MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) — A Memphis fashion designer is attracting worldwide attention for her work that fuses cultural traditions with contemporary trends.
From an early age, Lina Dweik was passionate about fashion.
“Growing up I was always into fashion, I was nominated for best dressed in high school,” Dweik said.
But as a Palestinian-American growing up in Memphis, Dweik struggled to balance style and substance.
“I want to be modest; I want to stay true to my values, and that’s just a preference for me,” Dweik said.
That’s why, after graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Memphis, she decided to design clothes that matched her state of mind – modern and modest.
“I really took it upon myself to immerse myself in this world of fashion and combine modesty and create something that had really never been created before,” Dweik said.
Dweik learned to draw, research fabrics and process patterns, and in June 2021, she officially launched her own fashion brand called Lina Dweik.
Lina gave Action News 5 a sneak peek at her debut collection, the “Empress” collection, designed to make women feel majestic and regal.
From regal designs to bright colors, Dweik says there’s something for everyone.
“You can wear them over pants, you can wear them over a skirt, or you can wear them with the paired skirt I created here,” Dweik explained.
The designer says getting her business started hasn’t been easy considering she launched a brand in the midst of a pandemic.
“It’s definitely been a journey and going through it with COVID definitely made it 10 times harder and created a lot of hurdles, but I think it also gave me that time to sit down and think about things. and take that time to learn,” Dweik Mentioned
She says she is grateful to her family who have supported her through the ups and downs.
“She comes from her culture, her background — making things work for the American way of doing things,” Dweik’s husband, Arafat Melhem, said.
Dweik’s 5-year-old daughter Layla, who has a dress named after her in Lina’s debut collection, says she, too, is inspired by her mother.
“It teaches me that if something tries to stop me, I’m never going to stop and keep going,” Layla said.
Dweik was featured at Turin Fashion Week 2021 in Italy and received a proclamation from Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris while working on her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
She says she wants to combine her two favorite things – people and fashion – to make a difference in people’s lives.
“I really want people to know that it’s okay to be different and to stand out and doing something you’re passionate about can be different at first, it’s not always easy,” Dweik said.
But if you have that passion, you have that vision – never be afraid to be yourself,” Dweik said.
As for what’s next, Dweik says her spring collection will be released soon and her designs will be on the runway for Memphis Fashion Week in April.
To see more of Dweik’s creations, click here.
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