x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fashion: A site for stylish eyes

The list of online shopping sites, such as net-a-porter.com and modaoperandi.com, has expanded to include a homegrown e-tailer called Maya's Closet.

Sawsan Ghanem, the founder of Maya's closet.
Courtesy Sawsan Ghanem
Sawsan Ghanem, the founder of Maya's closet. Courtesy Sawsan Ghanem

How did the idea of Maya's Closet first come to you?

Over the past eight years, I've travelled extensively in Europe and London, where fashion really has no boundaries. I was always excited to discover new, quirky boutiques, market stalls or eclectic designers but I kept saying to myself: "Why aren't talented Middle Eastern designers anywhere to be seen in these fashion capitals?"

My turning point came in January 2012, when I was compelled to do something about it and I wrote my business plan for Maya's Closet. My initial outreach to the designers was received really well, with the majority coming back almost instantly, saying how they'd love to take part.

Nine months later, we launched in London's Covent Garden with a pop-up store. The feedback to date, from the region and abroad, has made me determined to make a success of the company and ensure the designers have a good portal to show off their work.

What's the overall style of the site? Can you describe the look and feel?

The site is home to a carefully selected range of cutting-edge designers from the region and the style is a mélange of western fashion concepts and the exotic mysticism of the Middle East.

It's a portal for young and trendy women who dare to be different.

Where did the name come from?

My daughter, Maya, was very much my inspiration. Children are our joy and the source of so much happiness; they also deserve to be little fashionistas and sport the trendiest clothing on offer. So, online, we made a conscious move to include gorgeous clothing and accessories for 6-month to 6-year-olds.

Who are currently the best-selling designers?

To date, Fyunka and Hilda Maha have been a great success. They've attracted buyers as far afield as North America and Australia. Fyunka's handbags add a splash of colour to any outfit and Maha's dresses and skirts have a timeless, feminine quality.

Which key pieces are trending this summer?

The Dash and Cash asymmetric lime-and-pink dresses with calligraphy print, in addition to Fyunka's fun clutches.

What's your strategy for attracting new names? Which other emerging designers from the region are on your wish list?

My strategy is all about the personal approach and I'm always on the lookout for emerging designers who fit the profile. I have a couple who I am talking to at the moment, so watch this space.

Visit Maya's Closet at www.mayas-closet.com or follow the e-tailer on Twitter

rduane@thenational.ae

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