Asil Attar artfully arranges a selection of accessories fit to make a typical, little black dress come to life, intent on showcasing a specific curve of a pair of earrings, or the sheen of a precious gem stone adorning a necklace.
While the vibes at O are abuzz with excitement, hurried voices making last-minute adjustments right before Alyasra Fashion’s latest accessories lifestyle multi-brand boutique launch, there’s a calm air about Asil. She admiringly glances at every piece in the shop, moving slowly to ensure that everything is ready for the launch ahead. This is Asil’s discerning eye for detail, ever present in every detail at O.
What began as a journey into interior design for Asil organically evolved into an impressive career in fashion. She explains that, as a creative, a career that harnessed her passion for creativity was a natural stepping stone for her.
“In the 1990s, everything turned into lifestyle, hence my start with Armani Casa. Interior design became intrinsically linked with lifestyle, and fashion naturally fell in that area. This triggered my passion for the field, and I later joined Harrods for my first foray into fashion.”
Decades later, Asil has earned accolades for her visible imprint on the luxury fashion industry, and is ranked amongst the top 100 on Forbes’ Middle East Most Influential Women in 2018. Today, her current position as CEO of Alyasra Fashion is one that is filled with opportunity, inspiring vision and a transformational approach that we can clearly witness at O.
As a Middle Eastern woman in the luxury retail industry, one would assume that this comes with its own set of challenges, but Asil’s disruptive perspective begs to differ.
“I never thought of it like that. My career has always been an ambition, and everything I earned is through merit and hard work. People do not judge women for being women. I work hard and I earn my career. It’s about following your dream and not about your gender.”
For like-minded individuals looking to follow in her footsteps, Asil believes that
“You should always work hard, nothing comes easy. Be confident, and fill your mind with knowledge because knowledge is power. Go for your dream, because there’s no such thing as the sky is the limit as it goes beyond that.”
She further emulates this perspective at O, as the store is abundant with possibilities in its selections. Asil tells us more about O,
“O is born in Kuwait and arrives as an accessories multi-brand lifestyle concept. The letter O represents a full circle, one that is all inclusive, never-ending, and presenting an infinite world of opportunity. O is an infinite gesture in terms of the collections and products that we are curating. [The products are] always new, and never repeat themselves.”
Being in the fashion industry herself, Asil says that O is born out of a requirement for their customers, as accessories are essential to complete any given look. “As a women-only concept, O is built around women and their needs.” The collections at O are beyond stunning and are curated by Asil and the talented buyers at Alyasra Fashion.
Normally, any new retail concept that opens in Kuwait naturally addresses a specific kind of woman to speak to her sense of style. She’s either super trendy, or modern, or completely classic. But this attitude is not embraced at O. If anything, Asil reiterates that
“O is all-inclusive. Exclusive in its collections but inclusive in who we cater to. The O woman is empowered, confident and eclectic. She’s not influenced by trends alone, but by beauty, style, and uniqueness.”
Perhaps this is why we absolutely love O, as we see this attitude not only reflected in Asil, but in the curated collection at O. It is timeless.
While O boasts a unique mix of international designers, Asil tells us that O also stands as a platform for emerging local and regional designers, and cites Moni & J as well as Lya Lya as leading examples of regional talent that are featured at O. Also present at the launch of O was Lya Lya founder Layla Shugri, “My concept was created five years ago, and my brand is something that I worked on for a very long time. I always had the passion and determination to create something for myself and Asil saw this in me.”
Our conversation with Asil on local and regional talent could have lasted for hours, and she excitedly states that she would love to feature them all at O. We ask Asil if she had a favorite designer at O, “I can’t pick a favorite, we carefully curated everything at O and I honestly would love to own all the pieces!”
Perhaps most telling of Asil’s passion for helping local and regional creatives is her upbringing,
“I come from a family of creatives and we’ve always been supportive of the arts. We’re quite involved in this field and we appreciate beautiful things. I understand, as an individual in the creative world, how hard it is to push through the limitations, and fashion is a tough field to break in to. It can be hard for a creative to understand the world of business and commerciality, and I wanted to nurture this side as well as the creative side.”
This is why Asil has devoted her time throughout her career to also mentor and coach young emerging designers, and we can see this in the curated selection at O.
Asil’s philosophy for success is constantly focused around engaging her teams at Al Yasra Fashion, and even the designers at O, to drive performance through respect, ethics and values. She points to the eclectic range of green-glamour handbags by Francis hearts Francis, and adds that “You could never tell that they’re completely fashioned out of recycled cardboard, the shape of these bags is amazing.”
An advocate of social responsibility, Asil believes that ethical and social responsibility should be at the forefront of any business and that for a human being to have self-respect and dignity they must endeavor to make a difference to people lives. Hence her passion for exciting yet conscious brands to also be present at O, and her determination to help other designers succeed in their field.
From must-have turbans (according to Asil, they’re so in!), gorgeous clutches, handbags, desirable jewelry and even an exquisitely embellished demi-couture collection, an O accessory makes for the perfect addition to every woman’s wardrobe. Better yet, it’s the perfect destination for some much needed retail therapy, Asil’s preferred way of decompressing after a stressful day.
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As you walk through the new @o.thebrand @the_avenues you really get a sense of how perfectly curated the collection is and the variety of accessories available to choose from. The amount of effort that has been put in by @alyasra Fashion CEO Asil Attar and her team in scouting pieces from around the world and giving a platform for regional talent is apparent. If you are in the market for new accessories (whether handbags or jewelry) then be sure to stop by and check out the beautiful space and trendy collection. 📸 By bazaar staff #asilattar #othebrandkw #alyasra #handbags #accessories #kuwait #avenues
With a shop this dazzling, we wondered if Asil is looking to expand the offerings at O, and while she did tell us that O is always on the lookout for the next best thing with plans to feature more regional and local designers and open up new locations for the boutique, she also looks to establish a vintage corner at O as an ode to the 50s, her favorite fashion decade.
“I’ve been a vintage collector for thirty years now. It’s a decade defined by glamour and beautiful custom-jewelry. It also most reminds me of my mother, who was a huge influence in my life. She was absolutely stunning, had the grace of Grace Kelly and the looks of Sophia Loren. She was very intelligent; [I remember as a child that] we read books on Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth and watched their movies—so glamour is a big deal for me.”
You can feel the essence of glamour at O, and Asil whole-heartedly agrees. “Consider O your treasure chest of beautiful things—one that would appeal to all women.