Innovative thinkers rattle minds when attaining the unfeasible, while innovative fashionistas renounce the ordinary mold of what is ‘stylish’. That’s what Fatma Algharabally, founder and curator of the nouveau GRAIN boutique set out to do.
Between a demanding career and devoting her time to family, it’s amazing how her passion towards emerging designers materialized into this unique, urban space. Always having an eye for fashion, Fatma especially appreciated designers with a different vision, those who wish to create something new, unexpected, and bold enough to even puzzle people if need be. She adds, “the market in Kuwait is large, we have everything from ‘High street’ favorites to luxury high-end brands, but ‘bridge line’ brands, products that are more innovative than high street brands, were definitely missing. We always wait for these designers to become recognized as high-end before they arrive to Kuwait.”
The wait is now over, as GRAIN is now home to an eclectic mix of emerging and established designers from all corners of the world. Not only does she hand-select the pieces she chooses to sell at the boutique, but Fatma oversees all aspects of the operations, from marketing, merchandising to personally meeting with the designers to discuss their collections.
When asked about her competition, she does acknowledge the presence of other renowned, homegrown multi-brand stores, yet Fatma believes that her curated selection of bespoke designers speak to a specific customer base that seeks the extra-ordinary in fashion, commenting that “Thinking outside of the box—that’s what I strive for when looking for designers. I look for pieces that are high in quality yet inimitable in design. With GRAIN, we’d like to offer an experience that is unique and attuned to the nuances of a young and creative customer, with brands that, although known to a select few, have great potential to simultaneously grow with us in this market.”
Inspired by concept stores like Opening Ceremony in New York City, to the eclectic Colette in Paris, GRAIN emerged as a possible dream for Fatma. “This is what excites me the most, seeing small visions become realities just like these new designers I choose to work with. These are all very well educated in the field of fashion and design, emerging, gaining recognition from renowned fashion magazines and building a household name.”
Fatma continues, “As excited as I am about GRAIN, I love that these designers are equally excited about working with us, exploring a new and interesting market like the Middle East.” These brands include the likes of Anna October, named by US Marie Claire as one of 10 Eastern European Designers To Keep on Your Radar, Ann Sofie Back, recently awarded the “designer of the year” award at the ELLE-gala, intriguing design duo Ostwald Helgason, and the sensational J.W Anderson, awarded with the Emerging Talent Award – Ready-To-Wear at the annual British Fashion Awards. Other designers include Josh Goot, Ohne Titel, A Detacher, MASC, Hexa By Kuho, Maria Francesca Pepe, FAUX Real, Bex Rox, and Hyde’s.
Expect the same with the design at GRAIN; bold, modern, sophisticated, architectural, a far cry from dainty and delicate. If anything, we consider GRAIN’s design reflective of its owner and the designers she chooses to carry, empowering, trend setting rather than trend driven, and inspired by the art of creating rather than following the crowd.
Does fashion ‘make’ the person or does the person ‘make’ fashion?
The person makes fashion. It is easy to follow fashion but it’s hard to lead fashion. Style is intuitive and it is not about concentrating on luxury brands and logos.
How would you describe your style?
Although my schedule and lifestyle restrict me from spending too much time on dressing myself with a full time job, a family and starting a new business, I do make the most effort I can to dress in something in a way I think is both practical and contemporary.
How do you get inspiration for your style?
I don’t have a specific style inspiration. It’s a day-by-day thing and mainly intuitive.
What does it take to become a style innovator?
As far as innovative designers are concerned, I think that the special thing about them is that they present something completely unexpected. Recently in the past ten years, there has been a lot of design references from the 70s, 80s and 90s but the thing about these designers is that they reference less and less of these things and concentrate on innovation rather than repetition.
What’s exciting right now in fashion?
I like what is happening in London, where they’re giving young talents opportunities to start their brands that they wouldn’t have elsewhere, especially in cities like New York and Paris.
Who are your favorite emerging designers, and what is it that you love about them?
Josh Goot and J.W Anderson. Usually people frown about wearing looks straight off the runway. Yet these head to toe looks by designers like Josh Goot and JW Anderson, would still make you look unique and interesting.
What is the highlight of your ‘style’ career?
I am new to the business, the excitement alone is fantastic and I look forward to highlights in the future.
Do you follow any fashion blogs? If so, what are they and which would you recommend?
ConfashionfromKuwait.com, meblogging.com, ladybq8.net and thestylerookie.com.
What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that people wore more often?
I feel that the least explored item in Kuwait is unique jewelry and I think that there is room to discover new interesting pieces.
To be stylish is to be fashionable. True or False and why?
False. To be fashionable is to simply follow trends dictated by the media or traditional luxury brands, however style is more personal and says more about yourself.
Innovate your wardrobe at GRAIN, located at the basement floor of Burj Jassim. Please call 2296 0096
for more information, email
[email protected] or follow them on Instagram @GRAIN_kuwait.