The story of why a well-known Czech fashion stylist designed a sophisticated clothing line for a young woman living in overalls and racing fast cars for a living
Aliyyah Koloc, a 19-year-old professional race driver, born in Dubai, raised by a Czech father and a mother from the Seychelles, grew up with motorsports as her father, Martin Koloc, was a well-known racing driver in the 90s and two-times European Truck Racing Champion. After a first successful career in tennis, Aliyyah switched to motorsports only four years ago, due to an injury. Sports has always been her thing, fashion never.
Hana Barbora is a renowned Czech fashion and floral designer as well as lifestyle stylist based in Prague. She found Aliyyah Koloc on social media and started to follow her, fascinated by a young woman who seemed to effortlessly move in a man’s world, hiding her femininity in overalls and a helmet.
« Fashion is not my thing »
Still, today Aliyyah finds herself with a line of beautiful clothes designed by Hana Barbora that resemble her personality: easy-going and uncomplicated yet sophisticated and elegant. « I never thought that I would develop my own clothing line because fashion isn’t really my thing. I prefer to just wear comfortable clothes. I practically live in jumpsuits and fitness clothes unless I am in a racing overall, » Aliyyah says about her fashion style.
Aliyyah’s design process
Via social media Aliyyah and Hana started to talk, exchange ideas, and eventually Aliyyah became curious and started to develop some ideas of her own that she shared with the designer. First of all, it was all about comfortable clothes, as is her style, but Hana turned her ideas into something more sophisticated, yet still easy-going, using mainly noble materials like satin, silk, and cotton. « It was fun developing my own ideas and then seeing what the designer came back with, » Aliyyah explains. « I then decided what I liked, they produced some samples, and when shortly after I held a shirt with my logo in my hands, that was a really cool feeling! »
The designer’s process
« When I developed Aliyyah’s clothing line, I wanted to show her beauty differently and reveal the femininity I saw in her. I wanted to show her in a different angle away from racing. For me she was ‘the girl with a smell of gasoline’. After having studied her personality via social media, articles, photos, and by talking to her, I immediately started to gather her real personality and developped the designs and style, chose the colors in which she would feel good, » Hana explains about her design process.
A fashion statement for every woman
A couple of months after Aliyyah and Hana met for the first time, there is now a range for women of sporty-elegant T-shirts, shirts, hoodies, caps, and even key chains – one of Aliyyah’s favorite items – with her distinctive 29 logo. Racing is primarily a male sport, and while at a race track or offroad rallying, Aliyyah doesn’t have time or any particular interest in caring about how she looks. Still, having developed her own fashion statement changed something for her.
« I realized that I needed something different for occasions away from racing. And as I am not very stylish, I had a hard time finding clothes for awards or galas for example. But now I have something that is subtle and comfortable, yet elegant, » Aliyyah says. « It makes such a difference wearing something I feel great in which – outside of racing – has been a challenge for me. Wearing my clothes now, I feel self-confident, at ease, but also a little proud and of course, beautiful. These are mostly new feelings for me. I wish that every woman is able at some point to create her own fashion statement so that she feels good about herself too. »
There is no immediate intention to market Aliyyah’s clothing line. The items will initially only be worn by herself and a close circle of family and friends. « It would be great if other women like what I have created. If that is the case, I could imagine to market my clothes for every woman out there who up to now thought that fashion isn’t her thing!, » Aliyyah concludes.