Fellow Fashionistas, there’s a new Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in town and their names are Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim. Identical twins and the owners behind new fashion brand, Mataano, these sisters are ready to take over the fashion world one design at a time. Already creating a name for themselves, the beloved Oprah has recently featured the duo on her TV show mirroring their accomplishments with the Olsen sisters and applauding them for their inspirational story and much deserved success.
Success of course hasn’t come easily. Ayaan and Idyl had to work hard and experience great struggles to get where they are thus far. When they were the tender age of nine, their parents, who are native Somalis, escaped their country’s civil war and moved to America in search for a better life. They ended up residing in Washington DC and received their higher education at Boston University and University of Michigan. From there, Ayaan and Idyl went on to pursue the Big City in hopes of beginning their own fashion line.
Determined to stand out from the pack of fellow designers, Ayaan and Idyl worked their way from the bottom up in the industry and immensely studied their craft and sharpened their talent for design. In the beginning of 2008, Ayaan and Idyl soared closer to their dreams and created their brand Mataano. They debuted their Spring 2009 capsule collection in November in New York City and instantly received nothing but positive feedback from viewers. Their premiere collection consisted of ten beautifully crafted dresses heavily influenced by their native culture and of course, the bloom of Spring.
Clutch: What is the meaning of Mataano?
Mataano: Mataano means “twins” in Somali. It’s a reflection of our identities. We are twin sisters born in the United States and raised for nine years in Somalia before leaving due to civil unrest.
Clutch: How have things been since your appearance on the Oprah Show?
Mataano: A whirlwind! We went from zero to a hundred in a matter of days. The “Oprah effect” is incredibly powerful. Being on the show has given us the national credibility that will bring Mataano to the forefront in fashion.
Clutch: Spring 09 debuts your first collection from the line, a capsule collection of ten dresses; Was there a specific concept or theme?
Mataano: Spring in bloom was our theme, and we used rich textures and vibrant hues to showcase our collection. Our fabric and color was influenced by our Somali culture.
Clutch: As women of color and more specifically Somali, is it important to incorporate your culture in your designs?
Mataano: We have always felt the intermingling of cultures to be natural and authentic, and aim to bring that aesthetic to the public through the Mataano brand. We are a product of dual cultures and it is important that our designs reflect that.
Clutch: What do you do to maintain a fresh perspective in your design process?
Mataano: We stay abreast of fresh and new ideas. We do a lot of research and development prior to designing a collection and we make sure we travel for inspiration and influence. Everything else is innate–you’re born with it!
Clutch: The one designer you would love to collaborate with and why?
Mataano: That’s a tough question. There are too many talented designers out there for us to just pick one. If we had to pick one, we would pick Oscar de la Renta because we love his use of fabric, texture and colors. He is always reinventing his company and his designs–not to mention, we hear that he is the sweetest man and has a great personality as well.
Clutch: Five years from now Mataano will…?
Mataano: …be a household name.
For more information on Mataano please visit www.mataano.com.