Edit your style with Rumana Nazim

In a city obsessed with fashion, the contemporary woman needs options. Millennial entrepreneur Rumana Nazim who recently opened a new concept store in Dubai, gives us her tips on fashion and home decor

United Arab Emirates, July 4, 2018

It shouldn't come as a surprise that fashion and style are two different things. Following fashion is pretty easy. Walk into any mall in Dubai, visit every high-end store and ask the sales person to show you the latest trends. Buy them, wear them. It's pretty straight forward - a robotic, clichéd and even (dare we say it) an uneducated way to approach fashion. But style . . . style is something else, style is everything.
Style is taking different elements and bringing them together in such a way that they work, for you and perhaps only you. Style isn't exclusive to fashion, but also home decor, art, and lifestyle. Style is an extension of who you are, that goes beyond what you wear and makes itself visible in all parts of your life. From the painting you choose to hang on your wall and how you hang it, to the little coffee table in the corner of your living room and the scented candles in your bedroom.
But how does one find their style? Cultivate the aesthetics of their life and then learn how to edit it? Dubai may be one of the world's fashion capitals but even the way we shop now isn't really helping us in our style journey. It's been apparent for some time now that we need a new way to shop - a conceptual way.
Entrepreneur Ruman Nazim, picked up on this need for Dubai women who needed more variety in the shopping experience, the same Dubai women who wanted to branch out and discover brands that weren't mainstream but offered them alternatives, variety and style. Rumana devlepoed and recently opened The Edit, a concept store in the heart of Al Wasl road.
'There was a gap in the market and I felt that the retail experience just wasn't personalised enough,' she says. 'We don't have many one-stop shops in Dubai which encapsulate art, fashion and a café. At The Edit, there's something for everyone and we want to focus on excellent customer service and quality of product, while being a place to unwind, relax, connect with your community and enjoy an artisanal, curated experience.'
Stationery, home décor, accessories, jewellery, skin, hair care, clothes and books that you wouldn't normally find in Dubai are available at The Edit. Rumana carefully selected and curated pieces from cult brands around the world including Paper London, Acler and AQ/AQ to create a diverse yet cohesive space, feel and collection. The top floor of the store is dedicated to being a community space which will host pop-up shops, art exhibitions, movie nights, yoga, wellbeing classes, talks and events.
City Times caught up with Rumana to discuss concept stores, starting up a business in Dubai and to get her tips on fashion and home decor.

How did you get the idea to open a concept store in Dubai?
Over the past few years, I had moved away from shopping in more traditional retail environments and began to enjoy 'experience' based shopping destinations much more. Bar a few places in Dubai, we don't really have many concept stores here and I wanted to bring that feeling of excitement and discovery to the local environment. The modern Dubai woman is educated, well-travelled and is looking for new experiences to enhance her lifestyle. So, the idea of a concept store fits in quite well here.

How did you come up with the name for the store?
It was the first name that popped in to my mind and funnily enough, the concept grew around it. Every piece in the store has been curated by myself and the entire collection is an edit of what I perceive the modern, Dubai woman would like to browse, so the name just stuck. Despite efforts to think of alternative names, this was the one that resonated the most.

Why did you choose this specific location?
I wanted The Edit to be located in a beautiful, independent space with a classic vibe, away from a shopping mall. The Jumeirah area has always been home to charming coastal residential and commercial villas and has a history of so many homegrown boutique concepts; all of this made the area an obvious choice! In addition, and as a Dubai baby, the area fills me with nostalgic memories of growing up in this city - plus, it's always great to be right by the beach!

You have a few emerging artists and designers featured in your store. Why was this important?
The intention is to make it a destination for people who are looking for fashion and beauty by cult brands which aren't otherwise readily available in Dubai, for work by emerging international artists, or to grab a cup of our outstanding tea or coffee. In addition to this, I want to provide a platform for young designers and artists and host events to showcase their work.

What was the process like of setting up a business in Dubai?
Setting up any business is no easy task and particularly, setting up a business with a new approach, when there isn't much precedent, is an even more daunting feat. Despite this, it's been important for me to approach the set-up with a mentality that doesn't take 'no' for an answer and one way or another, it was done! I'm also extremely lucky to be blessed with a group of friends and family who are a great support and my husband has especially been a constant pillar of strength for me.

What is the biggest misconception about starting your own business in the fashion industry?
There are quite a few misconceptions but the one most relevant to me so far has been the belief that a good plan will always easily translate into a good end-product. There are so many innovative and exciting ideas out there but being able to actually turn a vision into a reality, as well understanding how to get there, is an entirely different story. It's really important to learn from those who have done it before you, listen to your instinct and what your customer actually wants and think with a clear mind to connect these two with your original vision.

Fashion and Home Decor Tips:

What's a must-piece everyone should have in their home?
Can I choose two? The first would have to be good, ambient lighting and the second, a piece in their house which they feel a strong connection with - this could be an artwork, a book, or even a piece of stone picked up from a memorable trip somewhere. I travel quite a bit and every time I visit somewhere new, I bring home something to remind myself of the time I had. Rather than picking up a souvenir, I tend to pick up an object that I personally connect with and that, when when I look at it, will fill me with happy memories of the place.

What are the top three trends you see on the horizon that fashion enthusiasts should be aware of?
I'm quite wary of warning against any fashion trends as I think there isn't a 'one size fits all' notion with this. Everyone has their own style and capacity with being able to carry a trend off so it really depends from person to person!

Can you tell us about a brand that might not be too well known that we should all know about?
Without a doubt, Seren London.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to choose a unique wallpaper for their home but doesn't want to be too out of the box?
To begin with, I would recommend starting off with a colour palette that makes you feel happy, positive and inspired. This would vary from person to person (for example, I would never have the colour yellow on a wall in my house but others may find that it's a very bright and cheerful tone). Next, I would suggest choosing between a contemporary, classic or bold print and finally, starting off small - either place the wallpaper just on one wall or on opposite walls to avoid feeling too overwhelmed with any print. You could also integrate a printed wallpaper with painted walls in a similar, muted colour palette in order to make the room stand out without being overpowering.