October’s – ‘The Bravery Issue’ – Download Now
Built on craftsmanship and quality, Marei1998 is the luxury brand delivering the real deal in faux fur.
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
Six months ago, my morning routine was very different to what it is today. The ease of waking up without rushing out of the door is a result of the work-from-home era we are living in. These days, I begin each morning by drinking several glasses of water and having a small breakfast, going for an early swim in the sea, taking a shower and getting to work. It’s amazing how much can be done in 30-minutes when you are focused and relaxed.
How did you know it was the right time to launch Marei1998 and what were the stepping-stones to that point?
The moment came when I was 16 years old and realized that I had my own deep vision and language of fashion that I wanted to share with the world. Ever since I can remember, materials and textures have fascinated me. Several trips to Paris and New York at a young age really shaped my understanding of the industry. From there, the two processes clicked simultaneously, and my intuition led me to launch Marei1998.
You’re New York-based, how has that helped or hindered growing the brand?
Before Covid happened I spent a lot of my time in New York, this city and the people there inspire me greatly. Simultaneously, Tel Aviv is where the studio is located and my family and friends here inspire me. Production happens all over the world from Asia to Europe so the base of the creative process is global.
You spent much of your childhood close to your grandmother, how has this influenced your aesthetic?
Even until today, my grandmother continues to play a major role in my life and evolution as a designer and as an independent woman. Her style is deeply influenced by her travels around the world, having visited 35 countries. She also appreciates and values pieces that have remained in her wardrobe for 40 years. Her approach of less-is-more really shaped my idea of design and the need to counter the fast fashion trend that is simply not sustainable.
Do you feel more drawn to the creative or the business side of the brand and how have you grown the team to support this?
My experience in starting a fashion brand is that each side is equally important. Initially, I concentrated on how to apply my creative direction and vision into a business model that is sustainable and has growth potential. Being able to then delegate different aspects of the business (logistics, production, customer service, social media/PR) to my talented team is only because I spent more than a year “practising the craft” of being a Creative Director. Today, I am still involved in every aspect of the label because I truly enjoy it. The feeling of working with people who inspire you – whether in the studio or digitally – is a major factor in where we are today, and I intend to keep learning and developing.
What has been the biggest hurdle since starting your own brand and how did you overcome it?
I‘ve learned to trust myself in difficult situations. My intuition has led me to some places I only previously dreamt of. It’s important to listen to other opinions, but ultimately only you know what is best for yourself and your business.
Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path?
My father is the person I turn to the most, in challenging situations. I always find that having an outside opinion from someone who knows you well can really shed light on what’s important, and what’s not. This understanding helps with the creative process and being able to focus on growing the brand.
What is your approach to scaling the business and are there any markets you’d like to focus on?
Scaling Marei1998 focuses on limited-edition pieces. We don’t want to create just to create. Each item is developed individually and has its own identity, while still being part of a “family” rather than just a collection.
You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries?
We are privileged to have a truly international client base. We’ve had items purchased from clients in almost every continent, which makes us believe that our items can be celebrated by women who share universal qualities of sustainability.
You have both outerwear and accessories –how important to you is it to grow the offering across categories?
A cohesive aesthetic can be applied to both outwear and accessories. This has been our approach to all the pieces in the Marei1998 family, for example The Pampas bag can be worn individually and matched with adjacent brands in the market as well and beautiful basics.
How has social media affected building Marei1998 and which platform has been most useful?
Social media is a major force in the fashion industry. We are working to use this tool in increasingly smart ways. I’ve always admired photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Slim Aarons, both of whom have shaped my design aesthetic. Platforms such as Instagram provide a very attentive audience that supports our business.
Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration?
@NOWNESS, @Kat_in_NYC, @Tailorxtaylors, and @Sophie Buhai. I tend to float towards visual accounts that aren’t necessarily in fashion, or individuals who I can relate to and am inspired by.
We love all your styles; how do you perpetually innovate?
I am inspired by so much art, and many conversations with people that evoke new and interesting ideas. I also enjoy both being alone and with my thoughts as part of the creative process.
Do you have any pre-bedtime rituals?
I try to meditate for five minutes every night and focus on my breath. It helps clear the mind before sleep. Other than that, reading or having a conversation with my husband.
What do you always carry with you when travelling?
Vitamins, a book, and the Marei1998 black Pampas bag.
What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?
To be more confident and to trust my instincts.
If you had not launched Marei1998, which other role would you choose career-wise?
Working with children to help foster a new generation of human beings who are both creative and kind.
This issue is ‘The Bravery Issue’ – what to you is bravery?
Bravery for me is to take chances, push yourself out of your comfort zone and not be afraid to fail. In life, there are no mistakes. Feeling confident even if I don’t have the answers and to the belief in your ability to thrive even when out of your comfort zone.
When have you been brave in business?
By forgoing the traditional industry norms of sticking to a fashion calendar, and by not compromising in my design aesthetic and standard of materials. It can be brave to pass up offers, because the future is always uncertain, but not every opportunity is the right one.
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