Dubai designer wants to break stereotypes with new brand
Andrea Sequeira hopes people celebrate themselves the way they are through her designs.
Dubai-born designer Andrea Sequeira wants to convey an important message through her new fashion brand, which is that “it’s not fair to fit people into size boxes”. Because of this philosophy, Andrea makes sure that her outfits are suitable for all women, no matter what their shape or size, and if conventional sizes don’t suit you, you’re bound to find something that complements your taste and comfort amongst her designs.
Speaking to City Times, Andrea stressed that her brand, HAUTEBOX Boutique - which marks her debut in the design industry - was “her personal creative expression” and a one-woman show.
“Each of the products that we are creating and selling have been created by me, curated by me. I don’t have a team. I design the garment on paper, I have the fabric sourced personally, and every other element is looked after by me.”
The clothes on offer are, according to Andrea, “exclusive pieces”.
“I don’t do very big quantities. They are very exclusive pieces because I want them to feel special. We want the value to be above the price tag.”
She also mentioned alterations and modifications were offered by the brand. “We understand that women’s bodies are all different and all beautiful. So it’s not fair to fit people into size boxes. Some people could be in between sizes, we appreciate that and we create that. We help them to find that perfect fit.”
Breaking body stereotypes
Andrea views fashion as ever-changing and hopes to break body stereotypes with her brand. “Body positivity has got the most traction in 2019 and 2020. Women are much more aware and well equipped with answers to give to people about how they feel about their bodies and they are taking the necessary steps to be comfortable, happy and grateful with what they have. So I think this is a great shift for women and that is what our brand is falling upon. We want people to celebrate themselves the way they are.”
While her brand doesn’t have a physical presence, she made it clear that customers who wanted to view the collection in person could do so. “We only have an online boutique. At the same time we do pair with local sellers, and for customers who want to come by and see the collection, obviously we can set up an appointment. We have an extensive section on our website on how customers can measure themselves and send us those measurements. Keeping in mind that at this point of time (due to Covid-19) meeting would not be advisable we have kept that as an option.”
Andrea is happy with having created the brand from scratch and is ready to meet any future challenges. “I am a small business, just started and growing,” she said, adding, “It’s a little slow but I have honesty in my brand and am clear with the message that I want to put across to people.”
She believes women can achieve anything they put their minds to. “Women always have to manage different roles - just take me, for example; even though I am the owner and creator of this brand and the designer as well, I’m also a mother, a daughter, a friend, a wife. Every woman at some point of time is going to be pressured or will find it difficult to manage all these different roles. Just creating awareness amongst women and among communities in general that we have to be comfortable in what we’re doing and what we’re wearing and who we are, is what we are trying to portray with our brand.”
Launch during Covid-19
HAUTEBOX Boutique was launched in February 2020, just before shutdowns due to coronavirus began. Andrea admitted that while she’s had her “fair share of struggles” she is grateful for the help extended to her during the pandemic. “I feel any business in any part of the world is difficult to start and you will have a lot of challenges in the beginning. With the community that we have in the UAE, immediately when Covid-19 hit we had the ‘support small business’ movement on social media, ‘shop local’, and everybody came together whether they were small or big, trying to push each other’s businesses and advertise, and we really appreciate that support. I have no regrets, I’m glad I started when I did because somehow I know that we will succeed.”