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Interview: Ayah Tabari on Mochi’s Rising Success

It has been two years since I first sat down with a young, hopeful Ayah Tabari. At the time, she was presenting her debut, ethnic-inspired prêt-à-porter line, Mochi, whose concept is to focus on a destination per collection using embroidery savoir-faire of each stop, which will eventually feed a significant permanent collection. Since then, the Dubai-born, Palestinian designer has dressed Cara Delevingne, Poppy Delevingne, and Rita Ora; has been featured on Moda Operandi; has presented during London and Milan Fashion Weeks; and has become a go-to brand for fashionable Middle Eastern clientele.

We recently met again during the lookbook photoshoot of her permanent collection at her house in Emirates Hills, Dubai, to talk about her rising success and the importance of business ethics.

I still remember meeting you for the first time at the LuxCartel trunk show back in 2012. Give us your take on these past these two years.

I was actually thinking about it on my way here; so many things have happened. For me, it was just about becoming more mature and more aware of what was going on and the workings of the fashion industry. These past two years were a lot of hard work. To start a brand, you really have to think about where you want it to be. First of all, I got the showroom, then a website, and then a strong list of stockists.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about luck, hard work, and maintaining strong business ethics, which my father taught me. I wake up early everyday—even if my clients call me at 3am, I will pick up. I’m always on top of my business. I don’t delegate unless I can’t do it. Luck is important and you definitely need to have business ethics.

Design-wise, if you look at my debut Jaipur collection, I didn’t have an edge then. The second collection from Thailand was more mature. And the third was the Hungary collection, which was the flirting phase…I was getting married, so all the honeymoon stuff played a part. Now I still don’t know which collection I’ll go for, but hopefully something that will be an experience and personal to my story.


When did you feel this hard work finally paid off for you?

I don’t know—it has been really crazy. So many times something happens and my team gets so excited but I am just living day by day. Every experience is amazing. Working with Moda Operandi was great. You expect maybe a different approach with such high, international platforms, but they were so lovely. That was a really great stepping stone. Teen Vogue contacted me yesterday, which was huge. There are moments that I’m really excited about and then there’s me stepping back and saying, “Enjoy it, but take your time. Don’t go overboard and say ‘I did it!’”
—Sofia Guellaty

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