite art history period and why?

FH: There is beauty in every period of history, but I was inspired by Ancient Greek art the most. It represented a perfection in art aiming to represent ultimate beauty and harmony, through their architectural buildings, the delicately carved headpieces and sculptures. 

What is your favorite fashion trend of all time?

FH: Trench coats & Mom Jeans.

CARAT, 'Louis' flats

What would you never wear?

FH: There are no “Don’ts” in my dictionary. I’d wear anything that feels comfortable and makes me happy.

What’s a good book on your coffee table right now?

FH: “Change your life in 7 days” by Paul McKenna.


* This story first appeared in the April 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.

Author: Tanja Beljanski