Featured Fashion Label: Rawan Maki

"To empower & inspire. A sustainable fashion collection. For the conscious & uncompromising."

Model Citizen App is the platform where we recognise fashion models, photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, creative directors, bloggers, stylists, and labels around the world. Every day, we feature an individual on Model Citizen Interviews. People get to know each of them - their hopes, challenges, aspirations and inspirations in life.

We hope you enjoy our interview with Rawan Maki.

What inspired you to start your fashion label?

My background as an environmental engineer and my love for strong silhouettes. The inspiration for the Waves of the Future, for instance, was Land Reclamation, which is a topic I studied thoroughly and wrote my dissertation about during the time when I did my Masters.

Details of engineering or environmental concepts are very inspriational. For instance, a few of the pieces are inspired by the space and grey-ish matter that takes over when the shoreline recedes. Rocky aggregates, mixed with human impact and a shoreline saying farewell to where it once lay.

In some of our photographs, you can see rice bags in the background. The rice bags represent sustenance, and how with resourceful-ness humans can have abundance. While my themes are environmental, they are largely optimistic.

Who is behind your fashion label?

Rawan Maki is really the product of so many working together. My whole team is comprised of people that inspire me themselves. I am lucky to be surrounded by people that are talented and supportive and have helped build this with me. A special thank you goes to Nada El Barshoumi and Hana Bushehri, as well as Renee LaCroix.

What is your vision for your fashion label?

To make the wearer feel that a piece is tailored to their body yet bold - to declare a connection with the built and natural environment.

What are your customers' most favourite collections?

So far I have heard the wearers reference Balenciaga, Mother of Pearl, Vivienne Westwood, Huishan Zhang, Dolce and Gabbana.. I will let you know when we start selling, I am sure that would be a more accurate!

What is your personal favourite collection?

Balenciaga and Issey Miyake.

How did you discover a need for this type of product in the marketplace?

In the Arab world in particular, there is a giant gap in the availability of environmentally friendly clothing. In Europe, the trend is growing yet at times there is a trade-off between bold design and eco-design, there is a lot of staples- casual everyday clothing - but our goal is to become a pioneer in one-of-a-kind, statement pieces.

What has been the most challenging aspect of getting your brand off the ground and how did you overcome that?

(1) Sourcing from environmentally friendly vendors, (2) creating awareness in the Arab world with regards to eco-friendly clothing.

For (1), I spent a year designing, researching, and at times building the finest quality fabrics with different vendors. Currently I am working with more than one vendor in Europe. The material needs to be eco but also Luxe, as that maintains the high quality needed for the final garments.

For (2), I am working on a social awareness campaign alongside Mashael Fakhro and Noor Nooruddin in Bahrain, to help highlight the benefits of an ethical and sustainable fashion industry. This is a separate effort that we are working on, but is very much in line with the ethos of the brand.

What are two aspects of business in which you believe a new brand should invest resources?

(1) Taking your time to build the perfect product - I am very detail oriented, I could spend weeks re-adjusting darts on a look or fine-tuning the angle of a certain pleat. We have had moments in the studio where we have taken outfits completely apart after they have been finished and put them back together, just to get the perfect final product - a deeper crease on the waist, an additional dart, a steeper collar, or so on. Each piece takes time, and that's the way it should be.

(2) Branding - targeting the right customer, and understanding the customer. They are also part of the system that makes up the outfit. For instance, in the Arab world, people come for the beauty, the boldness, to them the eco-part is secondary at the moment.

Any pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs who want to open similar labels like yours?

Persevere. Endure. Endure until you're happy you did.

Also, love what you do. Really, just fall in love.

How do our readers buy your products? Do you ship internationally?

We are launching online pre-sales in late May to ship internationally.

Stay tuned by logging onto www.rawanmaki.com and subscribing or follow us on social media @rawanmaki.

Do you collaborate with fashion bloggers? How do you collaborate with them?

We are happy to collaborate with any that are interested, so they can feel free to get in touch at info@rawanmaki.com

Booking Information:

Facebook: @rawanmakiofficial

Instagram: @rawanmaki

Website: https://www.notjustalabel.com/designer/rawan-maki and www.rawanmaki.com

Email: rawan@rawanmaki.com

Photo Credits:

Photographer: Mohamed Hasoon (Chebmoha)

Model: Lini Lal, Eva Lancerovic and Amal Al Zaidy

Makeup Artist: Mohamed Al Shaddakh

Hair stylist: Mohamed Al Shaddakh

Fashion Designer: Rawan Maki



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