A Palestinian born in Riyadh, raised in Amman, educated in London and now based in Dubai, Ayah Tabari has naturally been influenced by travel. With her brand Mochi – a South Asian term that refers to chain-stitched embroidery – she brings the influences of other lands and cultures to life in her gorgeous, vibrant designs.
Scoop Empire partner Sabrina Khalil caught up with Tabari to chat about the designer’s history in the field, the inspiration behind her brand and her thoughts on fashion in the Middle East today.
Give us a little background on Mochi, why is it different than other brands out there?
Mochi is definitely a unique concept. For every collection, I choose a new destination to base it upon. Once I’ve done my research, I travel to my chosen country to source my fabrics and my production. Every piece that I create is totally unique, which really makes Mochi stand out in my opinion.
Are you the sole designer for the brand? What was the pulling factor that got you into fashion?
I do all the designing myself. It wasn’t until I was in Jaipur and I fell in love with absolutely everything about it – from the embroidery to the people – it was then I decided I wanted to start Mochi.
Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer and, if not, what would be the alternative?
I studied business in university. Fashion wasn’t on the cards for me business-wise, but I grew up always having an interest. My mother and sisters are my inspiration.
Describe the first piece you ever designed.
It was the crop top and skirt form the Jaipur collection and I continued through with the design in my Thailand and Hungary collections. It’s such a great outfit, there are so many different ways you can wear it.
We noticed each collection has a different theme, named after a country. How do you tie the collections with these nations?
Each collection is named after the country I source and produce the pieces in. So everything from the Jaipur collection was made in Jaipur and all the embroidered fabrics are made there too. It’s the same concept for every collection.
You have a very unique choice for fabrics and colors. Where do you get inspiration for most of your pieces?
I normally spend a lot of time re-searching my chosen destinations before I travel to them. I love anything colourful and I think the collections I’ve produced so far really stand out in terms of embroidery.
How would you describe a “Mochi Woman”?
She’s fun, playful and not scared of taking risks.
There is an influx of fashion designers coming out of the region right now. What are your thoughts on this and is there anyone you are following in particular?
There are some really talented designers in this region. I’ve been following Madiyah Al Sharqi for a while now and I think her pieces are stunning.
Thoughts on fashion bloggers? Is there anyone you support / recommend following ?
There are some bloggers that are really great and stand out. I love Aimee Song of Song Of Style.
If I had to choose someone it would be Queen Rania, she’s incredible!
In your perspective, who is the face of fashion in the Middle East right now?
It’s very hard to pick, Arab women are known for their amazing style, they really love to take risks and I have a lot of respect for many of them!
Who are your influences from the West?
In terms of style, I love Nicole Richie, she can wear anything and rock it, whether it’s denim cut-offs or a gown, she really knows how dress. I’d love to see her in one of my pieces!
Your most exciting fashion moment ever?
Probably when I saw Miraslava Duma wearing a crop top and skirt. There have been so many exciting moments in my career so far, it’s really hard to pick just one.
Where do you see Mochi in ten years?
Hopefully being stocked in stores all over the world and seen on some fabulous people!
Where can we get Mochi’s fabulous outfits?
We just launched online and are shipping world-wide, you can find everything on www.allthingsmochi.com.
WE SAID THIS: Also check out Mochi on Instagram @allthingsmochi.