Since 1985, Al-Ostoura is at the forefront of High-end fashion and is recognized for being the Avant-garde fashion retailer in Kuwait. Over the years, Al-Ostoura has grown to become one of the biggest fashion retailers in the country with over 40 operating stores distributed amongst the luxury malls in Kuwait.
Al-Ostoura was founded by Najla Maatouk, a refined and dynamic entrepreneur that was recently included into the Order of Italian Solidarity by the President of Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi for her work in promoting Italian Culture abroad.
Throughout the years, Al-Ostoura built its reputation as a top service-oriented company sharing with high-profile fashionistas it’s unique selection of established designers such as Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Etro, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and many more..
As a pioneer in the fashion field, Al Ostoura launched Kuwait’s first Arabic fashion magazine for the pleasure of bringing global catwalk trends to clients. It then started the first point-based loyalty rewards program as well as the official e-shopping service coming closer to fashion lovers and trendsetters.
After brilliantly completing his Masters in Industrial Design at the DOMUS Academy, Milan, Ramzi sought to bring his new ideas & experience to Al-Ostoura as well as his impressive Intentional network of key decision-makers & influencers.
His strategic vision reuniting a perfect balance of structure & innovation took Al-Ostoura to new heights: Al-Ostoura was invited to become one of the few distinguished members in the Italian Luxury Brand Association Altagamma.
Kamsyn met with Ramzi Tabiat, for an inspiring talk about Al-Ostoura’s Journey, achievements & future plans.
Tell us more about the history and evolution of Al-Ostoura
AL OSTOURA started as a multi-brand boutique founded by my mother Najla Maatouk in 1985. She used to tell me “I just wanted to be surrounded by beautiful clothes. My clothes are my paintings and they tell my story.”
Being the creative spirit that she is, she wanted to go beyond the usual designers and look for new talents all over the world. On a trip to Japan in 1984, she discovered the works of then unknown local designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, with which she immediately connected creatively. A year later AL OSTOURA was born bringing to Kuwait something totally new, unexpected, and completely out of the box.
Today, AL OSTOURA is a leading retailer of designer brands in Kuwait and the Middle East. Since it was established in 1985, AL OSTOURA has grown along the GCC fashion industry creating many milestones along the way. We have also expanded our luxury segments by adding fine jewelry lines, interior design, and contracting services from renowned furniture brands from around the world.
How did Al-Ostoura influence the fashion industry in Kuwait and the Gulf?
We influenced the fashion industry in Kuwait and in the Gulf by always being at the forefront of fashion. We took an uncharted route that we believed in and adhered to; bringing a brand mix that was totally new and groundbreaking in the ‘80s fashion scene as we are still doing now. Our drive and belief in “thinking out of the box” brought Japanese fashion as well as up and coming brands to the region that later became must-haves.
We will continue to influence the industry by always being on the forefront of finding new designers that will shape and evolve our ever changing industry.
What are the biggest challenges that Al Ostoura faces in the industry in which it operates?
It’s not easy finding new and talented individuals with enough drive, determination and ambition; having a clear mission and vision who can remain relevant in this rapidly evolving industry. Al Ostoura invests in the best designers and supports the creative industry as well as making sure the customer is always satisfied and special.
Does Al Ostoura have any plans of expanding in the Art Markets, like many European and International retail groups ?
I personally consider that AL OSTOURA is already in the Art Market since years. Today art has broken all boundaries. Art is a means of communication without borders.
The fashion industry is built on designers, craftsmen, technicians, artists, architects, interior designers, communicators, photographers, and so on who are all artists looking to voice themselves.
In my opinion Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto, Lee McQueen of Alexander McQueen or Azzedine Alaïa are some of the most important artists of our time.
What are Al Ostoura’s future plans?
We will continue to strive in finding and supporting the young talents that will contribute in shaping the industry tomorrow.
As a Young talent it’s much harder to breakthrough in the industry today compared to 30 years ago; therefore I believe it is our duty to guide and help the talent of tomorrow grow through mentorship programs for example.
Follow Al-Ostoura: www.alostoura.com
Kamsyn, May 2016