Mona Ead Mikati: The Creative Mind Behind Mounay
Mounay is a line that caters to modern women who wouldn’t compromise their femininity and elegance for the sake of everyday practicality.
Such a delicate name to a highly feminine line of clothing that I discovered over a year ago at a local designers’ boutique in Beirut. Even though I haven’t personally met the designer, Mona Ead Mikati (she was kind enough to answer my questions via email as she doesn’t reside in Lebanon), I could most certainly conclude the same quality about her as well, delicate, but non-the-less, determined. Here’s what se had to say about herself and Mounay:
Tell us more about you! Where are you from? Where did you go to school?
… I’m originally from Lebanon and I grew up in Kuwait then moved back to Beirut after high school to pursue my Business degree at AUB. After graduation, I worked for a multi national firm and then made a major shift to the fashion world.
When you’re not working, what are your interests, hobbies, etc?
Traveling is something I am passionate about, especially when it includes adventures and discovering new cultures. I also enjoy tennis (watching and playing)
How did you decide you want to be a designer? Where did you study design?
I always had a flair for fashion but had to wait for the right opportunity to enter the industry. In 2011, I moved to New York City for two years of intensive fashion design studies at FIT and a lifetime experience in the Big Apple. While studying, I interned with “Callula Lillibelle”, a contemporary label in Manhattan and participated in Spring 12 Mercedez-Benz Fashion. In 2013, I decided to move back to the Middle East to launch my own contemporary line “MOUNAY”, a sophisticated exclusive line of clothing catered for the elegant and unconventional woman.
Was your family supportive? -How did you convince them?
I’m very lucky to have a family who very much supports entrepreneurial initiatives. Whenever we are gathered, we often sit, discuss ideas and brainstorm together on how to improve a current business or pursue a new opportunity. Additionally, my husband, who works in management consulting, helps structure so many aspects of the business by providing support in strategic decisions and growth options.
What do you like best about being a designer?
The creativity, the colors, the textures of fabric, the details in finishing.. So many things I love in this industry! The PR side of the business is also fun, meeting new and interesting people adds a great charm.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you be?
I’ve always liked interacting with people, so if not a fashion designer, I would have worked in Human Resources (a position I held before deciding to make the move into fashion)
How did you come up with your logo?
When we were looking for a name for the brand, we wanted it to relate to my name as the designer “Mona” and yet we wanted it to have an oriental meaning, so we came up with MOUNAY, as in, “my wish”. When working with our graphic designer, we decided to play on the Arabic/ English letters, and add the pink dot to the U so it looks like an “N” in Arabic so the name can have a mix of both languages, a representation of the modern sophisticated middle-eastern lady.
How are you usually inspired?
I am inspired by everything around me: art, people, nature, music.. My goal in every collection is to offer something new while keeping the brand’s identity from a season to another. The MOUNAY woman is modern and edgy but is also very proud of her feminine side and not afraid to show it.
Which textures/material you like to use the most? Why?
I love working with different weights of crepe, it gives a beautiful structure to the garments. I’m also very fond of lace and gipure, so feminine and trendy!
What are your favorite colors to work with? Why?
Blush is one of my personal favorite colors, it’s a classic color that goes with everything and super feminine at the same time.
What are your favorite patterns [prints]?
Although I rarely use prints in the designs, I love it when I find a piece with a mix of bold prints! It is definitely something we will introduce at MOUNAY
Who are your favorite Arab, and international designer(s)?
We have genius couture designers in the Arab world, from Reem Acra, Zuhair Murad, Abed Mahfouz and of course the amazing Elie Saab are all masters we learn from as new upcoming designers. From the international scene, I’m fond of Stephan Roland’s designs.
What is/are the trend(s) you are totally fond of?
Color blocking and mixing different textures in one garment, it gives so much richness and a modern look to the designs.
Which trend you just couldn’t feel you’re into?
I couldn’t get around the crazy fur trend on the oversized coats with bold colors. It doesn’t suit my personality, however, I’m sure that some fashionistas pull it off super well!
I don’t believe that these days there is such thing as “ugly”, as long as every woman is able to identify what suits her personality rather than following trends blindly, she’s safe
What is “timeless” when it comes to fashion, in your opinion?
Minimalism, the clean lines and simplicity never go out of style!
Who’s your all-time favorite fashion idol (not a designer)?
My all time favorite is Audrey Hepburn because I am a fan of classic beauty and elegance. I also always make sure to check out Queen Rania of Jordan’s latest outfits; the lady-like elegance she portrays is very inspirational.
What are the highlighted pieces from your latest collection?
MOUNAY is known for the trendy vests and blazers we introduce every season! Our latest SS14 collection includes a sophisticated feel that lies in the detail, the cuts and choice of fabrics
Where can we find your creations?
MOUNAY is available in designer boutiques across the Middle East. We are also available online on the designers E-commerce website www.mooda.com/en/brands/MOUNAY
Where would you like to take your brand next?
On the long run, we’re looking to expand outside the Middle East and to open our own stand-alone boutiques.
We are highly confident that Mounay’s success will resonate internationally. Mona’s creations are smart, unique, really beautiful, and are done with meticulous finishing!