Meet our April issue cover star
Photographer: Mous Lamrabat at Artsphere
Words and direction: Amy Sessions
Stylist: Yasmina Benabdelkrim
Hair Stylist: Julie Bennadji
Makeup Artist: Andrea Ali at The Wall Group
Production Agent: Marie Juncker
Ceative Solutions Manger: Kelli Maddock
Production Co-Ordinator: Diana Bell-Heather
What do your first 30 minutes of the day look like?
I usually wake up, have a glass of water, a coffee and a fresh green juice. After that, I do my beauty routine – a few times a week I include a face mask. In the meantime I play with my dog, then I’ll check my phone (messages, emails, social media and lately The Pattern, this app I’m quite obsessed with). Three times a week I go to the gym, sometimes I meditate. I’d like to do both more often. And then I start working.
You travel a lot. How do you maintain a sense of balance when you’re always on-the-go?
I like travelling – surprisingly I get more productive when I’m not stuck in one place. My life centres around my work so I don’t know much about balance but I try to do the little things that make me feel good wherever I go. It depends on what part of the process I’m in. I have weeks or months when I’m isolated between my office and my factory. That’s the only way I can bring out the bodies of work I have to build.
(Above: Luminant Earcuff Dhs410,000 and Brevis Ring Dhs943,000 both Repossi; Shoes Amina Muaddi; Jacket and skirt Prada)
Did you always want to have your own brand and how did you know it was the right time?
I guess I never liked having a boss. So that’s how I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. After working with fashion magazines for a while I realised that I should not put my dreams on hold and I decided to start my first shoe company. There is no right time, sometimes things work out sometimes they don’t. But you have to be brave and start, take the first step and then be ready for the adventure.
It can be rare to have both the creative and business side of the brains – you have both. Did it come naturally from the outset?
Thank you, I try to even though nobody is great at everything. I think an important skill to have is to be able to find solutions on-the-go. When you have a company, new issues arise every day. You have to have a positive mindset and a problem-solving mentality otherwise you’ll see everything as an obstacle and drown into your issues. It’s also important to surround yourself with a good team and people who are good at things you are not.
What has been the biggest hurdle since starting your own brand and how did you overcome it?
I encounter hurdles every day. It’s all about your mindset. When an issue arises, I’ll get upset but then I immediately think of how I can solve it. I take things as they come, day by day. Life is not perfect, we have to take what gets thrown at us and bounce back. Often an obstacle is a signal or a blessing in disguise. I’m learning to accept things I can’t control and try to make new mistakes and not repeat the old ones.
(Above: Blast Ring Dhs615,000 Antifer Ring and 12 Rows Dhs139,400 both Repossi; Shoes Amina Muaddi; Bodysuit Marine Serre at MyTheresa; Leather pants Petar Petrov)
Why do you think Amina Muaddi has become such a huge success so quickly?
It took eight years to build my quick success. I started my first shoe company in 2012 and I was 26-years-old. I went through hard times and I had every issue a young designer and business owner can have, you name it. In the beginning I didn’t have sales agents, clients or good production partners. Then I needed financing, I had bad licensing deals and I even lost my company. But it all prepared me for a lot of life lessons. So, when I launched Amina Muaddi I did not want to make any compromises. I wanted my brand’s DNA, the collection, the visuals, and the retailers to fully represent the person I had evolved into. It was important for me for everything to feel modern and to be authentic. It’s been almost two years and every time I create a collection I remind myself to only put out work in which I believe in – collections that I would love to wear and imagery that I am proud of. I’d rather do less, take my time and make sure that I do all of that.
How did you arrive at your signature heel style – what was the inspiration?
I didn’t think of creating a signature heel. I had designed the entire collection and I just felt it looked too classic. I wanted it to look edgier and more modern.
I love vintage looking flared, chunky heels but they don’t look as refined as stiletto heels do. So, I thought of taking the body of a stiletto heel and ending it like a massive flared heel. I wanted to make a feminine heel that looked fresh and didn’t sacrifice our comfort. So, I designed it and flew to Venice, made the heel in one day with my technician and flew back to Paris. I ended up putting it on most of the styles in the collection. I did not know at the time how people would react to it, but they loved it and my first collection sold out in a day with most retailers.
To read the full interview pick up a copy of the Emirates Woman ‘Go Your Own Way’ April Issue or download it here.
Feature Image: Emirates Woman
Opening image credits: Serti Sur Vide Ring Dhs594,500 and Brevis Ring Dhs943,000 both Repossi; Leather jacket Fendi