A&E Interviews: Rachna Malkani, Creative Director of The House of Native

Dana Mortada   |   12 - 04 - 2018


The House of Native is based in Dubai- a city shaped by local heritage as by global trends; is known as today’s only enterprise to manufacture luxury leather goods in the UAE. Native values the tradition of intricate craftsmanship, and most importantly the pillars that form the luxury brand are manifested in the tangible shape, form, material and unique silhouette.


Here we meet with Rachna Malkani, Creative Director of The House of Native, who fills us in on her goals behind the brand and how her mission is to draw the world’s attention to Dubai as a fashion destination by redefining genuine leather luxury goods at The House of Native.


Tell us how did you decide to shift from economy and political science (your major) and your work as financial consultant into designing bags?

Life, Destiny or something like that, I just did everything that I needed to do at that point in time of my life, so when life demanded me taking on the role od a designer I took it on with all my heart to it.


Why did you choose to settle in Dubai?

Didn’t have much of a choice since family was here.


How did you decide on the brand’s name?

In a city like Dubai where we live amongst the maximum number of nationalities and yet we all feel like we belong, and a brand that has been born here with passion to manufacture a world class luxury leather product, it only felt befitting to call it Native, its complementary to the sprit of UAE and the way we feel to be here.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of manufacturing in Dubai?

Advantages that you are the only one of your kind and you stand out amongst even the biggest brands available to buy, as it’s a unique scenario for a luxury leather brand like Native to be doing it all here from conceptualizing, designing and manufacturing.

Disadvantages that its hard, since its difficult to find resources and technical bits due to unavailability of the things that are needed to support a leather industry here , so yes it becomes quite an affair to manage production always on time and promptly to keep it running smooth.


Are you planning on reinforcing your shoes collection since the market lacks made in UAE high-end shoes?

Definitely we plan to do so, we started with flats and we have already moved on to doing heals as well and this will continue to grow into different levels of growth into shoes segment. We are quite proud to have achieved the quality and designs that we have done so far and we are looking forward to keep taking it to next levels.



Can you guide us through the creative stages each collection goes through?

Its an ongoing process in my head first, coz I don’t really sit and draw at one time the whole collection, it takes me all the time in the world. For me it begins with going inwards and working on my own thoughts and experiences while observing the world around me. I’m more of a self-analyzing person so everything that I make has to first make sense to me. I don’t like following fashion codes I simply follow my heart. Once I am clear with my thoughts I try to express them in shapes and designs one by one with my sketches, its almost a let out or release for me for my thoughts.

Once this is done I have to make sure I choose the leather and the colors that would complement the shapes and structure of the forms created and is able to look and feel luxury, its like almost expressing your thoughts in the most beautiful way you can visualize them.

And then I need to complement the structures with good metal accessories of the highest quality and feel., so I work on the shapes and structures of these for each bag.

Then we move to prototypes stage, which is first done in a base form to create a proper pattern, once I’m ok with the size and form, we move to the leather prototype stage. This is where you are always looking forward to achieve it all but more than often it can surprise you , so you never know if your true vision can take form as per your thoughts unless this stage. If all goes as I want it, it’s a final product, if not then we work over it again with the changes that I feel would make it look and feel the way I want to see it.


What is so unique and special about your recent collection?

To me every Native collection is unique and Special. The latest collection was about the world of Duality that we all live, and the acceptance of being it all and wearing it all with authenticity and pride, coz only you define who you are at what point and situation in your life, no one else can define it. It is about moving beyond labels, judgement and learning to accept individuality in every way.


In your own opinion why would a client prefer your designs to any other known international houses?

Besides the fact that they are refreshing to their eyes and are made with impeccable standards of craftsmanship with highest quality of leathers, which shows the passion each bag is created with, Also the fact that each bag has a story behind it and every Native you carry, you are telling a tale. You are not only carrying a Native, you are carrying your most authentic self while making a statement with it.


Where do you source your leather?

Italy and France.



Your brand uses a variety of high quality luxury leathers, what’s your favorite one which you like working with?

Calf, French Bull, Camel and Python are my favorites.

Tell us more about Native’s identity?

It’s Natives DNA, it’s the manifesto that says it all:

We’re for unlabelling.

For dropping pre-conceived notions.

We celebrate beauty beyond the obvious,

And being comfortable in one’s skin.

We’re driven by spontaneity.

And are free in spirit.

We create from the heart.

Not from populism.

We conceive that which is uncolored, no matter how tinted the lens.

And unbiased, no matter where majority sits.

We’re Unintimidated.



What are the standards you follow to design luxury bag for a workingwoman?

The best standards to flow are their lifestyle, their needs and how can we meet them while making her look trendy and in style on the Go.


What’s your goal that you would want to achieve for 2018?

To grow and work on expanding our horizons across the world. It’s time to put Dubai, UAE on a global Map in luxury leather industry as well.


Where can we find Native’s luxury bags?

Native Outlet at The Mall Jumeirah, Native Outlet at the Abu Dhabi Mall, Native collection at the Tryano, Yas Mall.

And on our official online store.


What occupies your time the most? You have successfully combined between your role as a mother and as a workingwoman, tell us how do you do that?

That’s something that I feel every woman is born to do, multitasking, whether its between work and home or in other different roles, coz no woman really plays only one role in her life, she has so much to care for through the course of her life that almost becomes her second nature to just do whatever it takes to get things done and wherever, while it has its challenges but with time and experience you learn to master this as well.



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