Yasmin Al Mulla may be known for her namesake YNM but it’s her distinctive aesthetics that she transmits to everything around her that’s truly fascinating. The Emirati designer opens-up to Book F27 about her interest in all sorts of beauty, her role models and how far she had to push society’s unspoken rules to get to where she is today.
Book f27: Yasmin, how did you decide to step into fashion, where did the passion stem from?
Yasmin Al Mulla: Clothes have always been a way of expressing myself. My love towards fashion developed at a very young age. Playing dress up used to give me true joy. However, politics take a huge part of my interests as well; I believe both majors are related in a certain way. Both are strong and essential elements in the world in general.
f27: How did you push through and establish your brand? and who inspired you at an early age to build your aesthetic?
YM: It was all the beautiful woman around; mother, aunt, and sister. Each woman impacted my journey in a way. I combined my love for fashion and politics by ending up studying both; as soon as I got a degree in International Relations, I rushed to study Fashion Design at London College of fashion to pursue my dream, I knew it from the beginning, I can never work in any other field. I co-founded the company in 2014 – YNM is a Dubai based ready-to-wear fashion label which specializes in simple, and elegantly refined contemporary hand-made garments that are entirely designed in-house. YNM believes in classical simplicity, minimal delicacy, and modern femininity.
f27: This is your 4th year designing for your namesake YNM, what are some of the important lessons you’ve learned over the years?
YM: I would change absolutely nothing. Every day is bringing a great lesson, and every collection, shoot, and collaboration create a beautiful learning experience on how to improve further. I truly believe that working hard is the ultimate key to success; so enjoy the journey in all aspects.
f27: Fashion is a business; and in your case, it’s a family business since your sister co-created the brand with you. How is the dynamic between both of you and does she get involved in the design and how do you take to her criticism if any?
YM: Both of us are different in a way. I handle both business and creative directing of the label and design everything myself, while she focuses purely on the business category. YNM is our growing baby, we are always working hard to grow it organically. I would respect her opinions on the collections positively, and always welcome them; as at the end, we share the same goal in growing the brand. She is a great sister, and business partner anyone could wish for!f27: Do you believe in the power of color? Your own wardrobe is 80% white with the rest being pink, beige and gray, do you find the hues calming and do you apply the same approach to YNM?
YM: You should always dress according to your personal taste, and choice rather than following a trend or season. Your clothes can reflect many words through your choice of dressing and color choices, and that’s exactly what my wardrobe reflects; the true me. As for YNM I always go for classic colors and I don’t mind adding a pop of color if it matches the theme, inspirations, and mood-board. But classic and neutral colors are always a big must; I want the pieces I design to remain as great as today – twenty years from now! Each piece is carefully screened to ensure the necessary standard of artisanship, quality, and reliability.
f27: You have created several capsule collections, one of them to highlight your mother’s successful fight with Colon Cancer; does it help spread the message and raise awareness?
YM: Yes, in a very positive way! My mother’s dress remained a classic piece post 4 months of launching it as an exclusive piece due to the high demand. As a percentage of the sales goes to Colon Cancer Alliance – A charity organization that helps patients around the world towards their path to recovery.
f27: Your brand and your very own Instagram accounts are some of the prettiest on the app, how much time do you spend curating the images and do you believe it adds value to the brand image?
YM: Thank you so much! Yes, I personally think it adds a huge value to the brand in all aspects including the people behind it. Your social platform can grab direct footfall to your business. Creating a very strong content, paying attention to the hierarchy plays a huge rule in a successful business. Instagram is a very powerful tool that we have to take advantage of. It takes so much time, effort, and brainstorming; but all rewarding at the end of the day!f27: What can we expect to see from YNM for the future? Are you looking for international recognition? What are your expansion plans?
YM: Currently exploring some exciting projects which I can’t wait to reveal. We are currently studying and exploring greater ventures, projects, and collaboration. Working harder to elevate the label’s direction season after season. I work hard to mark a noticeable trace in the global fashion industry as a designer and entrepreneur from the UAE.
f27: Tell us more about growing up in Dubai, how did you adapt to the growing change the country has seen to evolve into what it is today and what is your opinion about it?
YM: Growing up in Dubai is a beautiful and inspiring thing, as the rapid developments in the city urge us to work hard to keep up and develop ourselves, and goals too! We are very driven in representing our country in a very well representative way – As his Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s famous quote says: “Dubai will never settle for anything less than first place” And that’s exactly what we are aspiring for! And I truly believe that us as Emirati, are still attached to our culture and heritage yet with a modern reflect.
f27: You have a very disciplined approach to Food and Fitness, what is your mantra and your daily routine to keep up between work and taking care of yourself?
YM: I am a huge health and fitness enthusiast. I have been working out for the past 9+ years and been on gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar-free diet for the past couple of years as well, and its way easier than what most people think. I dream of promoting healthy lifestyles in the UAE. Of raising nutrition educations, and elevate health awareness in any possible way, for the love of spreading health awareness, holistic diet, and wholesome food. Organizing my meals, and scheduling my day per hour is the key point of a healthy lifestyle. I work out after leaving my YNM office, it’s my perfect gateway post work!
f27: Do you feel that the regional fashion scene is evolving towards a more international approach like the trend of dressing modestly or keeping to its own?
YM: I think dressing modestly is a regional scene that went intentionally which brought a very positive approach, and hypes!
f27: As a woman at the helm of a brand, to you, what is key to being an empowered woman?
YM: By encouraging, supporting, and empowering other women. It’s my favorite! I am not in competition with anyone, and I hope we all make it!
Images courtesy of Yasmin Al Mulla