Ahead of her next Dubai trunk show, Nida Majeed, founder of The Minimalist Boutique, speaks to us about creating quality fashion that is edgy – but not overly so
The rise of Instagram-based fashion line The Minimalist Boutique
Nida Majeed is the first to admit that she “fell into” fashion. The Pakistani-Brit, who currently lives in Bahrain, is the driving force behind The Minimalist Boutique, an Instagram-based fashion line that is gaining traction in the region through trunk shows and collaborations with fashion bloggers and stylists. She had always been passionate about clothes, but chose the corporate route when it came to her career – until that choice stopped making sense for her.
Majeed lived and worked in London for 10 years as a brand manager, raising her children and launching a jewellery line, Artiqaz, on the side, while taking creative courses whenever she could, focusing on sketching and fashion design. She relocated to Bahrain three years ago, and the move afforded an opportunity to pursue what she really wanted to do.
“I have always been in love with clothes,” she says. “I loved styling for my family and friends, and the Bahrain move was the best time for me to do this. I was expecting my second child, it was a quieter and more laid-back lifestyle than London, and I felt like I needed something to focus on.”
In 2015, she began by importing a curated collection of clothing from Hong Kong with the intention of selling select pieces via Instagram. “The idea was to put the pieces on Instagram, but I’d show them to friends and family in Bahrain and I’d keep selling out – they always wanted to buy everything.”
But curating, Majeed says, wasn’t enough for her – she “didn’t want to sell other people’s designs”. She began sketching her own creations and getting them made in Hong Kong and Bahrain.
With the rise of the “Insta-boutique”, shopping at actual stores can feel as old-timey as strolling into a travel agency to buy plane tickets. Majeed understood that well. “I’ve always been picky when it comes to clothes. I would always enjoy online shopping because I can take as much time as I want and go to as many places as I want, sitting on my couch. It makes sense today,” she says.
Choosing to launch her clothing via Instagram and taking orders on WhatsApp made sense at the time. “It wasn’t a classic approach to starting a designer brand or creating a collection or clothing line,” she says. “I just kept doing it, starting small with a few pieces I’d design, and selling out.”
Eventually, The Minimalist Boutique was born, delivering designs characterised by their asymmetrical cuts and quality materials, described by Majeed as “seasonless pieces with a minimalist flair”. The brand offers staples: trousers, dresses, tops, jackets, skirts and so on, but with edgy, fashion-forward, modern cuts. Each item is unique and often one-of-a-kind, with a focus on innovative draping.
“I wanted to create something that you can wear every day on school runs or going to work, but just be a little bit different – pieces with an edginess that isn’t too edgy. I wanted comfort that’s also unique and stylish, so whoever wears them can look effortless but different.”
Stores such as Zara and Cos, Majeed says, are favourites of hers because they are so well-priced and diverse when it comes to fashion. “It you have an emergency and need something to wear, you can just walk into Zara and find something,” she says. “But chances are someone else will be wearing it, too. I wanted to create a line that is as dependable as the stores I loved, with the same affordable price tag, so I can cater to everyone.”
To that end, all the pieces by The Minimalist Boutique range in price from Dh200 to about Dh600. This idea of being able to create whatever pieces would strike her fancy – from formal evening wear to beach dresses, and woollen sweaters to breezy skirts – lent itself to trunk shows, rather than fashion shows.
“It allows me not to have to limit myself to one line or one season.” she says. “I don’t have to follow any rules. I can make special collections of jalabiyas for Thouqi.com for Ramadan or Eid, then turn around and collaborate with a blogger and design a special collection for her to shoot for us, and have the clothes be completely different.”
The Minimalist Boutique will reveal its latest collection, featuring a 2018 capsule collection and Ramadan wear, at a trunk show at the St Regis Dubai on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 6pm, hosted by personal shopper and stylist Mukta Shahdadpuri from @the.stylecircut