Fashion was our family business growing up. My mother owned an atelier and a fashion institute in Morocco. I naturally got drawn to it at a young age and decided to embrace it as a career.
I got my Bachelor degree in fashion design, fiber technology, and Auto Cad design and grading from Elbaz, and luxury fashion management from Bocconi University.
Upon graduation I worked for Progretex, as a sample department manager, overlooking designs for major brand customers such as Gap, Gallery Lafayette, Elle, Jacqueline-Riu, and Decathlon, amongst many others.
After three years, I decided to start my own fashion outsourcing business in Morocco, which I grew and successfully sold within five years from inception.
I wanted to expand my career in the region and became the area manager for Dubai and Oman for a major Spanish fashion brand retailer.
When I settled in Bahrain, I started Lamasat, focusing on traditional and eveningwear. I organized the first Wedding Exhibition in Bahrain in 2005, pooling together major suppliers of fashion, beauty, décor, travel, hospitality, food and beverage from around the GCC. In addition, I started a wholesale fashion distribution line providing products to Casino group and Al Futtaim, then In 2016, I created Lily&Jo ladies garment brand and online platform.
Throughout my experience in the region over the past 22 years, I faced many challenges and issues in the industry. The challenges that face the fashion industry in Bahrain is many. Among them are:
– Limited access to proper raw materials and skilled resources
– Lack of professional technical fashion knowledge institutions
– Fierce competition from International brands that started customizing collections for each market they are present in
– Lack of utilization of rich local heritage and craftsmanship to create a unique brand offering that could be marketed globally
– The struggle of individual designers to access international markets for their successful products
– A fragmented industry with many ad hoc players
– Lack of merchandising knowledge and training at the commercial retail level
– Lack of industry structure and representation at a national level to enable and help local players
– The inertia of ideas and designs in the fashion industry where many local designers focus on one product type or imitate trending brands.So, I came up with Bahrain Fashion Incubator to connect the dots and fill this gap.