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Reem Alasadi

London designer Reem Alasadi is conquering Japan, Portobello and family life.

The Iraqi born, London raised Reem Alasadi is one of a handful of UK designers to whom the saying ‘Big in Japan’ can be used without irony. Not only one of the few UK designers to star at Tokyo Fashion Week A/W 09, originally entering the Japanese market in ’03, she’s also been a consultant for the likes of Robert Carey-Williams and Stella McCartney as well as a internationally renowned stylist. Whilst her eponymous label takes as much from Victoriana as it does vintage, Reem herself is a thoroughly modern in her mind set. From showing two collections in her single yearly shows to refusing to forego her Portobello stall, Reem’s trailblazing her own way in fashion. And it’s definitely working.
We catch up with this vixen of vintage to discuss Japan, kids and showing two seasons in a single show.

DD: Do you still have your stall in Portobello?
Reem Alasadi: Oh yes! I love it. Some people say that I must be mad no need to keep the stall, but, for me, I love the action of the hustle and bustle. It’s where you see the trends first. They always start from the street.

DD: You have a massive fanbase in Japan. How did this come about?
Reem Alasadi: I have been at Portobello Market for many years whilst consulting and styling also when I had the idea to start the brand REEM away from the UK. We went on holiday to Japan one year and that’s when I thought ‘Hey, this is where we need to be!’. The concept was fresh to Tokyo. A concept stall aiming for designers and stylists though it goes without saying the Japanese kids were amazing at dressing, so it took of from there.

DD: What have been your highlights thus far?
Reem Alasadi: Making it in Tokyo as Japan is probably the hardest cities to tap in to. But of course showing here in my home town is amazing. Oh, also having kids. This is the best achievement of all.

DD: Can you tell me more about your showing two seasons at a single run?  
Reem Alasadi: It makes more sense, these times, where the climate is changing; people are wearing cotton dresses in the winter, furs in the summer. We still sell twice a year, but only show once. I like to make one look for the year and then divide this in to two sales.

DD: You seem to have gotten unanimously great reviews from your show in JFW. How was it for you?
Reem Alasadi: Overwhelming, and an honour. What can I say, I love Japan and I’m glad Japan loves me.