She created her brand because she didn’t find one that suited her. What a powerful act from the founder of MyKaftan! She is a true definition of the strong-willed woman entrepreneur not afraid to step out of her comfort zone to achieve her goals. Her career is quite impressive. Originally from Russia, she lived 5 years in Shangai where she worked with a famous fashion house. After that, she moved out to Dubai where she currently lives and develops her brand. The path to building her brand was not easy. But after a lot of travels around the world, ups, and downs, she managed to find rare and premium quality fabrics to finally launch her brand: MyKaftan, which as she says “represents the unity of cultures between east and west, supporting the newly arrived modesty movement”. Read the interview to learn more about her brand, her incredible journey, and her mindset.
Please, could you tell us more about your brand ?
I started in 2017 when I moved to Dubai. The idea came when I realized that I couldn’t find a suitable outfit for myself which would be modest enough, to fit in the environment, and modern at the same time. I fell in love with the local style, abayas and kaftans, however, I wasn’t ready to wear traditional Arabic clothes; they would look ridiculous on me since I’m Western. Thus, I started to search and came out with an idea to modify traditional modest wear in a Western way. The problem was to find a name for the new attire I was planning to create. Since this kind of apparel didn’t actually exist, there was no suitable word for it. ‘Kimono’ or ‘summer coat’ didn’t reflect my idea completely. Finally, I came up with the word “kaftan” because it has Arabic origin and exists in different languages (just the spelling varies) – in English, French, Arabic, Russian… Nevertheless, what I’m doing is not actually “kaftans” in the proper meaning, so I added “my”, as it’s my interpretation. This is how “MyKaftan” became a simple and understandable name of my brand.
Where do you take your inspiration to create your collections?
First of all, it’s Arabic fashion, traditional modest wear – abayas, kaftans. Besides, I take inspiration from the local architecture, and especially its signature element – mashrabiya, projecting oriental windows – this is where I take inspiration for the laser cut designs. Architecture is also a great source of inspiration for fashion.
What makes your brand unique?
My brand is unique by its simplicity and transparent idea. My main product is a modification of traditional abaya, which can fit into any environment and occasion. This type of apparel doesn’t actually exist anywhere else…
Talking about differences, I’m using exclusive fabrics from Europe which are not presented in the Middle East, so it’s one more advantage. Besides, my signature element of the design is laser-cut – the new technology for the market.
What is the favourite fabric you like to work with?
My favourite fabric and the signature fabric of MyKaftan – a special type of double satin which has amazing quality and touch, and also it’s very practical for daily use. It can be washed and ironed, which is important for everyday life. Also, it’s quite resistant to wrinkles and stains. At the same time, it looks just fabulous.
What is the design you created that you like the most and why?
Right now my favorite one is a double-sided kaftan, which can be worn both ways.
3 adjectives that best describe your brand?
Modest, Modern, Simple
What does modest fashion mean to you and how do you think it can empower women?
Modesty movement is spreading worldwide and it doesn’t belong to one specific culture or religion anymore. In my opinion, it’s great that it’s getting so popular nowadays among absolutely different women. We can choose the way we dress, and it’s definitely a sign of empowerment.
What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is… all shades of blue, from baby-blue to turquoise. For me, it’s the colour of summer, sea and happiness. I use blue in my designs, sometimes using unexpected combinations with it.
What is your favourite accessory?
I don’t want to sound hackneyed, but the main accessory for me is confidence. With confidence and smile, any look will be fashionable.
What is the place of the world that inspires you the most and why?
Shanghai, the city where I spent 5 years of my life, where I learnt Chinese and made the first steps in my career. “They say, New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Shanghai doesn’t even sit”. It’s a place of crazy energy, of endless possibilities and inspiration. This place never leaves me indifferent.
Do you read/listen to podcasts?
At the moment I prefer to read business literature – about marketing, management, etc. Also one of my favourite books is “Reality Transurfing” by Vadim Zeland. Talking about novels, it’s Russian masterpiece “Master and Margarita”, Bulhakov.
Your philosophy in life and/or your favourite quote?
Everything that happens, leads you to happiness.
What was the biggest challenge(s) you have encountered while building your brand and how did you face it/them?
I’m still facing it – endless challenges with the production. It takes a lot of efforts, time and money losses when you want to get the best quality. However, everything is solvable at the end.
What advice would you give to women willing to start their own business?
First of all, ask yourself honestly if you really want it, if it’s your passion and true desire. If yes, nothing is impossible.