Nathalie Trad

Founder, Creative Director & CEO of Nathalie Trad

While only in its second year, Nathalie Trad’s eponymous accessories label is already stocked in big name stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols. She developed her signature asymmetric style while earning a BA at Paris’ prestigious ESMOD International. “It was then that I discovered my design ethos – to take classic shapes and radically transform them,” says Nathalie of her time in Paris. She developed this concept in New York, where she pursued further studies and worked under the mentorships of leading industry designer Proenza Schouler. With boutiques in the US, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Nathalie says that she, and designers like her, are “showing the world what ‘Made in the Middle East’ signifies”. Running a small business is always challenging, and the burgeoning designer has to juggle many responsibilities, but she sees one of her most important roles as helping to create a design hub in the region.


Ayah Tabari

Founder & Creative Director of Mochi

Born in Riyadh, raised in Amman, educated in London and settled in Dubai, Ayah has grown up surrounded by an exciting mix of cultures. On a trip to India in March 2013, she fell in love with the local fabric and decided to start clothing line, Mochi. In little over a year the young designer has expanded her range to different destinations, reflecting her diverse background. Ensuring that each piece is authentic and unique, garments are expertly crafted by locals. “Sourcing fabrics and local artisans is all part of the job, and I enjoy every step of the way,” she says. Though Mochi only started in 2013, Ayah has already launched an e-commerce site and seen celebs like Rita Ora and Poppy Delevingne sporting her designs. It seems that her drive has bestowed her with opportunities that most designers take years to achieve. “Right now I’m focusing on presenting my collection during London Fashion Week,” she says.


Dina Butti

TV Anchor, Emcee, Writer & Artist

Since graduating from university in studio arts, journalism and television, Dina has gone on to carve a glittering career in all three. Career highlights included presenting Dubai One’s That’s Entertainment, launching a magazine aged just 23, hosting events including The Arab Health Summit, and covering the 2014 Oscars. Success didn’t come easy though, as Dina explains: “Attempting to become a television presenter came with more rejection, criticism and embarrassment than I could have ever imagined.” Not content with her on-screen success, she’s currently working on her first book and hopes to produce a solo art exhibition. She counts her biggest blessing as being able to represent Arab women in media. “I have the opportunity to share a positive portrayal of my culture and religion. It’s a responsibility that I cherish.”


Maria Iqbal

Artist & Designer

Maria’s quirky art reflects her personality. “I’ve painted walls, motorcycle helmets, electric appliances…” she says, highlighting that her work isn’t restricted to furniture and canvas. With a background as an advertising art director in Chicago, this influence is clear in her bold style, which fuses pop culture and fashion. She thanks “one crazy year in India” for giving her the confidence to move back to Dubai and open her own studio. That was three years ago and, since then, she’s managed to make a full-time career from her art, collaborating with famous brands and having work featured in international design magazines. She retains her positive and vivacious outlook by travelling and reading. “I gorge on everything the world has to offer,” she enthuses.


Shub Qureshi

Co-Founder of The cARTel & Desert Fish Production

As the co-founder of two companies, both of which are artistic platforms, Shub has creativity in her veins. In 2005 she launched Desert Fish Productions, which produces fashion and advertising photography, video content, and studio services, along with an annual conceptual fashion magazine. Their most recent film, Alchemy, won Best Styling at Los Angeles International Fashion Film Awards, beating off stiff competition from luxury fashion houses in France and the USA. Shub also runs The cARTel, which she describes as “a gallery of wearable art, promoting emerging fashion designers from around the world.” Always looking to expand her artistic horizons, Shub hopes to take The cARTel retail showroom international. “It’s exciting to find true artistic people and talent in this mass produced world,” she says.