Creative Direction: Amy Sessions
Photographer: Ziga Mihelčič
Fashion Editor: Camille Macawili
Makeup & Hair: Karolina Kurowicka at MMG Artists
Cover Star: Dominique Laird
Props with thanks to Klekktic

Dominique Laird, founder of So Much Trouble, and Partner and Creative Director at Solutions Leisure Group, reflects on her journey toward discovering her unique style identity.

Here, she discusses how surmounting perfectionism and self-criticism has significantly influenced both her brands and her personal development.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

My alarm goes off at 6am, and I fight the urge to hit snooze. My partner, Paul, brings me coffee in bed, which is honestly one of my favourite parts of the day. It’s the simple things amidst the chaos. I have a personal trainer three mornings a week, and on the other days, I do self-led Pilates, functional, and weight training on my balcony overlooking the water, followed by an ice bath. Occasionally, I’ll dance if the music takes me. Then, I get ready for the day, which is always varied. We usually start with board-level meetings to set the agenda, and then I’m out the door. Whether I’m on-site at one of the venues, checking on new projects, sourcing products, or in the office, I find that how I dress for the day sets the tone: confident, comfy, creative, and empowered.

Tell us about your latest experiential venture, So Much Trouble. What was the catalyst to launching this concept?

Fashion has always been an outlet for me – a way to express myself and boost my confidence. Growing up, I was quite loud and vibrant but lacked a lot of confidence. Staying true to my style was my way of powering through personal challenges. Solutions is about creating moments for people, and for me, creating moments of inclusion, opportunity, and genuine joy is at the center of everything I do. When the opportunity arose to fill a quirky space in the heart of Dubai Marina, I knew it was our moment to shake up the industry. We aimed to make fashion fun, style accessible, and bring personality back to the social scene by combining two favourite things—shopping and cocktails. Inspired by Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic wardrobe scene in Sex and the City, we wanted to bring back moments of love and happiness, making cult brands and vintage luxuries accessible with the region’s first sip-and-shop soirée.

What pieces do you select for SMT and how do you go about authenticating them?

I am a strong advocate for preloved and vintage fashion, inspired by designers like Lagerfeld, Gaultier, Mugler, Versace, Galliano, and Westwood. Finding vintage treasures is my secret passion. The quality and craftsmanship of vintage pieces are undeniable, and there’s something magical about the stories they carry. We carefully source from authenticated dealers and further authenticate through Entrupy, a global authentication platform. I personally handle the buying, both online and on trips to Milan and Paris, seeking rare and iconic pieces.

Our first Boujee Boot sale on June 7 will be a Friday night get-together where friends of the brand and customers can sell their preloved luxuries over cocktails. I’m excited for this and look forward to hosting a style supper club and trunk shows after my next sourcing trip.

Which vintage pieces are a good investment in terms of appreciation value?

Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton are our top performers, with pieces like the Hermès Constance, Hermès Picotin, Chanel Deauville Tote, and Louis Vuitton Neverfull. Designer bags have increased in resale value more than houses and cars over the past decade. Chanel’s pre-2008 pieces, which featured gold hardware and excellent leather quality, have appreciated in value significantly. The shift post-2008, when Chanel stopped using real gold, has made vintage Chanel bags even more valuable. I believe the Karl Lagerfeld era of Chanel will always be valuable, especially items in mint condition.

What are the key components of your personal style?

I love strong lines and shapes that flatter the female form. Black is a staple in my wardrobe, and I over-accessorize with belts, chains, and glasses. My go-to outfit includes fitted leggings, a bodysuit, and an oversized blazer. I adore a snatched waist and accentuated shoulder padding. You’ll usually find me in boots – cowboy, knee-high, thigh-length, dunks, booties. I can’t do my job in stilettos, but a mini heel gives me that extra boost.

How do you approach dressing up – do you have a go-to feel-good formula for looking and feeling your best even on off days?

I prefer functional outfits that allow me to move freely and feel comfortable. In my twenties, I dressed to look thin, creating a black, life-less, oversized wardrobe. As my self-worth and appreciation grew, I learned to appreciate my body’s lines and use fashion as a form of creative expression and empowerment. Now, I enjoy fashion as a feel-good factor and creative outlet.

You’ve built Blended Wellness as a space where one can feel at home and focus on their self-care needs. Was this your vision from the outset?

Blended Wellness started as a passion project alongside my full-time job as Creative Director. Struggling with self-worth, I wanted to create a space where people could celebrate themselves, feel supported, and feel enough in a city where everything is at your fingertips and social media makes us question who we are.

Blended is a safe space of love, confidence, and community. We offer a range of services from fitness and wellness to salon, spa, aesthetics, and mindfulness, all curated to make people feel good. Our fitness memberships, multi-service salon experiences, Pureborn Bump Day Spa, full-day retreats, and collaborations for wellness and beach days are all part of creating those moments.

How has your relationship with your body changed over the years?

Between 16 and 18, I wasn’t in a great headspace. It took until I was 30 to appreciate my body and learn that my imperfections are perfect. My journey was about flipping my perspective and being kinder to myself. I had to stop comparing myself to others and develop a positive and confident approach to who I was. Some days are easier than others, but I embrace the struggle. You’re an incredible advocate for body positivity.

Where does your own confidence come from and what has helped you feel comfortable in your own body?

My partner, Paul, has been a major influence on my self-perception. He encourages and motivates me daily to em- body a positive and balanced mindset. Paul introduced me to my life coach, Dr Ryan Penny, seven years ago. Both men have significantly influenced who I am today. My journey involved being kinder to myself and developing daily strength and determination to stay balanced and focused. I’m proud of my progress and aim to help others feel confident in who they are.

When have you been most proud of your body’s strength or resilience?

This photoshoot for Emirates Woman is a significant moment for me. It signifies the journey I’ve been on personally and hopefully helps others feel confident in themselves. Celebrating myself and my brands, posing in a leotard and leggings, is something I never thought I was strong enough to do. I am honoured to represent everyone who has struggled with their reflection and compromised their health. I will never again let negative thoughts dictate my lifestyle or stop me from achieving my dreams.

How do you manage your passions and businesses without spreading yourself too thin?

I haven’t found the perfect balance yet. I love what I do, whether it’s fashion, wellness, or building a brand, and I struggle to turn off. I incorporate wellness and self-care into my schedule but still have to force myself to take breaks. I’m proud of being a go-getter and am okay with my relentless drive.

What’s one piece of self-care advice you’d give to your younger self?

I would give my 16-year-old self a mirror and point out all the beautiful things. I’d tell myself every day to smile and say, “You are fine exactly as you are.”

This is The Body Issue – what are your non-negotiable, game-changing self and body care practices after a hard-earned week?

An almond milk matcha latte over the weekend sets the tone. I force myself to move – walking, paddling, Pilates, or yoga. The cinema is my escape, with popcorn, coffee, and Maltesers – it’s my time to empty my mind. An early night on Sunday prepares me for the week ahead. And, of course, spending downtime with Paul.

Scroll through the gallery below to view the full shoot.

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