Melanie Gissing Design
Autumn has arrived and as a new season makes the perfect excuse to add a few essentials to your wardrobe, we're making a bee line to Melanie Gissing Design (MGD).
Melanie Gissing Design is a Dubai institution and if you're a lover of fashion, we're betting that you already own one or two goodies from this fabulous local brand already.
MGD's collections appeal to women of all ages and cultures. It could be the well cut designs that are so versatile and easy to wear, the quality and attention to design or the gorgeous float prints. We're guessing it's all that, combined with a little Melanie magic! Find out why her fans keep returning time and time again...
Meet Melanie Gissing Design
Melanie Gissing Design (MGD) is an easy to wear boutique boho chic brand based in Dubai. A combination of growing up and living in various countries in the Middle East, together with a love of all things textiles leading to a Textiles Fashion Degree from London (BA Hons) is a loose background to the brand!
I love to design easy to wear pieces that are often flexible in the way you can wear them, but at the same time make the wearer feel effortlessly chic! My customer base is very diverse and eclectic, with women in the twenties up to their sixties buying from me, and all shapes and sizes particularly for the kimono range.
I take pride in having customers of all ages, sizes, nationalities and cultures buying MGD and I take great satisfaction in being able to provide a small fashion brand that crosses cultures and gives a bespoke option when desired. With regards to other brands I try not to compare, only to concentrate on what I like to design and offer optimum quality and a unique product that is not mass produced.
The talent behind the brand
Where to start. My mother taught me to use a sewing machine when I was 12 years old and I always loved to design and create. I have always had a strong arts background, which has been quite diverse and includes watercolour painting of old arab architecture and textiles.
Following school I completed an Arts Foundation course and then I completed BA Hons Degree in Textiles Fashion where I specialized in Constructed Textiles. Designing fabric before designing what the fabric might be used for has always been exciting to me, and in turn now helps to select fabric on a practical level as well as an aesthetic level for my business.
"I always loved to design and create"
Inspiration comes from all around. It comes from architecture, from femininity, from culture, textiles, artists, colour, light, travel, people and it also comes from my customers! I love to see my clients in my clothes and give their own spin on pieces and putting outfits and colour together in their individual ways, and when they contact me to tell me how much they love what they have bought and come back for more!
I design all my products. I try to design pieces that are free size for the most part and that can be worn in different ways.
For example, a twenty something person may buy a kimono and wear it with swimwear at a beach resort, or pair up with a cami top and a pair of ripped denim shorts with flip flops. A forty something person can buy the same kimono and wear it with a gorgeous cream jumpsuit and heels as a fabulous outfit to wear out for dinner. There are many options for any age to wear a kimono.
"I take pride in being a 'locally designed, locally made' brand in the UAE"
As mentioned above I design a couple of different type of kimonos. I have the abaya kimono which takes inspiration from the traditional abaya with a bat wing type sleeve, that comes in different lengths and I have a kimono with kimono style sleeve which can also be made in different lengths.
Often a printed chiffon or mixed silk or the weight of a fabric might dictate which design I select to make up the fabric. Pieces that are popular in the collections are different types of kimonos, loose shirt dresses, and kaftan tops. Other more bespoke pieces come in the form of wrap skirts, asymmetric tops, and custom-made bib collar necklaces.
A natural progression has also been the addition of accessory necklaces that I hand make to compliment the clothing range often using tassels and the Hand of Fatima. I like to think all pieces are unique.
I make lots of pieces myself, especially the bespoke pieces or anything made to order. But I also use tailors in Dubai to help product collections.
Most of my fabrics are also sourced from Dubai, but sometimes I source from abroad. I take pride in being a 'locally designed, locally made' brand in the UAE where I am able to give that extra special bespoke option wherever I can for any of my customers.
The voice of experience
Running your own business regardless of the size is hard work. Especially if you have a family and you are continuously swapping your hats, from wife, mother, driver, worker et al! Knowing what your target is important to identify.
Do want a small business to work around your schedule? Are you happy to keep it small and manageable? Do want to build something bigger? Can you afford to invest more time and resources if you want to build? How much time can you dedicate to your business? Each persons approach and desires can be different.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all my customers over the last few years for supporting me. Supporting a local brand is incredibly appreciated by any small business, especially as a mum who wants to create and work, and earn an income, but also be there for her children as I do.
I also want to thank the Saffron Souk team! I have been with the shopping platform from the beginning and have loved seeing the LM brand grow and develop too. As most of my customers know, I don’t like to mass produce my products keeping it more boutique to continue a more unique brand , and so I am continuously bringing new fresh prints and different fabrics.
I hope to continue to excite customers and perhaps widen the choice of designs in the coming months!
WIN a stunning kimono from Melanie Gissing Design's collection. All you have to do is make a purchase at melaniegissingdesign.saffronsouk.com during September 2018 and you will automatically be entered in to the draw.
Good luck and happy shopping.