Femina Middle East embarks on a new story from this edition onwards, as announced at the Femina ME Women Awards 2016. We will feature young achievers and emerging talent in every issue. We start with the enterprising Ria Maria Roy who is an entrepreneur at the age of 16. Femina ME spoke to the feisty entrepreneur…
Are you planning on expanding the current demographic of Ria Maria in the near future?
We’ve had situations where men will walk into the store with their wives or daughters and ask if we have a menswear line, so, we’re looking into it. But I believe that would be far into the future. For now, we are keen on starting a unisex line to accompany our women’s wear.
Was it difficult to start a fashion-line company at 16 years old? If so, how did you overcome the obstacles?
Yes, it was difficult because of balancing the brand, school, and dance. I only know so much about fashion, luckily I had a great team of people to help me along the way.
How would you describe the style of Ria Maria clothing?
Simple, comfortable, practical, and stylish.
Do you have any plans to franchise Ria Maria in the upcoming years?
Yes, for sure, but in the future.
What is your creative process for designing the clothes in Ria Maria? From where do you draw inspiration?
I love how street style is interpreted in so many interesting ways across the world and that is what I draw inspiration from. Apart from that, we get a lot of our print inspirations from what I know interests teens such as something as basic as pizza.
Who is your celebrity fashion icon and why?
Zendaya, because she’s very confident in whatever she wears. She’s bold and never afraid to be herself. She looks good in anything she wears, like in Ria Maria you can wear anything and look good in it.
Are you planning on entering the fashion industry in university and beyond, now that you have launched Ria Maria?
Fashion is forever changing and so it will always be something that interests me. I’ll always be learning and designing, however for university, I will be focusing on my other passion, which is dance.
Why do you think Ria Maria appeals to teenagers more than the other young adult clothing stores do? What makes Ria Maria different?
Ria Maria is not complicated, it’s very easy to shop in with our one size only concept, basic prints and comfortable styles you can match with anything. It is very reasonably priced, keeping in mind our teenage audience; but at the same time we pay attention to the fabric we use, focusing only on quality.
How have your parents supported you in launching Ria Maria?
My mum has always been fashionable and has always encouraged me to wear what I want and be myself. And my dad has always encouraged me to do what I love. He has a passion for bringing something new to Dubai always, so when it came up to it they were both very supportive. This is also a reflection of who I am as a person and what the brand is about.