I’ll take one in every color!
There is so much to take away from the fashion success story of Amina Muaddi– 33 year old entrepreneur and fashion label under the same name- making it a perfect addition to my Company to Watch series. The accessory designer grew up between Jordan, Romania and Italy, and cites her mother as fostering her love of fashion at a young age. In a recent Vogue article, Muaddi mentions her mother in setting the ground work for her interest in the fashion world, “I would try on [my mother’s] shoes even when I could barely walk in them. She always took care of herself and took such care in the way she dressed, so she was my introduction to this world and led to my passions.”
After studying at the European Institute of Design in Milan, Muaddi worked as a stylist for L’Uomo Vogue and GQ US, yet quickly found her passion was in design and the craftsmanship of accessories. This motivated her to dedicate a lot of time learning about the intense shoe manufacturing process in Riviera del Brenta, Italy’s famous shoe-making district. In observing the lack of technical knowledge her peers had in regards to shoe design, during a course she attended in college, Muaddi regarded this hands-on learning in the factory as extremely important. This experience quickly paid off when she created her own brand and produced her eclectic, complex heels, which are composed of 40 to 50 pieces each and deemed an incredibly comfortable shoe despite their height!
It was early on in her career that Muaddi partnered with a friend to start her first shoe brand called Oscar Tiye. Despite having promising beginnings, the brand wasn’t a success and soon closed up shop. However, Muaddi was persistent and launched her second label in 2018 under her own name. Since the launch, Muaddi has had the opportunity to collaborate with French couturier Alexandre Vauthier on the launch of his shoe line as well as design the footwear for Rihanna’s LVMH-owned FENTY line, which launched in July 2020 and from which Muaddi won the Collaborator of the Year award at the FN Achievement Awards.
Muaddi is unique to the industry in myriad of ways. Firstly, in her brand’s style. Her shoes, which were deemed as “pandemic proof” in the fashion editorial world, are about as sophisticated and eccentric as it gets- somehow expertly balancing the two. Muaddi’s shoe designs are instantly recognizable and a cult favorite with celebrities and influencers a like- Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, and Irina Shayk to name drop. The shoes have edgy, yet tasteful signature styles, such as a square bottom heel, rhinestone embellishments, and a square toe. There is no question who the creator is when you spot the shoes, you just know it has to be Muaddi. Bottom line, they are eye-catching and splashy, making them perfect for capture on Instagram… if you have a cool $1,300.
Her business model also isn’t defined by standard fashion norms. When Muaddi first started her Amina Muaddi brand, she knew that she wanted to launch a see now, buy now product through wholesale, which has kept interest very high. She didn’t want to appear in fashion week months ahead of the pieces’s sale date, despite being advised against it, noting in Vogue Arabia “my customer never gets bored of my product before it even hit the stores”. Muaddi also only designs two collections a year, which can only be found in high end, third-party retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Mytheresa, and Ssense. Beautiful shoes with a secretive and anticipated release = fashion gold.
Yet, it’s her vulnerability in sharing how failure, patience, and persistence are part of the process that make her truly one of a kind. Although we like to think that she was, Muaddi was no overnight success. “[I]t took me 8 years to get to where I am today. And I failed before with my first brand, so I’m not scared of that,” Muaddi notes in a sit down with Business of Fashion. Muaddi has stuck to her gut instincts all along and its gotten her so far. Persistence has paid off.
I know I am on my tippy toes waiting to see what else this fashion maven has up her sleeve next, no not because I have a pair of Amin Mauddi’s myself… not just yet.