EAST MEETS WEST: Dubai-based Ayse Arel Kulahcioglu spent several years helping Western brands grow their presence in the Middle East, and now she wants to bring little-known, high-end artisanal brands from other parts of the world to consumers, who are increasingly looking for different, authentic products.
That is the concept behind Maison Orient, the online platform she launched early in September, offering creative mid- to high-end labels. “These brands are really not represented worldwide, I wanted to create a platform for them,” explained the executive, who in the past worked at Kenzo in Paris, Harvey Nichols in Istanbul and Boutique 1 in Dubai. “These countries are very rich in terms of brands.”
So far, the site offers over 90 brands from the Middle East and Africa. In the longer term, Arel would like to add labels from Asia, too.
“I look at the stories of the brands, and what makes them different. Some of them have social causes,” she explained. “A lot of people are surprised that such great designers come out of these countries.”
The web site ships worldwide, with prices ranging from $80 to around $1,500.