Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Memphis fashion designer combines culture and couture with clothing line focused on modern modesty

By: Arianna Poindexter

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A Memphis fashion designer is receiving global attention for her work mixing cultural traditions with contemporary trends.

From a young age, Lina Dweik had a passion for fashion.

“Growing up, I’ve always been into fashion, I was nominated best dressed in high school,” Dweik said.

But as a Palestinian-American growing up in Memphis, Dweik struggled to find balance between style and substance.

“I want to be modest; I want to remain true to my values, and it’s just a preference of mine,” Dweik said.

That’s why after graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Memphis she set her sights on creating clothes to match her mindset – modern and modest.

“I really took it upon myself to kind of just dabble into this world of fashion and combine modesty and create something that really never was created before,” Dweik said.

Dweik learned to sketch, research fabrics, and process patterns, and in June of 2021, she officially launched her own fashion brand called, Lina Dweik.

Lina gave Action News 5 a sneak peek at her first collection, the “Empress” collection — designed to make women feel majestic and royal.

From regal designs to bold colors, Dweik says there’s something for everyone.

“You can wear them over pants, you can wear this over a skirt, or wear it with the paired skirt that I’ve created over here,” Dweik explained.

The designer says getting her business off the ground hasn’t been easy considering she launched a brand in the middle of a pandemic.

“It’s definitely been a journey and going though it with COVID definitely made it 10 times harder and created a lot of obstacles, but I feel it also gave me that time to sit there and think about things and take that time to learn,” Dweik Said

She says she’s grateful for family who supported her through the ups and downs.

“She’s coming from her culture, her background — making things work for the American way of doing things,” said Dweik’s husband, Arafat Melhem.

Dweik’s 5-year-old daughter Layla, who has a dress named after her in Lina’s first collection, says she too is inspired by her mom.

“It teaches me if something’s trying to stop me, I’m never going to stop and keep going,” Layla said.

Dweik was featured in the 2021 Torino Fashion Week in Italy and received a proclamation from Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris — all while working on her master’s degree in public health with a concentration in social and behavioral science.

She says she wants to combine her two favorite things — people and fashion — to make a difference in people’s lives.

“I definitely want people to know that it’s okay to be different and standing out and doing something you’re really passionate about can be different at first, it’s not always easy,” Dweik said.

But if you have that passion, you have that vision — never be scared to be yourself,” Dweik said.

As for what’s next, Dweik says her spring collection will be coming out soon, and her designs will hit the runway for Memphis Fashion Week in April.

To see more of Dweik’s designs, click here.

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