Breaking into the fashion scene with her first line of witty totes covered with drawings of Chanel, Hermes, and other high-end designer bags, Fyunka is a brand that celebrates fun coupled with personal charm. Created by Jeddah-based designer Alaa Balkhy, the fashion accessories line is influenced by pop culture inspired by Middle Eastern insights. Whether using symbols in our culture such as the must-have designer bag or phone, or anything for that matter, Alaa delivers a homegrown brand that’s captured the hearts and minds of young women across the GCC. Prepare to fall in love with quirky chic, where, for a change, it’s okay to wear a bag that’s actually a piece of printed canvas. That, above all, is one of the main reasons why we instantly fell in love with Fyunka.
Defined as a ‘ribbon bow’ in Arabic, Fyunka emulates feminine fun, and in her latest collection Alaa continues to design with a modern approach to cultural references in the Middle East. By pushing boundaries in a light-hearted fashion, she successfully merges tradition with current trends embraced by fashionistas across the region like floral accents and stripes. In her latest collections, we see PVC cross-body bags that are both functional and light in pastel colors and stripes that make for easy breezy wardrobe options that work for the every-day woman. Alongside these bags, we see the designer speaking to every woman’s reliance on technology through her new phone cover collection inspired by quirky Saudi quotes. Consider this a modern approach to the burqa and niqab, as style speaks beyond what we wear, and how we essentially carry ourselves. Instead of a dull, functional phone cover, most women prefer a bright and eye-catching case. With a graphic design background, Alaa Balkhy illustrates the designs herself. Whether you carry the latest iPhone or Samsung, these covers arrive in an exclusive format that makes them highly coveted.
bazaar: Does fashion ‘make’ the person or does the person ‘make’ fashion?
Alaa Balkhy: The person makes the fashion definitely. It’s about how you put the pieces together to create your own style.
bazaar: How would you describe your style?
Alaa Balkhy: My style is very safe with cuts and patterns and a bit fun with accessories and colors.
bazaar: How do you get inspiration for your style?
Alaa Balkhy: Inspiration comes from everywhere from food to traveling but a huge part of it is traveling and moving between cities.
bazaar: What does it take to become a style innovator?
Alaa Balkhy: It takes courage and an open mind to become a style innovator.
bazaar: What’s exciting right now in fashion?
Alaa Balkhy: The most exciting thing is that fashion is constantly evolving!
bazaar: Who or what has been your greatest fashion influence?
Alaa Balkhy: Miraduma Slova from Buro47
bazaar: Who are your favorite emerging designers, and what is it that you love about them?
Alaa Balkhy: Charlotte Olympia, I love the fun element in her designs and how it’s playful.
bazaar: What is the highlight of your ‘style’ career so far?
Alaa Balkhy: Being featured in bazaar Magazine 😉
bazaar: Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve designed? If so, why is that piece so special to you?
Alaa Balkhy: The new bags from my latest collection—from designing totes to an actual bag is a huge deal and I’m proud that I was able to accomplish that.
bazaar: Every fashionality has as a style obsession, what’s yours?
Alaa Balkhy: I’m obsessed with statement necklaces.
bazaar: Do you follow any fashion blogs? If so, what are they and which would you recommend?
Alaa Balkhy: I follow fashion bloggers on Instagram and my favorite is Winnie Detwa at the moment.
bazaar: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that people wore more often?
Alaa Balkhy: People should wear more hats!
bazaar: To be stylish is to be fashionable. True or False and why?
Alaa Balkhy: I think style is timeless and fashion has its seasons.
bazaar: What’s next for Fyunka?
Alaa Balkhy: Hopefully more bags! We’re going into home accessories so pillows and teacups. We might also go into apparel very soon! Wish us luck!