As part of series of interviews, CPP-LUXURY.COM is taking a close look at Qatar’s essential influence in fashion both in the Middle East but also globally. Recently, we have spoken to siblings Shouq and Fahad Marzook, co-founders of the Marzook luxury fashion brand, which participated at the inaugural Fashion Trust Arabia in Doha, Qatar, under the patronage of HRH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser
What motivated you to start your own business? Why fashion?
Fahad “Initially it was about looking for a product that wasn’t available, in my case it was gladiator shoes, from designing for family and friends I felt I could offer something unique and different. I started my first brand hbyfdesign then a few years later my sister and partner joined my company and we rebranded to our accessory brand Marzook.
Shouq: Why not fashion? It’s the ultimate freedom in terms of expression through creativity and design.
How aware are you of the means you can employ to position your brand? – affordable, upscale, premium or luxury. What makes your brand and your products desirable?
Fahad: Luxury, we design wearable art. When we first started people didn’t quite get the idea behind the brand, it was fun, playful and over the top.
Shouq: What we created with Marzook is a “members only” set of ideal. It’s not for everyone, but it’s for people that truly want something fresh and eye catching.
Fahad: the Marzook girl wants an attention grabbing bag that’s what we do. We design bags and accessories that will definitely get conversations going but most of all we promote a sense of uniqueness.
Shouq: its all about individuality, through transparency and our choice of materials each bag reflects a clients own sense of style depending on what she puts in her bag.
Luxury is also about storytelling – a brand has to tell a story. What is your story?
Fahad: Our story is we come from a family where you have limited options as to what you will be when you grown up. Most of our family members are bankers or work in the corporate world, whereas I wanted to work in any creative outlet. My father was adamant on me receiving a “normal” degree and that was far away from design or fashion. I decided to work and study at the same time to pursue my dreams of being a fashion designer one day.
Shouq: with my background in engineering and an MBA I decided to join Fahad’s brand at the time, help him make his dream a reality. After working together we realised we needed it to be about us, our relationship as brother/sister and best friends and merge our creative minds into a mature version of what we felt was an accessory brand, Marzook. In our logo you see the two interlocking O’s which resembles our bond, from there after and extensive research we realized there was a lack of circular bags in the market and from there we decided to make the circular transparent bag, Marzook’s DNA.
To what extent your potential customers are influenced by your nationality or the country you are based?
Fahad: you know Shouq and I always go back to our first fashion week in Paris when the showroom we were with at the time asked us “Why would anyone buy a Kuwaiti handbag?”
Shouq: That question really upset us because we thought why not!? We were offering a desirable product why wouldn’t it be bought regardless of its origin. In a time where the world is so well connected with social media, consumers care about originality and nonconformity.
What is your brief strategy outline for the next 3 years? What are you realistically aiming to achieve?
Fahad: When I look back at the year I’m always so amazed with how far we have taken the brand in such a short period of time. Trunk shows from Le Sélect in China to Bergdorf Goodman in New York, special neon Collection collaboration with celebrity influencer Sofia Richie, it’s been an amazing rollercoaster of physical and emotional stress but it’s a rush for us. We thrive on it.
We have learned to deal with stress and work well under pressure. We have a few more collaborations coming up in 2019 which are exciting.
Shouq: Our strategy is to increase B2C interest through our e-commerce platform. One element of our business I would like to grow is reaching the consumer directly. That is our main goal within the next couple of years.
How important is leadership expressed through projects such as Fashion Trust Arabia for you as a designer but also as a business owner?
Fahad: Fashion Trust Arabia was one of the toughest commitments we had to go through in our career. It was emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. It was the first competition we have ever signed up for, but overall it was an opportunity that we will never forget. We learned a lot, but most importantly the relationships we made will last a lifetime.
Shouq: Fahad and I always felt the region was lacking in terms of a “fashion community” there were no mentors, no fashion friends for us to turn to when we needed advice. We learned through our own mistakes and trial and error, but this experience is the first step to recognizing Arab talent and solidifying our stance in the fashion industry. The first class of Fashion Trust Arabia are born leaders in the industry, the whose who of Arab talent that have worked so hard for several years through many hurdles to reach where they are today. Being a part of that community was extremely rewarding.
The series of interviews has been facilitated by Thomas-François Bouige who is an International Fashion Consultant based in France and a member of Qatar Fashion Society.
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