“…there is no such thing as overdressed.”
Dina Melwani is a fashion brand with a difference. Empowering women through elegance and confidence, it promises luxurious, high-end clothing at an affordable price.
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
Hi, I am Dina Melwani. I am 29 and I am a mother, wife and entrepreneur. I am originally from Moldova and have been living in Dubai for the past nine years.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have loved fashion since I was a small child. At 12 I started at painting school and within the first year I won several national and international painting contests. Later on, I was able to translate this love for creativity into what I am doing today. Creating something new every day gives me a tremendous amount of pleasure.
When I shop, I enjoy looking for particular items that highlight my advantages and make me look elegant and classy. It was always my belief that the clothing a person wears can determine one’s level of confidence. Therefore, when I design I always have my clients in mind. What would make them happy? What would make them feel empowered? There is an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when a client is satisfied with our designs. This feeling is what created and maintains my interest in fashion design.
Tell us about your education:
I graduated from Middlesex University, Dubai with a Business Administration degree and First Honor achievement. I am currently featured as the University’s Alumni. In 2009 I enrolled myself in a Summer Fashion Design course at Esmod University, which was followed later by two other courses in Fashion Design and Fashion Branding at the London College of Fashion.
So would you say you are self-taught?
I would say I am mostly self-taught. Although I’ve taken short courses in fashion design, these courses only encompass the very basics of drawing, creating mood boards and consequently creating collections. I believe the inspiration has to come from within. Firstly, one has to have a vision and then approach this vision from a business point of view. In my case I’ve learned about the fashion design business by doing things myself and learning through mistakes. I’ve learned about fabrics by going to the market every day, visiting exhibitions and by meeting my international suppliers. I have also been able to learn more about pattern making from my highly skilled cutter. I truly enjoy participating in pattern making and draping the fabric on the mannequin. It’s very important to love what you do. Also, my clients are talented and creative themselves and inspire me every day. I feel this hunger for learning something new every day keeps me afloat in this highly competitive industry.
What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
Fashion design is something I truly enjoy. When you do something you love, in many cases the career growth somehow follows. As a mother, I wanted to set an example for my girls as a working woman; at the same time I needed a job that would allow me to have time with them and my husband. Therefore I decided to start my own business. I have a great team of professional people that I can trust when I am with my children. I get a great deal of pleasure from what I do therefore, this is not work for me; it is something I love that allows me to express myself in many different ways.
Which designers have had the biggest influence on you?
Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera are two of my favorite designers. They provide classic, timeless and sophisticated clothing. I always feel that it is very important to have clothing that one can still wear years later. It should be an investment and not something worn during just one season.
When and where did you launch your label?
I launched my label in March 2016 in Dubai. The event was held with around 80 of my closest friends and family.
How would you describe your brand?
Dina Melwani provides accessible women’s contemporary fashion aimed at women with a preference for classic and sophisticated clothing.
The company’s goal is to maintain the highest level of quality for its products by utilizing the very best quality fabrics, whilst ensuring that flawless construction and tailoring techniques are always used. We work with Italian, French, Spanish and Japanese suppliers to guarantee the very best quality of our products. The brand aims to empower women worldwide by presenting them with elegance and confidence.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
I definitely take more risks now, and I utilize more colours and patterns. I have learned how to listen to my customers and cater to their needs accordingly.
How would you differentiate yourself from other similar brands?
By combining design simplicity with a luxurious feel to the clothing and creating the feeling of exclusivity for its customers. We make high-end clothing at an affordable price.
How is your work received internationally?
Although we are still new in the market, our brand is available in SoHo, New York from the 15th June at Flying Solo. We are also in discussions with several department stores in the United States as well as UAE. Our brand also has a strong presence online on high-end retail websites which allows us to reach a global market. I feel that the way our brand has been received abroad definitely exceeds expectation and we are truly excited for what’s to come.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I am absolutely fascinated with the Middle East women’s fashion choices. I find on many occasions that there is no such thing as overdressed. Many women here like to combine beautiful classy pieces with exquisite hand 3D embroidery and beading. They are never afraid of experimenting with different pieces and wear the most beautiful clothing. I love seeing beautifully dressed women when I go for lunch or dinner. These women definitely inspire me to use the most sought after Italian Brocades, the French and Italian Laces and gorgeous printed silks. When I showcased my hand-embroidered pieces in the US, they said our designs were very beautiful and unique.
When starting a new collection, where do you begin?
First I have a vision which I then translate into a mood board and colour board. It is essential that one uses the same range of colours throughout to tie the collection together. The mood board on the other hand, not only inspires me but also helps me remain focused and consistent throughout the development of my collection.
What was the biggest inspiration behind your latest collection?
The cultures in the UAE are extremely diverse and always inspire my clothing. For example, in my new collection one can see some Indian influences and embroidery. Furthermore, my clients inspire me every day and I create for them. I always think, what would my client like to wear? What will make my client look beautiful and happy?
What are three pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe?
1 A classic blazer – It goes with everything and accentuates the waistline.
2. The little black dress – Finding the right fit is essential. I feel it’s a timeless piece that one can always wear at any given time.
What helps you get in the zone when you’re designing?
For me, when I see the fabric I immediately see a dress or a top in my mind. I feel fabric is very important when designing, that’s why I only acquire the best fabrics. They truly make a big difference on what a dress ends up looking like.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Never compromise on quality.
What’s your motto?
My motto is ‘Design something that I would feel proud wearing’.
How many stores do you have now and where is your collection available worldwide?
My collection is currently available at Atelier des Artistes in Box Park on Al Wasl Road in Dubai, as well as in four other stores across the UAE. From June our collection will also be available in New York and London. Furthermore, we are registered with two big online retailers that are of a global scale. At the moment we are also in discussion with two big department stores in the US to start our collaboration with them by October this year. Also my clients can purchase our items from our website: www.dinamelwani.com
What do you think are the biggest challenges for new designers starting out today and what advice would you give them?
This industry has always been very challenging in terms of competition. Therefore doing something that is unique and different is of high significance. Another challenge is finding the right people to work with. People are a company’s biggest asset and it can make a great difference in either making your business profitable or making a loss.
Finally, your message for us at CP magazine:
Thank you for this amazing opportunity. I absolutely love your magazine and feel thrilled to be featured here!