Designer Dima Gheith in her boutique
Image: Lahza Photography
Source: Museum Victoria
Dima Gheith is a designer of Palestinian heritage, who commenced her upmarket label, Dima G six years ago. The philosophy behind the label is to create clothing that is uniquely elegant, modest and comfortable.
Dima, who holds a degree in psychology, was originally inspired to take up fashion design when she chose to put on the hijab but found it difficult to find beautiful and easy to wear clothing that met her requirements.
"As a Muslim designer who sees lots of Muslim women, all the women who wear the hijab especially in Australia wear it because it's part of their identity as a Muslim woman. They love being Muslim, they love being covered. It's their choice and I'm one of them."
My name is Dima and I'm a Muslim designer. I live in Melbourne. My background, I came from Palestine. My label is Dima G - it's been for nearly six or seven years, or maybe more now.
The way the designs come to me, sometimes, the fabric itself make me pick the design, sometimes, I have a few customers who always come to me again and again. I have them in my mind when I design and then, usually, it end up I'll give them a call, and they come see the design and they love it. But when they try my design, in general, they find that I take care of all the element that will show elegancy in the design because it's all about the human - we don't want to change how you look, we just want to add to it and make you look nice and modest at the same time.
What influences me is... I like my comfort and it's always very important to me to wear something that I feel comfortable in it and, at the same time, I like unique things. All the Muslims who wear the hijabs, especially here in Australia, they wear it because it's part of their identity as a Muslim woman. They love being Muslim. They love being covered. It's their choice and I'm one of them. Most of my clients are Muslim women who, in general, are active and, by saying that, I say either work, have a career or are a student at uni. They all want something they can put it on quickly and they can wear it all day with comfort. So I design pieces of garments, small pieces - I call it under-hijab or hijab solutions - which makes it easier for the woman. She can keep her old clothes but wear it with modesty.
Islamically, I'm required to cover my neck, so, basically, that piece of neck cover, it's a small piece, I wear it under my dress. I have a range of basic colours which is what I call the most important colours because you can play around with other colours. I have it with natural white, teal, mushroom colours, all the colours that you think, 'Yeah, it's easy, I can mix and match with my clothing.' You don't have to pay lots of money just to buy one outfit and that's it - you can wear it again, again, while changing other pieces of garments.
I run both casual clothing and some evening too. I wish whoever has an interest in designing or studying designing, if they're really passionate about it, if they want to do it, they have to think carefully, that it's not an easy job, it's not as glamorous as they think, it's not a job that you're gonna earn money straightaway. It's lots of hard work.
When I was young, I always like to play with things, create things, making weird jewellery from whatever I find at home. But it never in my mind at all to be a fashion designer.