Key to longevity
As Dubai-based fashion brand KAGE turns 10, we speak to it’s founder and designer Basma Abu Ghazaleh on what it took to grow it in the region, and beyond.
What did you study at university?
I attended North Eastern University in Boston and majored in Communications with a minor in Sociology.
What was your first job?
I was working in public relations in a company called Asdaa.
What inspired you to launch KAGE?
My partner at the time and I were both at a point in our lives where we wanted to leave our jobs and embark on a new journey. We used this opportunity to travel to London and explore, and got inspired by the style, design, fabrics and culture there. With inspiration, motivation and determination we shipped back fabric rolls and accessories, which we collected from our trip, and the KAGE brand was born in 2009.
What are the key elements of your role?
I take a hands on approach to running my business and oversee all areas of the company, however, design and overseeing production are my main areas of focus.
Talk us through your daily routine.
First stop, coffee! Once I’ve had my caffeine hit I make my way to the office and depending on the day, I work on either designing or other business development for KAGE. After work, I like to workout and clear my mind and then possibly meet up with some friends for a light bite to eat.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Firstly, be passionate and dedicated to your work. Find your niche or your point of difference in the market, one that makes your brand unique. Secondly, a point that I feel a lot of young designers may overlook, is when you start your own label, you’re essentially creating a business. Having some business knowledge to back your design work is crucial. My advice would be to create a well thought out business plan to guide you.
Talk us through the inspiration behind your resort 2020 collection?
Our Resort 2019 collection marks our 10-year anniversary and is a celebration of the brands most iconic designs. The 25-piece line up adopts some familiar styles, however, are reimagined to give a contemporary update.
What have you learnt about yourself as a fashion designer in the last 10 years?
I have always been very passionate about my work, however, over the years you’re given many obstacles to overcome and my dedication to my work is something that has surprised even me. It’s taught me to be patient, something that I attribute to the longevity and success of the KAGE brand.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
It’s something that many different people have told me which is to be patient and never give up. It’s a simple message but something that has always stuck with me.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
One of the main challenges I have face through establishing KAGE is staying true to the brands DNA. We are continually adding to our distributor portfolio and at times we’ve had to decide whether to alter the aesthetic of the brand to appeal to a wider range of stockists. While sales are important to us, we are very passionate about preserving our brand identity, as it’s how we have managed to grow our business and gain brand loyalty through our customers.
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