Interview with designer Leila Rose Faddoul (LF), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design The Kameleon Adaptable Clothing.

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Interview with Leila Rose Faddoul at Wednesday 16th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
LF : The Kameleon was designed for travellers whilst on a global adventure myself! Discovered a real need for stylish adaptable clothing for travellers. The Kameleon began whilst picnicking in New Zealand. I desired to just sit as I wished and felt restricted by my dress. I had a Eureka moment and I thought ‘what if I added buttons to the hem’ I grabbed some buttons sewed them on and closed up my dress. I pulled it down to form trousers then I just couldn’t stop flipping it all sorts of ways.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
LF : I wanted to provide a solution. A real solution for traveller’s so they can have an item of clothing that can adapt to all of their needs. It was equally important that we did this in a sustainable way.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
LF : We would love to distribute the Kameleon to many more people. We are looking for shops, investors and distributors that would like to work with us.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
LF : It was actually a long process, about one year.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
LF : It was definitely an inspiration! I had the idea to make the Kameleon, it was only then I learnt how to design, create patterns and sew a prototype.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
LF : No we are not planning to sell the Kameleon design, we are however looking for investors in our company, and we are planning to scale and grow

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
LF : I love travelling and I love clothing. Traveller’s need clothing that adapts to all their needs, and we are passionate about creating these products.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
LF : I am inspired by African prints and designing in Madagascar I thought it would be beautiful to combine African prints in everyday clothing. In the future we hope to create our own prints inspired by different cultures and environments.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
LF : 18-35 year old travellers and urban people

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
LF : It is one garment that can be worn in 52 outfits. The outfits vary meaning you can wear in such different situations formal dressy or casual.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
LF : The Kameleon was inspired by Chameleons, an amazing creature that can always change and adapt to its environment. This is what travellers desire to do adapt to where they are.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
LF : To design the garment, simple hand drawn pattern techniques were used, multiple prototypes were made before coming to the final product. The 52 way guide was entirely hand drawn, scanned, then photoshopped and coloured it was a lengthy process completed by Pieter and Michella.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
LF : The adaptability

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
LF : Pieter Baan a graphic and concept designer Michela Ramitomboson Illustrator

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
LF : The fabric is made from 100% bamboo, this fabric is produced using specialised techniques in China. The buttons are made from a traditional material, cow horn however they are produced using specialised mould techniques and lazer engraving for our logo.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
LF : Qualitative market Research: Kameleon tested by travellers Objective: Does the Kameleon provide a solution for traveller’s clothing Methodology: 10 travellers wore and tested the Kameleon on their trip Data collection: Photos and product reviews made by participants Results: Prototype improved with feedback Impact: Kameleon designed and improved by real travellers, resulting in a perfectly adapted product.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
LF : We are based most of the year in Madagascar. It is one go the poorest countries in the world. The biggest challenge has been import of raw materials and export of finished products due to complicated procedures. This process works most smoothly working in total partnership with the factories that are respecting local laws.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
LF : We found ourselves being a small fish in such a big ocean and we desired to make our product known. We thought entering the competition could be an amazing opportunity and we are so honored to be a winner.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
LF : Wow, I have learnt huge amounts, this was the first product I designed so the learning has been exponential. The design really developed as time went by, we found 20 ways to wear the Kameleon and now there are 52. It hasn’t stopped there as we have had customers finding even more ways, and that is what it’s all about! People want to be creative, with our product everyday people can feel like a fashion designer!