AS FOUNDER AND CEO of a Dubai salon since 2015, and later a high-end women’s designer boutique, also based in the city, Gulnora Mukhedinova knows a thing or two about glamour. Having recently debuted her latest Baravia Fashion collection at Arab Fashion Week 2019 in the UAE and picked up a Kotinos International Award in collaboration with the United Nations International Charitable Organization, the Uzbekistan national is keen to explain the ideas behind her work and thoughts on the regional garment and cosmetic industry.
How important is social media for your business? Do you think luxury brands such as yours should move away from it to maintain that exclusive touch?
In the modern world, your business depends on social media presence. It doesn’t matter if you run a small or large company. The social media platform is a crucial tool for your business marketing strategy. Social media increases awareness about your business, connects you with your customers and increases your leads and income. To engage with brands and the latest fashion, most people use social media accounts.
Instagram has not only helped me successfully promote my business, but the social app is responsible for helping me develop key social relationships across multiple countries. For me, it’s deeper than a mere picture-sharing platform. I’m connected to multiple parts of the world and exposed to different forms of art daily. I believe this has introduced a diversity which I apply in my designs, which is part of the reason why I continue to inspire people with my content.
How easy is it to set up a business here in Dubai? How long did it take from inception to realisation of both the beauty and fashion side of your empire?
My interest in fashion and beauty started in 2005 and I always focus on small details when it comes to my look and style. I wanted to make a name for myself across the Arab world so I decided to put up my own business here in Dubai. I launched Baravia Beauty Center four years ago and Baravia Fashion in 2018.
Baravia Fashion is still new in the market and our fashion shop is located in Al Hana Center where there are some competitors, but we continue to survive.
The Gulf clothing market is becoming increasingly demanding. Some people would prefer that their couture wear is ready and accessible for their convenience. Malls cater to this well. My strategy is to appeal to the masses and to always make sure our clients are satisfied with the services that we provide so they keep coming back.
My advice for someone who would wish to follow in my footsteps is to dream big and continue to reach your ambitions in life. I believe that if you really work hard and you have a good heart, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.
What is the inspiration behind your latest collection? What message do you hope the outfits portray?
My latest collection was showcased in Arab Fashion Week and the designs I’ve made are more focused on the nature of beauty. I am always known for my simple designs with embellishments and embroidery. My dresses are mostly timeless and I don’t focus on the age gap when I’m designing.
Do you take any inspiration from your homeland, Uzbekistan, and put it into your designs?
My inspiration comes from imaginary sensations that I dream about, which complement me and correspond with my thoughts on various subjects.
What is your work ethic?
The point is to harness your attitude and continuously point it in the right direction, regardless of daily challenges. The thing is to have a ceaseless desire to create and to proceed preserving your principles, without succumbing to the euphoria of victory. Most of all, you should have work mates who can keep up with these principles.
Dubai has steadily positioned itself as the regional hub for fashion entrepreneurs, stylists, designers and international retail brands. I’m so thankful to this country since I have been given the chance to pursue my dreams. Now Baravia Fashion is booming and will definitely continue to grow. We plan to expand to other countries in the region and to be able to reach out to other women.
What are your thoughts on the future of the luxury industry? Are you optimistic? Why do you believe, no matter what the economic climate, luxury goods and services remain so prominent?
The luxury industry has faced a number of changes in recent years especially in the Gulf region. I still believe that Dubai remains a leading city for luxury shopping, though there are challenges and there’s a large amount of competition. I think, in general, growth in the luxury goods industry will continue as the online market strengthens.
Where are your favourite places to relax in Dubai and what do you enjoy doing most during your time off? How much time off do you get?
I love all the places here in Dubai and I try to go out during weekends to relax and have lunch or dinner with my family.
Who in the industry do you most admire and why?
Coco Chanel, as I really love her timeless designs.
If you could dress anyone in the world who would it be?
I’d like to dress Angelina Jolie as she’s got a killer sense of fashion and she’s one of the most elegant women in Hollywood.