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  • Loayo

Moroccan-born designer creates moving art through fashion

Loayo Art from Morocco showing at the AFI fashion week at the CTICC. (Picture: Phando/Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

With Moroccan influences and African inspiration, Loubna Ayouche Combalat of Loayo Art & Creations aspires to bring a luxury womenswear collection that's a modern fusion of fashion and art.

Any piece designed by Loubna Ayouche Combalat can be considered “wearable art” since that's exactly what each of her garments is.

Combalat, who’s Moroccan born and living in South Africa, is the artist and designer behind the clothing label Loayo Art & Creations.

Designer Loubna Ayouche Combalat takes a bow at the end of her show during AFI Cape Town Fashion Week. (Picture: AFI Gallery)

We saw Combalat’s latest collection at this year’s Africa Fashion International Cape Town Fashion Week held at the Cape Town International Conference Center.

I spoke to the fine artist and fashion designer who describes her work as a modern fusion of fashion and art about her latest collection and the inspiration behind her work.

How would you describe your work?

It is the vehicle I use to channel my creativity and bring to life my dreams. It is a passionate self-expression through the use of vivid colours, texture and fluid rhythms. It is a celebration of fashion, a fashion that has a positive influence on women, making them feel happy, self-confident, bold and special.

What’s the inspiration behind this collection?

Africa, its colours, its people and its lands were my inspiration. A collection full of colours and textures, that breathes the vibrancy and energy of Africa. A collection with kind of magical ability to brighten up winter days in particular and any day in general and give them a glow to lift the winter mood. 

How does your artwork influence your designs?

Each painting becomes a journey where I lose all sense of reality and time. Every finished canvas is a chapter in my story. I dream in colours and then paint those dreams. My dreams become my art and the canvas holds my journey. That art will be my inspiration for the next step that is the design and creation of the garment. 

Describe the woman who you see wearing your designs? 

The Loayo woman is a sophisticated, self-confident woman who believes in being different, authentic and unique. A woman who does not want to fall into the conventional and who is not scared to stand out in the crowd. 

Do you have a favourite piece in your collection and is it? 

I have a special connection with each piece of the collection but the first outfit (to appear on the runway) is very special to my heart. 

The painting is called: Here I am, I am Africa. It is Africa in motion. Africa not as a continent but one and only country, the South, North, East and West come together united to celebrate their rich heritage and history.

I conceived that piece in a way to show Africa although made of 54 countries, each different from the other politically, socially and economically, they still share many similarities and the first one is their love and respect to their culture and heritage, their liking for vibrant and bold colours, a symbol of the rich history and culture of Africa.

Which piece from your collection would you consider a “must-have”?

I would say the Loayo denim shirt-dress. Every woman needs to have a shirt dress in her closet. Loayo version is an innovative version of the classic shirt dress. It is made of denim and art fabric. Mixing fabrics in this outfit and combining colours, textures added character and personal touch making it look a very stylish and timeless outfit. 

Picture credits: Phando/Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)/SIMON DEINER / SDR PHOTO)



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