Interview with Zayan Ghandour
Fashion designer, businesswoman, and local design icon, Zayan Ghandour is at the vanguard of Dubai’s flourishing creative community. With nine S*uce boutiques in the UAE and the international success of her eponymous luxury label, Zayan knows a thing or two about starting a business in Dubai. We talk to her about the city’s infectious energy, and why it’s great for creatives.
The pioneering designer shares her story and her Dubai
The pioneering fashion designer shares her story and her Dubai
As the founder and co-owner of S*uce, an award-winning, multi-brand fashion and lifestyle concept, Zayan Ghandour has been at the forefront of Dubai’s flourishing design community for over a decade. After overseeing the establishment of nine S*uce boutiques across the UAE, Zayan began designing her eponymous brand, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2011.
With her Ramadan capsule collection having just hit stores, and an innovative Autumn/Winter collection on the way, it goes without saying that Zayan Ghandour has been busy. What’s more, the designer, entrepreneur, and fashion influencer is also a key part of the emerging Dubai Design District (d3), a new precinct offering a living, breathing space for creative minds to do their thing. Here, Zayan talks about Dubai’s creative scene and her favourite places in the city.
What motivated you to open your first boutique in Dubai?
It happened spontaneously. I had just moved to Dubai from Lebanon and met my partners, who shared a love for travelling and discovering new brands. We couldn’t find what we were looking for in the UAE – and certainly no place that offered this kind of retail experience – and so we decided to create our own. We opened our first store in The Village Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road, striving to create a fun shopping environment that was totally unique to Dubai. It started off as a hobby because we wanted to inspire and be inspired… We never expected it to grow in the way that it has now.
What sets your label apart?
Zayan the Label (ZTL) is differentiated by unexpected details and embellishments that seamlessly merge opposing design elements. A ZTL piece is always effortless and timeless; nodding to trends rather that being restricted by them. We also create our own fabrics and appliqués every season. For example, for AW15 we have collaborated with celebrated Swedish illustrator Liselotte Watkins – who has previously worked with Vogue and Miu Miu – to create three exclusive illustrations. These appear in various forms throughout the collection.
What are your favourite local labels?
Too many to mention! We stock over 80 regional designers, each of whom is unique and talented. We’ve always believed in the talent in the region. Dubai is producing a new crop of young designers who understand that designing a collection is a serious and challenging business.
What do you find inspiring about the design scene in Dubai?
It’s an exciting time for design and fashion. There has always been an interest in design here, which is what prompted us to open our S*uce design and lifestyle concept at Wasl Square in Jumeirah. Increasingly, we are seeing interesting and innovative pieces coming from creatives in the region, and it’s great to be a part of that movement and offer a platform that supports them. What happened in fashion 10 years ago is now happening with design.
Why is Dubai a great city for creatives?
Because of its infectious energy. I would never have been able to do what I’ve done if it wasn’t for that Dubai conviction that anybody can start a business and succeed. There is a beautiful energy and spirit that encourages entrepreneurship, allowing people to believe in their dreams and work hard to make them happen.
What excites you about the potential for spaces like d3?
Having a community working in the same physical location. We often collaborate with other designers and creatives, and the fact that we will all be in physical proximity is a bonus – it’s very much an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. With d3, as well as the Dubai Design and Fashion Council initiatives and other government mandates that aim to support and recognise the potential of the fashion industry in Dubai, there is so much we can all achieve together.
Where do you like to eat out in Dubai?
I have always loved La Petite Maison and of course no weekend is complete without a trip to Baskin Robbins with my daughters.
What inspires you about Dubai?
The old places in Dubai still inspire me - the little shops in Satwa, Deira and the Creek – as well as the constant sunshine.
Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing