Khulood Al Nakhi, Founder of Beyond gave up her career in the corporate world to launch her own fashion label
After spending many years in her corporate banking job, Khulood Al Nakhi decided to take the leap and follow her passion for fashion. She had always dreamt of starting her own business but was waiting for the right moment. With this in mind, Khulood recently launched her modest fashion brand Beyond. The Prêt-à-Porter label combines the classic Abaya with modern materials and styles that allows each woman to express her individuality. Borrowing shapes and colours inspired by patterns of nature, the brand’s creative direction looks to make garments chic yet playful, with a touch of sophistication. The collections, are suitable for both casual and formal occasions and are composed of rich fabrics manufactured in Italy and France, carefully selected to cater to the tastes of the region. To find out more about the latest collections and the journey of the brand so far, we talk to Founder Khulood Al Nakhi.
What inspired you to start your own fashion business?
I have always wanted to start my own business and was always passionate about fashion. When I was working in banking, I realised that the industry didn’t resonate with what I wanted to achieve in life so I packed a bag and set off to Paris to explore new business opportunities. I decided to take the unconventional route and turn my passion into a business which was difficult at first, but so worth it.
This has been a year of many challenges – what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced with the launch of your collections?
The first step is always the hardest and a big threshold to overcome, but the results that follow make it an important part of learning and building self-confidence. I believe that my first decisions, which were based on a personal conviction about the form and line of my own business, made the road ahead clear and therefore made it easier to deal with challenges. There are still are so many challenges to overcome, mainly in terms of how to operate safely and economically at the same time. To overcome this we have built a new strategy to allow the business to cope with new economic changes and a new customer behaviour system as we realised that during these times, online shopping is the way to go for any business to thrive during a pandemic.
Who is the woman you design for?
When I launched my fashion label Beyond, I wanted to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for the women of today. This is why I decided to design garments for the modern-day women who is looking to go beyond the boundaries of traditional modest-wear.
What would you like to achieve with your brand?
My main goal is to one day see Beyond featured and recognised in international fashion platforms and forums as a modern, conservative and specialised brand that’s high-end and is aimed at Eastern women. I want to become the first brand that comes to mind for all Arab women. My other goal is to one day grow and expand in the Gulf region by selling my garments on the most prestigious shopping platforms.
What do you think makes Beyond unique?
All of our Abayas are composed of rich fabrics manufactured in Italy and France and are carefully selected to cater to the tastes of the region. The garments are composed of luxurious artisan-made silk and satin and feature innovative weaving techniques, unique translucent looks, and modest embellishments. My goal is to present the public with one-of-a-kind, feminine, unique pieces that will not be seen anywhere else.
What can you tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection is called Infinite and features an assortment of gowns inspired by the eternity symbol. The infinity curve endlessly depicts perfection, empowerment, and mystery, which is a representation of the modern-day woman. The collection invites women into a world of wonder where reality and illusion merge, through its endless line fixtures and unique patterns. Uniting exquisite craftsmanship and innovative design, the collection conjures a vision of infinite possibilities that celebrates the human imagination and eclipses the conventional limits of the mind.
What is something you think is missing from the fashion and design industry in the UAE?
The UAE is packed with a lot of designers and brands that reflect a rich and varied culture. However, it seems what is lacking is the representation of the UAE industry in the rest of the world. Competition and business prominence in the global fashion market are very difficult and therefore, we need to nurture those talented designers to not only succeed in the field of design but also in the field of business and marketing so that UAE representatives can expand regionally and globally.
In this issue we celebrate UAE National Day – what does this occasion mean to you?
The UAE National Day means a lot to me. It is the day when we celebrate the growth and success of our country and being a proud Emirati means that no matter how far we come, how much we achieve, we never forget our roots, culture, and heritage. Every year we celebrate UAE National Day and we are honoured and proud of our country and our leaders who are making our lives better each day.
How does your UAE heritage inspire you to succeed?
All our designs are inspired by our heritage, from the gorgeous fabrics, colours, weaving, embroidery, and embellishments, it all showcases a fascinating insight into the UAE’s culture. The Abaya is considered a key element in traditional UAE dresses, dating back to 1984 where Shayla reflects an earlier style of this type of headscarf. Over the past two decades, we noticed that the Abaya and Shayla have become a fashion statement for most women in the UAE and women have started wearing bold coloured Abayas instead and fashions have evolved.
How do you think the concept of “modest fashion” has evolved in recent years?
What I’m loving about the fashion industry today is that it’s not afraid of taking risks. Modest fashion has evolved immensely throughout the years given fashion designers a chance to be creative and think outside of the box. If you look at the modest fashion scene today, you will find that there is a wider variety and to choose from than in the past, and this something that I’m proud of seeing.
Who or what inspires you?
I have always believed that one of the most important things that every ambitious person should strive for is the balance between life and work. My husband has always been my biggest supporter and inspiration. When I created my own business, I had a desire for self-fulfilment, progress, and advancement, which was consistently supported by my husband as he never fails to help me achieve my goals.
What advice would you give to anyone afraid to chase their dreams?
The best advice I have received is that you are never too old or too young to chase your dreams. With passion, perseverance, and persistence your dreams, however big or small, can become a reality. Just be patient and always know that there is a plan and purpose for everyone in the world.
We know you are an advocate of women’s empowerment and celebrating women – why is this important to you?
I have always looked up to women who can juggle it all. Being a business owner, wife and mother of four is not easy but it is so rewarding. I want to empower young women and show them that it is possible to become all three and I would never have thought it was possible if it wasn’t for other female representation in the Middle East and across the world showing me that it is.
What is the life motto you live by?
Always dream big and work hard towards achieving your dream.