A fresh fashion fusion by Australia’s Somali designer, Zam Zam Duale

A fresh fashion fusion by Australia’s Somali designer, Zam Zam Duale

Arguably the first Somali-Australian designer, Zam Zam Duale, founder of Duale Designs, is paving the way for other young Somalis like her to pursue a career in fashion.

Having always had an interest in styling and design, Zam Zam has taken her Somali heritage and fused it with modern, made-to-measure pieces that are loved by people of all cultures and backgrounds.

“My customers are glad that I still keep it very modern and classy, and I just don’t cater to Anglo-Australians, but I cater to my people as well,” she said.

In stores, there are all these formal dresses, but as soon as you find a long length one and you think it’s perfect, it would have an open back or it would be sleeveless or there would be a massive slit on the side, so we could never find anything that would fit us.

“I also find that a lot of non-Somali and non-muslims are looking for similar pieces as us, and they’re glad that I do provide that through my designs.”

With over 20.6K followers on Instagram, ZamZam has been creating timeless pieces since she first discovered her love of the sewing machine during her year ten fashion classes in Melbourne.

“I feel like in the first few classes when I saw the sewing machine and learnt how to use it, I just knew I could do it forever,” Zam Zam recalled.

“The first dress I ever made was my year twelve graduation dress, so that was a big deal for me.

I encourage other young people to do pursue their passions like I did, because I feel like designing and being creative isn’t really considered that important in our community and we need to change that mindset.

Zam Zam was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to Australia at around the age of three, so she credits much of her learnings about her culture to her parents and the community in Melbourne.

“With my designs, they’re very modern but they also have a little twist of my culture and they have a touch of me as well,” she said.

As for her fashion inspirations, Zam Zam said Zuhair Murad (Lebanon) and Michael Costello (United States of America) are her two favourite designers, but she finds it disappointing there aren’t many well-known Somali designers around the world.

In her continued mission to bring modern, Somali-inspired pieces to the forefront of the Australian fashion scene, Zam Zam is currently studying Couture, and hopes to expand into bridal wear in the near future.

Follow Duale Designs on Instagram HERE to check out all of Zam Zam’s designs.

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]