I’m so excited to introduce you to Kuwait-based luxury fur brand Malimo; Middle East’s first and only fur designer! Though firmly ensconced as the go-to furrier for the Middle East’s elite, owner and designer Maali Aloudah is looking forward to expanding her scope into the American market. A featured brand at Harvey Nichols Kuwait, Malimo made its debut in 2011 and has been growing in popularity ever since. Educated in accounting and business administration during her eight years as part of a diplomatic envoy to the United States, Maali Aloudah is no stranger to business. Back home in Al Asimah, the capital of Kuwait, Aloudah went into banking and today helps run the family business, this in addition to being a proud mother and, now, an entrepreneur in her own right. Inspired by everything from classic movies to modern technology, Aloudah’s designs for Malimo are classic in textile but very much contemporary in design. Rich in style, Malimo prides itself on pushing the envelope. Sourcing from the world’s best suppliers including Saga, Blackglama and Wanger and handmade in Europe, Malimo has a lux answer to any occasion! I had a little chat with her and I’m so thrilled to share it with you!
Elena: You are working with one of the warmest possible materials to wear in one of the hottest climates on earth! Is there vibrant market for furs in Kuwait and why?
Maali: Kuwait’s weather is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Short winter but it’s very dry and cold which is perfect for fur. You don’t need to be worried about rain. Plus we travel a lot and Kuwaiti & GCC girls like to wear fur while traveling. Also wearing furs in weddings is part of our life style.
Elena: Women today are cosmopolitan creatures travelling across the world in different time zones and climates. Has your business similar global approach and scope?
Elena: You are dubbed as ‘Middle East’s First and Only Fur Designer’. How does it feel like, and in what other ways does innovation transcends your brand?
Maali: I feel overwhelmed by a great amount of responsibility but it’s an excellent chance to prove myself and my talent. Also it will help many hesitating designers in my region to take the first step.
Elena: Could you describe to us the basic steps of the creative process in the realm of fur? How does a skin transform into an avant-garde fur design?
Maali: First I have to decide which kind of fur I’m dealing with! Then if I will be dying it or keep the original color. I’m trying each design on different fabrics, using my imagination, until I finally decide.
Elena: This NYFW marks your debut in the US. Are you planning to involve yourself in retail or other venture here?
Maali: Yes of course. New York is one of the major fashion cities. It’s a dream come true.
Elena: New York is a rather competitive market. Do you think that there is still room for new fur designers and producers?
Elena: Which is your favorite fur trend and materials right now?
Maali: The thing about furs is that we don’t have great variety of fur, so it’s almost same kind of fur every year for the last hundreds of years. How you mix it and the colors used are keys to make a trend. I’m a sable girl; it’s my favorite.
Elena: We recently saw lots of fur for menswear FW15-16. Which elements from those collections can easily pass into women’s wear?
Maali: Furs are coming back strongly for men and women. I think that black & white mink is so much on trend for both.
Elena: You are probably getting lots of special orders for personalized and customized designs. Which is the most exquisite fur item you’ve ever designed?
Maali: It was for a beautiful young lady from the royal family in KSA; a very long sable coat with high-end result. Stunning!
Elena: You set up your business in 2011. What this journey taught you and made you feel excited for?
Maali: Traveling and doing what I truly love is a bless. Designing furs, looking for the best quality of fabrics selling it to customers and seeing my customers happy and proud is priceless.
Elena: You’ve been into banking before. How did this help you evolve as a brand?
Maali: I’m still in banking. It has helped me in how to run my financial matters and to be more organized with my paper work, and helps me in managing my brand.
Elena: Where do you draw inspiration from?
Maali: From everywhere! Every place, story, movie is an inspiration to me. Also from street style.
Elena: You are the continuation of a family business, yet you don’t want to produce grandma’s furs. In which areas of your work you might still trace heritage and tradition?
Maali: Wearing fur is a heritage by itself. Keeping people wearing fur is a heritage. My fur will be a grandma’s fur coat passed on to my grandchildren; that’s my target.
Elena: Can you give us your go-to piece (fur) for next season?
Maali: Mink will be the major fabric for so many reasons. More reasonable prices and much more details and flexibility to mix, add or even to color!
I was so much blown away by this wonderful luxury-infused discussion regarding one of earth’s most sustainable, renewable, durable, and recyclable materials for stylish, warm clothing… and Maali was really a treat! Some women’s vision is indeed empowering!
Love You Fashionistas!!!