Fatma Taher Co-Founder of UAE fashion brand Maureen discusses working with her mother and the vision behind their company.
After realising their shared passion for fashion, Emirati mother and daughter Mahin Al M. and Fatma Taher decided to come together to create their own fashion brand. Launching earlier this year, “Maureen” focuses on timeless pieces that are versatile and contemporary. The idea was to transcend eras, backgrounds and origins and produce pieces that appeal to women from all walks of life. Coming from contrasting backgrounds of Cosmetology and International Relations, Maureen acts as a canvas where Mahin’s timeless, classic touch is fused with Fatma’s eye for modern, contemporary elements. Seamlessly blending structure against fluidity and traditional against modern, each collection reflects luxurious fabrics reinvented into clean silhouettes.
The debut collection “Essentials 2021” brings to light the key values of the brand with a collection of pieces that can be worn by any woman in a number of ways. Long fluid dresses, structured coats and light silky separates bring together the key pieces that we all need in our wardrobes. Designed using high-quality fabrics and a clean, simple colour palette the pieces are both elegant and timeless. Subtle details of raw edges and asymmetrical cuts are fused with statement elements of fringes, beaded tassels and buttons; enhancing a sense of versatility. To find out more about the latest homegrown fashion brand, we talk to Co-Founder Fatma Taher.
Why did you decide to launch your fashion line?
My mother and I have always had an eye for fashion. Over the years, we noticed that her timeless taste combined with my edgy style work perfectly in sync. This fuelled our desire to create a brand that speaks to both of us. We also appreciate quality designs with clean-cut tailoring and exquisite fabrics and this is the key focus of our brand.
Tell us about the concept and the inspiration for your brand?
Maureen is a timeless and versatile brand that speaks to the modern woman. We wanted to create collections that emphasise on pieces designed to suit women of all ages and cultural backgrounds. The designs are timeless, making each piece suitable to be worn now or years later. The brand is inspired by my mother and her simple, minimalistic taste in fashion. A lot of people ask why we chose to call it “Maureen; the reason is that it is named after my mother “Maheen ” who wanted to use a pseudo-name that sounded similar to hers.
What are the challenges you faced launching a brand during a global pandemic?
Production setbacks were an issue especially during the lockdown period in 2020. The brand took a lot longer to build from the ground up while the whole world faced tough times. However, it was a blessing in disguise. It gave us more time to think and work hard without having to rush through building the foundations of the company.
How do you think your backgrounds and personalities complement each other within your work?
The advantage we have is that my mum got to experience fashion during the 80s and early 90s while I had the advantage of experimenting with it in the 2000s and 2010s. Our vast knowledge of different fashion eras and having varying style icons give us a lot of ideas and inspirations for each collection. My mum also had the opportunity of living in the United States while I studied in the UK and France and I believe this helped us experience and acknowledge different cultures that complement and inspire our designs.
What are some of the challenges when working with family?
We would say there are more advantages than challenges! Challenges such as having different tastes or opinions are common during the design process however, we always find a way to overcome these differences to create exquisite pieces.
Tell us a little about your creative process.
We are inspired by different cultures, fashion eras, architectures and elements from around the world. We combine our tastes with such inspiration to create designs that satisfy us both. Although it’s a lengthy process, it is definitely worth it when we see the final piece!
You recently launched your first collection Essentials – what can you tell us about it?
Our first collection set the tone for the types of fabrics and clean cuts we love to work with. ‘Essentials ‘21’ showcases a range of satin, silk, taffeta, and organza fabrics in a range of neutral colours. The collection’s main “it” factor is the tassels that helped in creating looks worth investing in.
What is your vision for Maureen moving forward?
We would love to see Maureen expand globally and have people from all around the world wearing our designs.
How do your culture and upbringing inspire your fashion designs?
Our culture focuses on modesty and we see that a lot in our designs. We try to find a balance between modesty and modernity when it comes to the clothing form and pattern.
What are three items every woman should have in her wardrobe today?
A classic pair of pants, shirt, and dress or abaya that could be dressed up or down. Pairing these with accessories will further elevate your look. We believe that such items are present in our Essentials 2021 collection.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in the UAE and where would you like to see it go?
We believe the fashion industry in the UAE is thriving. We see a lot of hard-working brands that have made a name for themselves around the world. We would like to see the industry grow even more and make its way into some of fashion’s most iconic moments such as the Met Gala, Milan Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.
This year the UAE will celebrate 50 years – what is a message you would send to your country at this incredible moment?
We’re so thankful to be a part of a country that continuously provides women with opportunities to thrive in all industries and empowers us to work hard towards building our future. Moreover, we are thankful to the UAE for helping us believe that anything is possible if you put your mind and effort into it.
We will also shortly see the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai – as Emirati women what does it mean to you to have this global event in your country?
We feel honoured to have this global event in our country. It will provide the world with an insight into the many talents of the people of the UAE. It will also showcase how women in the UAE can truly achieve a lot when they have their country supporting them to see them succeed.
Who is the person that inspires you the most?
I would have to say my mother and my grandmother. They are hard-working women who always inspire me to push beyond my limits and achieve great things.
What is a quote or motto that you live by?
Work hard today so you can build a comfortable future.
What is something that you fear?
A fear of not working hard enough or succeeding in a field we truly feel passionate about.
How would you describe your brand in one word?
It’s two words: Timeless and versatile.