December’s – ‘The Party Issue’ – Download Now
The Gift Guide – Download Now
Words & Creative Direction: Amy Sessions
Photography: Greg Adamski
Production: Kelli Maddock
Hair & Makeup Ania Poniatowska
Fashion Assistant: Sarah Joseph
Location: With special thanks to Nyx at Gaia DIFC
Founder & Creative Director of Romani, Haya Jarrar creates unconventional pieces with a touch of the rebellious. Is she on our guestlist? Absolutely.
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
I check my emails the minute I wake up and respond to all of them before getting out of bed. Then I begin my morning skincare routine and have breakfast before I hit the gym.
Do you feel more drawn to the creative or the business side?
Definitely the creative side. I didn’t even know what an income statement is until I started Romani.
How did you know it was the right time to launch your own brand and what were the stepping-stones to that point?
You know in life, there’s never really the “right time”. It’s always been my dream to start my own label, so I just went for it. Studying fashion design in university and working in the industry after graduating helped me gain experience and insight which I used to start my own brand with my own identity.
What has been the biggest hurdle since launching the brand and how did you overcome this?
Starting as a very young girl in this very big industry was very challenging for me in the beginning. It was a struggle in every single aspect (finding the right suppliers, creating the right designs that represent me, promoting my brand and making sure I’m doing the right thing). With time, you learn that every successful person in any industry has to struggle a bit before finding their way.
Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path throughout life and your career?
My inspiration and motivation in life is the person I aspire to be in the future. I try to work really hard on myself every day and try so hard to improve myself because everything you want in life and strive to achieve is already within you; you just need to carve your way in.
What do you look for in terms of hiring your own team?
It’s important for me to be surrounded by a team that understands my vision. That’s the most important thing. I also value a team that is hard working and that has something to bring to the table.
How has this year impacted the industry both positively and negatively?
Negatively, as a brand we’ve struggled in terms of production and missing fashion weeks and not being able to showcase our collections and connect with our customers and having to put things aside for a while and delaying production. Positively, it gave us the time and space to sit back, relax and breathe. It made us realize that we were constantly rushing before. Now, we are not rushing anymore.
How do you approach scaling the business and what works in terms of client retention?
I want to scale my business by going into more retails stores and I want to also expand to other areas (other than fashion) through Romani. We will be making this reveal very soon!
There’s a rebelliousness and unconventionality to the pieces you create – was this part of the brand DNA from the outset?
Yes. Usually, from what I see, a lot of designers base their designs on what buyers are looking for or what is the norm in the region. For me, I wanted to create designs that represent my identity and me from the beginning.
Which pieces are your best sellers and do you notice differing trends globally in terms of sales?
The Sylphina jacket. It’s very dear to my heart since it’s the first piece I ever created for Romani. And luckily, it is our most popular piece.
How has social media affected the luxury industry and which platform has been most useful?
It enabled us to become closer to our customers and helped us understand them more. Instagram has been the most useful by far.
Do you have any pre-bedtime rituals?
Recently, I got into meditation. And it works so much better for me at night than in the morning. Also, I really enjoy a nice walk to clear my mind right before bedtime.
If you were not on your current career path, which other role would you have chosen career-wise?
I believe I was born to create. If not fashion design, then definitely interior and furniture design.
This is ‘The Party Issue’, where and how will you be celebrating this season?
I think I will be somewhere cold, cosy and Christmassy with my husband and family.
What should you gift the host when attending a dinner?
A candle is always a good idea.
What’s your secret to surviving party season and still looking flawless?
Lots of water, exercise, vitamins and a healthy routine.
What is your go-to party outfit?
Either a Romani dress or Romani suit. You can never go wrong with a Romani suit.
What is on your wishlist this festive season?
Bottega Veneta boots, an Alexander McQueen knit…
December’s – ‘The Party Issue’ – Download Now
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