Inspiring Women - Who Is Marriam Mossalli -
Ted Baker KSA

Inspiring Women – Who Is Marriam Mossalli

Original article on Scoop Empire
I recently started a series of interviews with Inspiring and Powerful women in their field. Women that have put the Middle East on the map one way or another. Naturally fashion came up and I thought who better to speak to than Marriam Mossallli, the young entepreneur behind Niche Arabia and so many other success stories is one of the most recognized women in the region.

As time is probably her biggest enemy, she somehow found a couple minutes to give me a sneak peak in to her world, with a couple words for new designers in the field as well.

Describe yourself in 5 words?

I only need one: FABULOUS. Oh, and “humble” okay, I guess I needed two. 😉

Where are you from?

West-side till I die! My mom is from LA and my dad is from Mecca, and I reside in Jeddah… but I was born in Sri Lanka, lived in Korea and Malaysia, then went to boarding school in Switzerland, only to end up in university in Washington, DC. It’s probably safer to say I’m from “Saudi Arabian Airlines.”

Where and when did your journey and love for fashion begin?

I’ve always been an art and design aficionado, so naturally fashion seemed as a natural extension of the two. Professionally, I was editor-in-chief for a local magazine that focused on design in general, but it really began at the age of 23, when I became the youngest editor for the leading English daily in the Middle East. I co-created the Life & Style section of the newspaper and became one of the few Middle Eastern editors to religiously attend the major fashion weeks.

Have you always worked in the fashion world?

No, I’ve always been a writer, but my passion for design and a love of history made me gravitate toward fashion. I find fashion, like film, is a great indicator of the surrounding issues of the time…and at heart, I’m just a failed sociologist.

What are the strides you have had to take to be where you are today? Name the biggest sacrifice you have made for your career.

For people who know me, they can tell you, I’m 26 going onto 40. I work nonstop. Sleep is probably my biggest sacrifice and one I miss SEVERELY! :) I dream fashion and breathe luxury. You have to be totally engrossed and live your job, especially as an entrepreneur and that is why you better love it!

Who are your role models, be it in the fashion world or your everyday life?

While there are many people who I admire on based on character, there are even more I admire based on career path. I think it’s easier to say “These are my beliefs I’m sticking to them” versus the compromise and sacrifice a person makes inorder to achieve their dreams. If anyone tells you “You need to stick to your guns” they obviously haven’t

I admire Sarah Blakely, the first female self-made billionaire and creator of SPANX.

Tell us a little about Niche Arabia and your latest endeavor

Niche Arabia is the first and only consulting firm of its kind, specializing in fashion and luxury. In our first year, we’ve already garnered an impressive clientele including Tag Heuer, Burberry, Chalhoub Group (that’s Fendi, Dior, Chanel, etc), Harvey Nichols Riyadh, and cool concept stores! is my portal to vent about the decaying world of fashion… the rise of the preteen blogger and the fall of the technically trained editor… It’s laced in irony and my signature facetious humor. :) I’m one of those self-hating social media leaders (I currently hold the highest social media for Fashion in Saudi Arabia! yes, I’m #totesamaze!)

What do you think of today’s fashion scene and the uprise of Arab Designers? Do you have any advice for them?

I think its great! I mean, we’re finally on our way of creating a platform, internally, where regional designers can be launched. Through various initiatives and a critical eye, we’re slowly getting to the point where we’re recognizing the difference between a fashion entrepreneur and a fashion designer. We are Hong Kong circa 1998. We only have forward to go from here!

My advice? Never settle. Invest in your baby–whether its time or money, don’t do anything half assed.

Who is Marriam when the suit comes off? Do you have any hidden hobbies like baking or knitting we should know about?

I enjoy creative writing… I’ve started about a dozen books I want to publish. lol InshAllah, I’ll finish them one day… when I have the time… I miss having “time”

Favorite Designer?

John Galliano for Dior. Alber Elbaz for Lanvin.

Shoes or Bags?

It’s not called Bagsanddrama?! SHOES, of course! 😉

Burger or Fois Gras?

Bresola. I never order from the menu. :)

On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you love what you do?

11. I found a job where I get to tell people what to do… how badass is that?

So you live in Jeddah, but are not veiled or a crazy religious fanatic. What do you have to say about all the stereotypes put on women from the West? Is there any truth? Why did you pick Saudi to reside in even after having stopped working with the paper?

I have to say, I do wear the “tarha” when I’m in Saudi, as I respect the cultural decorum of whichever city I am in. I think the modern, Arab woman is progressive and very fashion-forward. I think through fashion blogs, magazines, and social media, we’re able to highlight that woman and help change stereotypes, which is probably one of the coolest subsequent effects my job has and probably the reason I’ll never leave my home nation. With a population that is dramatically unbalanced toward the young millennial, the Kingdom is about to go through some major changes; I want my front row seat. :)

WE SAID THIS: Follow this leading lady on both twitter and facebook to stay updated with her adventures in the fashion world:
Twitter @NicheArabia & @shoesanddrama
FB: NicheArabia & Marriam N Mossalli

Original article on Scoop Empire




1 comment to Inspiring Women – Who Is Marriam Mossalli

  • anonymous

    I loved this interview. Offered a great perspective of a modern young women in a misunderstood,and what can sometimes be perceived, a volatile environment. Her intelligence, wit and insight is inspirational to young arab girls around the world.