Here we share our interview over afternoon tea with Dubai’s “IT” girl, Tamara Al Gabbani, at our favourite afternoon tea hotspot – The Claridges. Our time with her was like catching up with an old friend, a few hours and several cups of tea later, we were finally all talked out. A beautiful interview with a truly beautiful woman inside and out. Her commitment to living a life filled with passion but around her five daily prayers leaves us feeling so proud of this successful female entrepreneur.
Where were you born?
Los Angeles, Beverly Hills.
Tell us an interesting fact about you?
Phobia of fruits except bananas.
Tell us something about you that no one knows J (said with a cheeky smile)
Name your favourite city in the world?
Name your favourite fashion brand? And Why?
Chanel, I am Chanel girl, because from when I was very young I inherited from my mother her taste of Chanel and she had everything shipped to her. It’s a brand that has a consistency to it, and no matter what, is always classy and elegant.
What did you want to be /do growing up?
A fighter pilot.
If you could be in any other profession what would it be?
Be a Tech or a fighter pilot and a race car driver. I am very dynamic, Tech because I’m really like and am very passionate about it, and from when I was young I was always wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Who is your role model?
Princess Diana, Queen Rania, Princess Grace, I really feel that they emulate the true feminine and beauty not just physically but for their heart as well, I think a lot of people can learn from their compassion, intelligence and confidence of these women.
Did you study fashion/ media?
No I studied finance.
You travel a lot between London and Dubai, which city do you feel more at home?
I can’t say one more than the other, they are both equally my home. I spend more time in Dubai but ideally in the future I would like to spend equal amount of time of the year in each city.
What was your high and low in your career?
My highest point was definitely my collaboration with DKNY and also my work with Disney. Those were real acknowledgements to my work as a designer and business woman.
My lowest point was definitely after I started I got so much positive feedback which I wasn’t expecting. In terms of developing my business, being constantly in business mode was difficult and I wasn’t fully prepared for it.
How do you juggle all your job titles?
I get asked this question quite often, I think for me it really goes down to the fact that I meditate and I pray five times a day. I think if I didn’t do that to ground me, to give me peace, I don’t think I would be able to manage everything.
Do you have a signature look?
My dark hair, eye liner and subtle makeup.
What is your daily beauty regime?
- Biotherma – I use it on my skin before I put on my moisturiser.
- Estee lauder moisturiser.
- If I have a casual day I wear a BB cream, if not, I wear Estee Lauder double wear.
- I change my mascaras but at the moment I’m using MAC greta extension eyelash a new one.
- I am in love with NARS lipsticks.
- Bobby Brown blush.
- Givenchy eye shadows.
- Sunsilk for my hair.
- At night I always take off my makeup and never ever ever sleep with it on.
- I remove my make up with Biotherma.
Who is your favourite celebrity/your biggest inspiration?
I really love Charlize Theron she’s a true beauty, I find her so beautiful. She is so strong I love her and Queen Rania too.
Name do’s and don’t by Tamara Al Gabbani?
Don’t ever let yourself go. Not if you are heart broken, if you’re going through a break up or a divorce or lost your job. If you’re going through a really hard time in your life, wake up every single day and look your best, never let yourself go. Because the minute you let yourself go, that one day turns into another day and into another day and before you know it, you have a new you which is less than the best you and you should never be less than your best.
No matter what faith you are or what religion, no matter what wisdom you follow, you should take time every day to connect to the divine.
What was the most courageous/bravest thing you have done?
It’s like almost every step of my life is a new courageous experience, I think for me, I grew up in the Middle East from a conservative family, and for most girls they race to get married and that’s kind of like the direction you supposed to achieve. So even if you go to school or university you’re always expected to go down that path, I was never encouraged or expected to be a successful woman or an independent woman. I think for me, one of the bravest things I did was just getting out of that mind-set and really starting a life on my own terms.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs?
I always say this “Be your own Hero” don’t rely on anyone for anything and don’t be scared of judgment either, do what you want and do it on your own.
What advice would you give to someone establishing their own fashion brand?
If you’re starting your own fashion brand do it because you have a genuine heartfelt passion towards designing. Like any business you are going to face obstacles and what is going to take you through the obstacles is this passion in your heart.
About Your Brand Tamara Al Gabbani
What made you want to launch your own fashion brand?
It’s definitely been a dream, it was never a plan, it was always a dream and that’s where it remained for most of my life, I never thought I was good enough, I never thought I had what it took and the whole idea of having a business was scary. It’s not even about designing so one day you kind of hit 30 and you just think, feel the fear and do it anyway, what is the worst that’s going to happen, OK you make a collection it doesn’t sell, OK big deal move on to the next. It was kind of like when mum passed away Allah ya Rahamha, I changed my perception of life, especially because my friend died within the same year and it hit me, I told myself why am I here? You know, you can’t go through life living like a robot, you’ve got to live life with happiness in your heart for as long as you are here and you also have to make a positive difference in this world you can’t just exist and not share. So it started with television and then it moved into fashion it took me few years before I had the courage to go for it.
Where do you draw inspiration for your collections from?
I can’t pin point inspiration to specific thing, because it can come from anything, you can be sitting and waiting for tea to arrive and can see something that inspires you. But I would say, generally speaking, it comes from the beauty of women.
Do you make your own pieces/ or did you ever?
When I first started yes, I wore them as well but they were not for sale.
Do you have a fashion design background?
No, I did finance and it just came to me.
Did you take any professional design training?
I wouldn’t call it that, ermm I didn’t have a professional course but I definitely took experience by watching other people do it and took time with those people, by observing.
Is there anyone who influenced your turning to become a fashion designer?
Which mainstream brand inspires your collection/ if any?
Marchesa, John Galliano, Zac Posen, Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab, and Alexandra McQueen.
If you could dress any woman in the world who would it be?
I would definitely dress Queen Rania and Michele Obama.
What has been your greatest challenge in establishing your brand?
I think a lot of designers face the same problem and that is that international department stores and boutiques haven’t liked to take on Middle Eastern designers, until now, but I think now they are bit more open but when I started it wasn’t, they weren’t actually interested at all. I think that’s changing now which is a positive thing and it needs to change because that’s almost discrimination.
What was the most exciting thing that you have done?
Disney was probably the most exciting as it is every little girl’s dream of designing a princess dress for a Barbie doll. Since I was the age of three it’s always been something I dreamed about so it was really a privilege.
What is it that keeps you motivated/inspired?
I definitely go through moments were I do feel demotivated and lose my inspiration and that is the truth, people should know that it is normal to feel that way. But you have to always go back to why you started in the first place, always go back to the core reason and the core purpose that keeps you going.
What is your next inspiration on your new collection, and when is it coming out? Do you have date?
I never talk about upcoming collections, ‘giggles’ I like it to be a surprise, and it should be coming out in a couple of months time.
Where do you see your brand in 5 Y?
No comment ‘ giggles’.
Photo Credits: Tamara’s website