Long considered a pioneer in multi-brand retailing, Dana Al Khobaizi first delivered the local and regional fashion scene her unique vision with Closet Candy. In 2006 Closet Candy introduced thirty new brands to our local market, and is home to up and coming contemporary brands as well as fashionista favored leading brands from New York, LA and Australia. In launching her latest ‘spin-off’ concept that is Denim Room, she aims to create a movement dedicated to the craftsmanship of this special fabric that is a part of our daily lifestyle. We meet up with the talented Dana as she tells us more about her denim inspirations.
Hi Dana! Can you tell us more about Denim Room?
Denim Room is a unisex denim concept store. As the global fashion culture reinvents itself, so does denim – it’s fresh but remains timeless. There’s a familiarity in those perfect jeans that we all look for. To me, denim is the perfect culmination of comfort and style, and Denim Room is a celebration of that.
Are you taking a new direction with Denim Room? If so, how is it different from Closet Candy?
Yes and no. Denim Room’s brands are mostly brands Closet Candy had introduced years ago. So the quality, product and most of the collections are the same – with some upgrades along the years. However, the concept is very fresh, and therefore the direction we’re taking is a very urban, raw and underground one; as opposed to the pretty and super stylish Closet Candy. We are of course reaching a whole new demographic with Denim Room: men.
Do you think that your experience with Closet Candy organically led you towards the idea of Denim Room, or was this a plan you had all along?
Since the opening of Closet Candy in 2007, we have introduced the hottest denim brands worldwide – brands like J Brand, Siwy, Ksubi and Current Elliott were introduced to the Middle East market via Closet Candy. These denim brands brought us a cult following of customers that always came back to us for more denim and denim essentials. Since then our denim, shirts and accessories collections have grown. The denim industry is also constantly evolving and – now more than ever – designers are investing in the artisanal craftsmanship of denim, such as raw Japanese selvedge denim. I have learned that it is truly an art form. All of these factors along with timing, and a gap in the market, it was the perfect opportunity to launch a spin-off of Closet Candy: Denim Room.
Can you describe to us a typical customer experience at Denim Room?
Denim Room is inspired by downtown New York lofts, industrial warehouses, street art, and your ideal grunge glam wardrobe. This vision came to life by designer Yousef Al Ibrahim. Rows of denim, graphic tees, cool accessories and metallic headphones, along with original artwork and indie rock music – we deliver a completely unique shopping experience to our customer.
With a huge variety of Denim brands on offer, how do you go about your buying process?
For many years I’ve spent season after season on buying trips in NYC, L.A and London with access to top showrooms, trade and fashion shows. On the buying trips, I try on every sample I order and make sure I understand the fit, style and detail that goes into the collection. Being in the business for over 6 years now, I also learned what my customers are looking for in a perfect pair of jeans. I am very selective of what I offer to my customers, and only offer top quality brands from either established designer names or cool emerging lines on the rise.
What did you enjoy the most throughout the process of creating a project like Denim Room? What did you enjoy the least?
Working with incredibly creative people such as the interior designer Yousef Al Ibrahim and my company’s creative director David Klefeker was very inspirational. With a project like this and a perfectionist like myself, it is inevitable to spend sleepless nights stressing about the smallest details. Luckily these boys taught me how to have fun with it. One of my favorite moments was the three of us writing on the fitting room walls with permanent markers; definitely was the most fun I had while working on Denim Room.
Describe your perfect casual-chic outfit.
Skinny jeans, basic tee, leather jacket, high heel ankle boots and a ton of jewelry.
Denim Room is located at Shuwaikh Market, please call 2221 6939 for more information. Follow Denim room on Instagram @denimroom and Twitter @thedenimroom.