Walking in comfort wearing your traditions is in vogue today. Tamashee’s co-founder Mohammed Kazim shares with Yasmeen Maqbool the evolution of the traditional Arabian sandal with a 21st century twist
Aspiring to be a high-end footwear brand and creating a niche market asks more from the creator right from conceptualization to drafting, designing, crafting and branding. Emirati entrepreneur Mohammad Kazim and his co-founders: Muneera Al Tamimi, Ali Al Youha and Amine Mamlouk, make no mistake.
Tamashee is a made-in-UAE footwear brand, inspired by authentic Arabian sandals called zbairiya/naydeya/madass/na’al (of varying names based on its region of origin), that incorporates the theme of art through its design, use of colours and is a platform for extending values.
The founders believe that art is a language that everyone speaks, which cuts across racial, social, educational and economic barriers while enhancing cultural appreciation and awareness.
With the aim of establishing a niche for ourselves, we chose not to compromise on quality and be consistent. We decided to manufacture our sandals in Spain and do all the design, material selection, marketing, and logistics in house.
In times to come, we aspire to bring the learning and craftsmanship here to eventually begin manufacturing in the UAE.
A quote by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Allah bless his soul) –“Familiarity with one’s traditions enlightens the mind and illuminates the path of life, inspired us.” In the by-gone days our Arabian ancestors lived more relaxed paced lifestyles and walked mainly on softer surfaces as sand and mud floors, wearing socks. That’s why we chose the word Tamashee, inspired by the Arabic words for walking (mashee means to walk) and compatibility (yatamashaa means compatible).
The spirit of compatibility is well woven in trying to present the past with the present, our regional culture to the world and integrating people with special needs with the society.
While celebrating individuality from a fashion perspective, we want to showcase the marvelous possibilities that can come out of this simple, yet intricately designed sandal in a light that is fresh, fashionable, compatible to various lifestyles and supportive of the modern walker.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Our goal was to show that our culture isn’t that black and white as perceived. Hence, we brought back the colour turquoise which has been prevalent in the region for many years. We don’t follow the regular trends of colours and materials in the fashion industry. So expect the unexpected.
For Ramadan we released in the men’s line – Hilal and for women – Lulwa. These were inspired by theme of pearls and ethnic embroidery/patterns. And for Eid we have embroidery in turquoise on the sandals– a taste true to our traditions and feel.
Our current lines cater to a medium/high-luxury market which is the majority of the GCC fashion buyers. At Level Shoe District in Dubai Mall, where we sell exclusively in Dubai, our price point varies depending on the quality of the materials used, the manufacturing complexity, exclusivity of the design, as well as the brand experience and social values. Nonetheless, we are studying other lines for different geographies. In days to come we are looking at options where Tamashee will be available for the medium income too.
Although many fashion buyers are risk averse when it comes to new products, we were taken by surprise by the region’s fashion enthusiasts as well as individual buyers. With the grace of Allah, we sold out in three weeks with stock we thought would suffice for three months in both men’s and women’s lines. That said, we are never satisfied where we are. We aim to constantly innovate and listen closely to our customers.
Shoes will always be in demand, especially women’s footwear. Although, we are not industry experts, we see that the end-buyer is looking for products that differentiate them from what’s on the shelves along with an experience.
We on the other hand are playing an active role in encouraging conscious consumption by educating our customers about the historical significance of these sandals, the people behind the original product, the ability to represent a part of us to the world, and allowing them to directly give back to the community.
Our aim is to bring colour to lives. Through the concept of compatibility, we say that different people can have their colours match: the colours of their wardrobe, the colours of their personalities and communities, as well as the colours of their abilities.
Through Tamashee’s Every Sole Matters™ program we dedicate a part of our sales proceeds to encourage the support of individuals with Down Syndrome. We believe that everyone, regardless of their abilities, matter and have a place in society.
Success to us is measured by weighing the impact we have created, which we believe can be achieved only by connecting to the local community.