As Co-Founder and Creative Director of YNM, Yasmin Mulla has redefined traditional Emirati clothing with her own unique take on classic designs.
Emirati fashion designer and Co-Founder and Creative Director of YNM Yasmin Mulla was inspired at a young age to start her own fashion label. Growing up in the UAE she saw the incredible opportunities in the country and realised she could put her own twist on the traditions and styles of the fashion of women in the country. In 2014 she founded YNM with her sister. A fashion brand that blurs the lines between tradition and modernity with a unique interpretation of the abaya. Classic simplicity is the key to the brand’s success and all of the pieces are elegant, wearable and flattering on all women.
Yasmin focuses on designer handmade contemporary classic pieces that are timeless but with her own unique touch. Yasmin’s preferred aesthetic is reflected in her vision of clean lines and impeccable fit. Versatile kaftans meet subtly structured culottes and sleek separates are paired with tailored overlays. In her spare time, Yasmin is a fitness enthusiast who is fully committed to a holistic lifestyle and shares her own truly healthy recipes with the world. We find out more about her path to success and discover what’s in store for this ambitious entrepreneur.
Take us back to the beginning of your journey before you launched your fashion brand – what was your goal and how did you set about achieving it?
To start, working hard to mark a noticeable trace in the global fashion industry, as a designer from the UAE is my ultimate goal. I am very driven to represent my country in a great way. From a creative perspective, I wanted to fulfil a gap in our regional market by creating strong products, to modernise classic kaftans, twist our beautiful embellishments, and create homegrown Ready-to-Wear pieces that speak to today’s generation, and focus on a high standard of craftsmanship and lasting quality. I aim to produce very elegant comfortable items, pieces that can be worn day and night while transforming them with a piece of jewellery. My biggest aim is to create timeless garments that can be worn twenty years from now. Organically elevating towards an exciting direction; I always make sure my designs can reflect my culture in a modern way. I aspire to elevate our traditional pieces, yet make sure to keep the classical beauty of the concept.
From a business aspect, my goal was to follow an avant-garde method in launching our e-commerce platform six years ago, focusing on strong products and high-quality tech at the same time. And it worked phenomenally; our debut collection sold out in less than a week, and that was the start of our journey.
What is your first memory of fashion growing up?
Clothes have always been a way of expressing myself. My love for fashion developed at a very young age. Playing dress-up used to give me true joy. I strongly believe that an outfit can tell your story, the way you dress can deliver a strong message, and expressing yourself through your look is the truest form of self-confidence.
What are the values that are important to you as a woman and as a brand?
Believing in yourself is the first secret to success in all life’s aspects.
What would you still like to achieve that you haven’t done yet?
I aspire to represent my country internationally as a successful entrepreneur and fashion designer from the UAE.
How do you think your heritage and upbringing has influenced your designs?
I always make sure my designs reflect my culture in a modern way. I aspire to elevate our traditional pieces, yet make sure to keep the classical beauty of the concept.
How would you define success?
For me, success is about working hard, loving what you do, and believing in yourself. Do what you love and success will follow — passion is the fuel behind a successful career.
When are you at your most creative?
It’s not about a certain time, day, or month. I find creativity in almost everything; culture, travel, and loved ones.
Who is the woman you design for?
I design for a woman who appreciates beauty, treasures simplicity, and aspires to leave an impression on anyone she meets.
If you could look back, what is something that you would tell your younger self?
Nothing! I want her to do exactly what I did. To experience and live each stage, to observe, take her time, and believe in herself.
We love seeing your social media posts – how do you believe social media has helped you to build your brand image?
Thank you! I believe it has helped in a very positive way. I think that Instagram is the new Linkedin — your page can reflect your interests, passion, and showcase your latest ventures beautifully. Your aesthetics are an essential form of your personality, and the brand’s personality as well.
You wear many hats – how do you manage your time and ensure you have a work/life balance?
Time management is the key to everything; schedule your week, prioritise your tasks, learn how to multitask, eliminate the unnecessary and always have time to yourself.
What can you tell us about your Fall/Winter 2020 collection for YNM?
After studying, observing, and listening to our clients during COVID-19, we have decided to shift the standards and focus on a natural, sustainable, and “season-less” approach with four capsule collections a year and we have decided to focus on selling primarily directly to consumers. Developing all methods to deliver to more than 66 countries, offering both online payments and COD (worldwide too) to enhance the whole experience from a 360 perspective.
So as a start we ventured into our latest season-less collection of abayas. The Abaya is an essential part of a Khaleeji women’s wardrobe so we wanted to simplify the method and make it accessible and smooth for everyone during this critical period; as the usual abaya shopping experience requires specific measurements and needs to be customized as per each individual. Therefore YNM launched its first-ever online abaya experience; with three clicks (picking the colour and size, length) your abaya can be delivered to your doorstep in no time. This Abaya customisation process in e-commerce is a whole new level of experience in the abaya market in this region, and it has been a huge success.
We know you love to cook – tell us what your favourite recipe is.
As a long-term advocate of health and fitness, I do believe that optimal eating is the secret to a sustainable, beautiful lifestyle. I have maintained a gluten, dairy, and refined-sugar-free diet for many years now and that’s in addition to workouts, strength training, yoga, and meditation. I do focus on nourishing, nutritious and wholesome food and I believe that consuming everything in moderation is key! I don’t have a specific healthy recipe, all of my recipes are dear to my heart and can be found under #yasminsrepasts and #yasminsbreakfast
I am happy to announce that I am currently working on my plant-based cookbook, which will be the first of its kind in the region. It will highlight gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free recipes inspired by my loved ones, culture, and travel. In addition, there will be healthy tips on how to move forward with this lifestyle and enjoy it — It will include a healthy take on traditional dishes and meals inspired by my trips and food that reminds me of my loved ones.
What is something you would like to see happen in the fashion industry in the UAE?
The UAE brings nothing but magnificent opportunities on daily bases. So I would love to notice an intentional shift in the UAE fashion industry very soon!
What would you say to anyone at the beginning of her or her business journey?
You are living in a world where women are being supported in all aspects, use your chances, study the market, fill the missing gap, and incorporate your passion through your education and career. But always remember that there is a room for everyone.
What is the life motto you live by?
There is a room for everyone; we rise by lifting others!