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By Diane Small
Fun, meaningful, playful colourful and ethical–those are the five words chosen by Mochi clothing founder Ayah Tabari to describe what is arguably the most eco-friendly clothing brand to come out of the Middle East.
Dubai resident Tabari became fascinated by cultural differences and ethnic styles from a young age, and no wonder: the ethnic Palestinian was born in Riyadh, grew up in Amman, was educated in London and later moved to Dubai, where she launched her label.
Taking inspiration from runway looks and silhouettes, she then infuses them with embroidered details done by artisans in small communities around the world, including women in Thailand, Hungary, India, and of course, Tabari’s real home, Palestine. Giving these women work not only contributes to their gaining a sound, fair wage, but also aims to preserve the artisanal traditions of each region.
Because so much handcrafted love goes into each piece, no two are alike, and as Tabari herself says, each one commands so much attention with its intricate detailing that it’s best to wear one item as a statement: think a solid black outfit punctuated by a multi-coloured pocketbook; a simple white dress made prettier with hand embroidered flowers, or a black jacket dressed up by an entire panel of artistic embroidery on the back.
It’s the combination of unique artisanal touches added to modern styles that has attracted the attention of large events, such as Fashion Forward, Dubai’s biggest fashion week, where Tabari has shown her wares both on the catwalk and in the Garden display area.
Mochi is also in demand in the world’s capitals, and sells at hot boutiques like London’s Dover Street Market. It may have been there that Cara Delevingne and her sister Poppy bought their first pieces–or perhaps they saw Rita Ora wearing Mochi and followed suit. In any case, Tabari was delighted to see that her label had quickly gained a celebrity following.
Of course, you can never have enough A-listers wearing your designs, and so it comes as no surprise that Tabari now has her sights set on Blake Lively, who she’d love to see sporting one of her Palestinian Mochi pieces. We do hope Blake helps to ‘Preserve’ these wonderful artisan traditions!
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Images: Mochi, Instagram