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20 February 2019 03:29 pm

ILQ Interview: Meet the Qatari Jewellery designer Leila Issam Abuissa

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Leila Issam Abuissa obtained her Baccalaureate in French Literature and Philosophy; a combination she felt she needed first in order to understand the discipline that continues today in her thinking process of creating luxury products. She then moved to Paris to study art and design where she experimented with different fine art techniques, as well as design in all its forms be it conceptual or interior. But it was after she moved to Florence did the Jewellery world strike her from every angle, and began a quest for an art form she would take on as her own.

Leila grew up with a sense of the business, coming from a family of luxury retailers. Prior to launching her own brand, Leila started her career in the corporate world to understand the gold and diamond business from mining all the way to distribution. Currently, Leila lives in Amman, Jordan, where she still holds the belief of: “Your brand can’t succeed unless you know about the business details within the industry.”

In an interview with the ILQ team, Leila shares about her journey into the jewelllery industry.

Q: When did you start your journey?

A: I officially started my journey in 2014, however I had been preparing for it for a year already.

Q: What was your biggest fear on starting your own line?

A: Honestly, it was for people not responding to my designs, I used to paint, but creating a product is much more complicated as it has to be beautiful as well as functional and excellent quality and finishing.

Q: Who would you most like to see wearing your jewellery?

A: Style is very personal, I wouldn’t want to impose it on anyone, I love to see my jewellery worn by those who associate their identity with our designs.

Q: How do you like to wear your favorite pieces?

A: I like to wear them everyday, 'favorite pieces' to me means very practical and beautiful.

Q: How important is it to participate in an international exhibition like Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE)?

A: I think our presence at shows like the DJWE is extremely important, being able to handle a show like this means you are ready for the market. Anyone who has tried it knows how difficult it is and how much hard work and dedication it takes.

Q: What kind of role does DJWE play to help to showcase products from Qatari designers?

A: The support from his Excellency the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani as well as the Qatar tourism board and the Auditoire team means everything to up and coming designers. Being able to showcase our collection in such a prime location side by side with some of the biggest jewellery brands is an honor. With their support, we are also able to get incredible media exposure which is a great push to be able to succeed in a very competitive market.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a designer?

A: To be able to create non stop, it is really what I love to do.

Q: What’s it like to see someone wearing one of your creations?

A: I love seeing someone appreciate the piece and feel like it represents who they are.

Q: What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created? What made it so special?

A: The Wilderness collection really took me a lot of time to make, it was very complicated to manufacture the way I designed it. With months of effort and redesigning it was very special to see it come to life.

Q: Do you have any influences of Qatari culture/tradition on your design creations?

A: Absolutely, Qatar is a big part of who I am, I would say less traditional and more modern Doha.

Q: Who are your favorite designers?

A: I don’t know where to start; there are so many talented designers out there, it’s hard to choose!

Q: What's your vision for the future of your brand?

A: I would love for our brand to grow and be available in different countries, I receive requests from so many different countries and it is sad I still can’t provide our interested clientele with this service.

Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the Jewellery design business?

A: I would tell them that you need to have a flare for business, I wish it was only about design but the truth is the logistics of the business is half of it.

At a glance

  • Name: Leila Issam Abuissa
  • Nationality: Qatari
  • Education: Design
  • Name of brand: Leila Issam Fine Jewellery
  • Age: 29
  • Website: www.leilaissam.com