“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs
Leila AlMarashi, a Dubai based designer and entrepreneur is the creative mind behind Sugar Vintage – a brand that has grown into a successful and globally recognized one and now stocks their designs in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Jordan, Beirut, and London to name a few. Her biggest inspiration was The Emarati culture, and the western world, cupcakes, tea time, vintage, old movie stars and glamorous people . So the answer to create something close to home yet at the same time modern and fun was to setup Sugar Vintage. Her start was very humble . She started her business from her bedroom with a close friend, they started designing t-shirts and supplying it to S*uce. Today she runs the business by her self and has grown so much that she has her own suppliers, tailors, workshop, and a distribution team. So inspiring, isn’t it?
Sugar Vintage label is now known for playfully bringing together an unlikely swirl of cultures, eras, and fashion ideas into a collection of kitschy and eclectic pret-a-porter wear. Juxtaposing these concepts is only slightly more surreal than what you would already see playing out in the real world, or at least here in the UAE where you can never really take for granted the intermingling of truly disparate cultural elements.
Here’s how my little chat with Leila went:
Kay: When did you realize that designing was your cup of tea?
Leila: I have always loved fashion and style. So it was only natural to evolve that into the next step – designing.
Kay’s Tip: Look for your passion in things you love. Leila tells us the easy way she found her place.
Kay: What is the most important thing to you?
Leila: Ensuring my brand grows into a global brand and creating a movement of this whimsical dreamy state that sugar vintage is all about. I want my customers to feel happy about the brand when they purchase it and style it – to have some sort of experience. In addition to ensuring it continues to be a unique high quality product.
Kay’s Tip: Ensure you don’t just start and stop on your dream but work towards making it better all the time.
Kay:Who is your best friend in the fashion industry?
Leila: Zayan Ghandour, she’s my mentor and style icon. Zayan Ghandour is a well-known fashion designer, trendsetter, and owner of the incredibly successful and forward-thinking S*uce boutique.
Kay:How do you get inspired?
Leila: I get inspired by people I meet and places I go and things I see. So everything really, but especially old movies with classic fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn
Kay’s Tip: Look for what inspires you everywhere!
Kay: What makes you unique?
Leila: I don’t follow I always lead. I am happy and content with myself. And I am having fun with creativity
Kay: How would you define passion?
Leila: Passion for me is what makes you get up in the morning and is what makes me feel like doing I am something special.
Kay: What was the best advice you ever received?
Leila: Only compete with yourself! Be better than you were yesterday.
Kay’s Tip: This is one of the most priceless advice as you are unique and no one can compare themselves to you other than the person who you were yesterday for everyone’s born with different abilities and talents.
Kay: An advice that you would like to give your fans!
Leila: Find something you love doing and then call it work.
Now isn’t that advice overly sweet and so easy to be followed! That was the inspiration journey with Leila – The Leila Al Marashi who has planted herself fully within the interfacing world of the idea and the real, in a space some license as “Fash Art”.
Leila Al Marashi is a successful entrepreneur by several measurable standards. The Sugar Vintage label now ships out to 12 countries, in cities like Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong thanks to a fantastic reception of her work at these trade shows.It is interesting to see how Al Marashi balances several complexities inherent to her business all the while handling her day job in PR, in the oil and gas industry.
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” —Scott Belsky, Behance co-founder If Leila can do it, so can you; It is your effort in the end that lets you see your dream come true! So what are you waiting for? Get started to pursue your dream and passion, Time’s running out..