A Vintage Feel

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Your journey to success is full of pit stops and potholes and just because you began it in one track, doesn’t mean it won’t shift along the way. It is while changing gears that passion, dreams and drive come to the forefront. Sharon Carvalho find out how this holds true for Maha Abdul Rasheed whose love for fashion made its way into her life

Describe your life before launching Bambah.
I am a 30-year-old Egyptian entrepreneur and a marketing professional by education. I received my BSc in Business Administration, Marketing and Management from the American University of Sharjah and I grew up surrounded by a very businessoriented spirit. I have been living with my family in Dubai for 18 years and have had the luxury of traveling around the world. Soon after graduating, I started my career at Team Young & Rubicam, an advertising agency where I got a better understanding of building and managing brands, followed by a position in DIFC Authority’s Marketing & Corporate Communications Department, where I helped launch the semi-government entity.

How did the move to fashion happen?
Even though fashion was not part of my formal education, I have always been passionate and attracted to the industry. I attended courses at the London College of Fashion where I got a better understanding on styling and merchandising before starting my own boutique. I launched Bambah RTW last season introducing my first SS’15 collection and have just presented my latest FW’15 collection in Paris during Fashion Week.

What does style mean to you?
I always vouch for comfort and elegance. I like to dress up and dress down. I love vintage and I always look for ways to mix and match different shapes, styles and textures. I don’t like putting in too much effort with fashion and I shy away from utter perfection. I like to see something off in an outfit and I love it when an outfit makes a strong statement that says something about the person- more about standing out rather blending in. Ultimately, I don’t believe there should be any rules when it comes to fashion and I don’t usually follow trends– I think it’s all about the overall look and how pieces fit in together. I have a soft spot for ruffles, bows and polka dots and I like minimal make up, messy hair, and distressed jeans.

How did the idea for Bambah come about?
I’ve always had a passion for vintage- I’ve been a collector for almost 10 years now and I’m always traveling around the world and hunting for unique one off pieces that you’re unlikely to find in conventional shopping areas. I’d always go through my mother and grandmother’s pictures from the olden days and long for their styles and fashion. A couple of years ago, and after a great deal of research, I decided that Dubai could do with a one-off vintage boutique. I felt like shoppers here need a nice change from the current shopping scene and needed more options to shop from; and hence the idea of Bambah was born. I was also encouraged when the concept of vintage started to be widely accepted in the region and Dubai in particular.

How has the concept been received?
Although the concept of ‘real vintage’ is relatively new in the UAE and the region as a whole, I’m glad to say that people have received it very well. There seems to be a strong need for specialty boutiques that offer personalized attention, one-off pieces, and a pleasant and fun shopping environment. My customers have repeatedly quoted Bambah to be ‘very refreshing’, which serves as a nice change from traditional malls. In addition, people are constantly on the look for unique and exclusive pieces that complement their style and personality with a guarantee that no one else will be wearing the same piece.

Where did you come up with the name?
Bambah means ‘pink’ in Egyptian Arabic and it was a term commonly used in the 1940s to symbolize happiness and joy. It also happens to be my favorite color.

What are your thoughts on fashion trends now?
As fashion tilts towards past generations for inspiration, the timeless, classy looks inspired by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, and Marilyn Monroe have become a modern day look once again. Contemporary styles are no longer the ultimate source of fashion satisfaction and ladies ‘in the know’ are looking for those one-off pieces that reflect a unique expression of who they really are. The Red Carpet is now a showcase of vintage glamour, as well, with celebrities like Sienna Miller, Rachel Zoe, and Julia Roberts demonstrating how gorgeous second time fashion really is.