OTT, an acronym for Over The Top, was launched in 2005 with a bang when two ‘hyper charged’ best friends began collaborating and designing t-shirts as a hobby in Starbucks. Through their nomadic childhood between the Gulf and Europe and their blend of Eastern heritage with personal eccentric expression, a passion to create clothes defined by sophisticated luxury was the end results. The designers choose to remain anonymous! We speak to them about their latest collection and more.
In conversation with Nupur Jaisinghani
What is the OTT design process – from idea to finished product, how do you work?
We always start with a feeling or a dream that develops into a theme. Then, the prints are designed and developed. Simultaneously, shapes are reworked and draped on a bias. After the prints and patterns are ready, we go on full blast to complete the collections to meet the show deadlines.
Your thoughts on Dubai and its fashion scene
There is no doubt that Dubai’s fashion scene has undergone several upgrades over the past decade. Dubai has become an important showcase for global product launches and marketing events like Chanel’s cruise show and such. Such momentum has been important because an endorsement by the global fashion fraternity lends credibility to Dubai’s reputation beyond pure purchasing power promoted from retail hub to fashion capital.
Tell us about your first exhibit. Any challenges? Any memorable moments?
At the time, it was very difficult because many shop owners were not very supportive of designers from the region, and there were very few who were supportive and impressed. We knew at the time that if we wanted to make a mark, we’d have to launch our line internationally. September 2007 marked the launch of the Spring 2008 collection of OTT in Paris, which was received with high praise from stores, magazines and stylists. Soon after the Paris launch, the collection was picked up by respected stores and premium boutiques worldwide.
Fashion icon today in your opinion.
David Bowie, Grace Jones, Cher, Gwen Stefani, FKA TWIGS
Someone you’d love to design for.
What can we expect from your newest collection?
Fall/Winter 16 takes you on an enriching journey through the depths of the African jungle, with a memorizing contemporary reinterpretation of traditional ethnic designs. This season’s collection is symbolic of a bold tribal love affair, a crosscultural concoction with fabric sourced from the heart of Africa. The collection resonates a consistent jungle revived theme boasting a combination of animalistic prints including bird, python, cheetah and zebra. Embroidery elaborately created with a variety of vibrant African beads, seashells and animal teeth shaped stones in keeping with the ethos of the Maasai group.
Staying true to our eccentric and bold designs this season OTT has taken a fresh approach to their collection. By incorporating earthy hues and dusty browns with an infusion of bold exotic prints, as well as exciting touches of Mongolian lamb fur and Swan feather jackets.
Flash forward a decade; where do you see yourselves and the brand?
More of OTT’s expansion in USA and China and also stand-alone stores and concessions in Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.