Spirited prints, vibrant embroidery and cheeky silhouettes give All Things Mochi a distinctiveness all its own – you’ll know it when you see it.
It’s hard to put Mochi in a box. At first glance, Ayah Tabari’s designs look colourful, ethnic and destined for life’s more playful moments. But upon closer inspection, the collection reveals its essence: confidence. The confidence to be bold, different and yes, a little loud.
That’s not to say it is destined to be worn by a few brave women. Instead, All Things Mochi is a form of expression, a magic ingredient that can be added in measured doses to an otherwise tame wardrobe. “It’s all about styling,” says the Palestinian-born designer. “I see people wearing our crop tops with a high-wasted black pencil skirt and blazer.”
But there’s more to the brand than eclectic prints and Frida-worthy skirts. The Dubai-based company was founded in 2013, with the premise that it would not only be inspired by cultures and traditions around the world but also create jobs and opportunities for work and growth in those communities. “I was in India with some friends in 2010 and was very inspired by the culture. I wanted to create something.” Wasting no time, Tabari created a bucket bag with the fabrics she fell in love with, and they sold out in no time. “I realised I was onto something,” she recalls.
Enthused, she then created the Jaipur collection – including the brand’s signature crop top and skirt – shortly after, during a whirlwind tour of Jaipur and Rajasthan, where she teamed up with local artisans. Since then, Tabari has sourced inspiration and materials from places like Thailand and Mexico, avoiding clichés and instead ingeniously capitalising on traditional craftsmanship to give her youthful collection unique and exotic flavour. Still, though, All Things Mochi continues to print their original fabrics in Mumbai, India – mostly on organic linen.
“Everything is a trend now: short, long, midi… but it’s more about how you wear it.”
For the AW 18 collection (which will be shown at New York Fashion Week on September 6th) wool and silk have been introduced, adding texture and a new colour palette to the brand’s roster – one that has an inherently strong DNA, unaffected by passing trends. It’s a strategy she is consciously adhering to, with her sights set on building something that is instantly recognisable. “Missoni has always been one of my favorite designers. It doesn’t change it up too much, people just know when it’s Missoni,” she asserts. “I want to become one of those brands.”
To ensure this level of consistency as she develops what she envisions as a lifestyle brand (one that already includes Mochi Swim, accessories and that she hopes will eventually encompasses furniture and menswear) she takes a long-term approach when it comes to designing, rather than chasing the next new thing. “Everything is a trend now: short, long, midi… but it’s more about how you wear it,” she says of the brand’s eye-catching aesthetic.
But Mochi’s signature style recently also caught the eye of the marketing team over at Kiehl’s. The cosmetic brand enlisted Tabari to design a print for their packaging for the month of Ramadan, with a portion of sales going to a charity in Dubai. And on that topic, Tabari is keen on pointing out that although social consciousness is an important aspect of her brand, it’s not about handouts. “We want to put people to work, we want to give these women jobs. But we don’t want to give them money today and not give them money tomorrow,” she explains.
Mochi may be hard to define, but a convincing fashion brand that can both support craftspeople and be spellbinding for the customer certainly packs the ultimate double punch.