Lina Mustafa speaks to Buro 24/7 Middle East about her new concept ‘The Luxury Arcade’
Multibrand boutique inspired by an arcade
From dealing with architects to sourcing the latest trends - and everything else that goes on behind-the-scenes of launching a new store, multitasking is something 23-year-old Lina Mustafa has become very familiar with.
UAE-born Mustafa of Palestinian origin studied fashion design before pursuing a course in business fashion at the London College of Fashion, where she really found her calling. Equipped with skills and creative flair, Mustafa set out to launch 'The Luxury Arcade', a new multibrand boutique located in her hometown Abu Dhabi. Buro 24/7 Middle East discovers what visitors can look forward to at the new store...
What is your vision for The Luxury Arcade? Is there a particular vibe you've aimed to capture?
I want The Luxury Arcade to have a really cool, urban atmosphere. I have tried to achieve this through my choice of music and décor for the store. I want people to enjoy themselves and for them to not want to leave.
What inspired you to call it The Luxury Arcade?
I really wanted to create something unique and fun, so it took me quite a while to come up with the name. After being inspired by an arcade and all of its games I thought this would be perfect as it was different and meaningnful to all of my target audience (everyone loves an arcade), so this is the theme you will find running throughout the store.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the store's interior design features.
The architect Rasha Gebran, who was behind the store's design wanted to make it look like you were walking inside a giant claw machine. To ensure we kept an edgy and industrial feel we added small elements of an arcade without trying to be too literal. One of my favourite pieces of the interior is the art installation on the walls which was created by Saif B. Chilmiran and Rami Schoenthaler, especially for The Luxury Arcade.
What collections will be available?
I have sourced most of the brands on an international level such as Prabal Gurung, Damir Doma, Richard Nicoll, Marios Schwab and my new favourites Steve J and Yoni P. Next season I would also like to introduce some more amazing designers such as Peter Pilotto and Jonathan Simkhai. I have also seen some amazing design talents emerge regionally so have handpicked a few for the store, including Madiyah Al Sharqi and L'AFSHAR.
There are lots of multi-brand boutiques located across the UAE, how do you plan to stand out from the crowd?
My main focus is bringing in brands that aren't well known or available in the UAE yet. Also the store speaks for itself, as a concept store with a fun theme this is going to be somewhere that is easy and relaxed to shop. I want people to come with their friends and enjoy the space whilst shopping some really amazing brands.
How would you describe a typical client you hope to cater to?
I want to reach people that appreciate minimalism, are passionate about fashion and appreciate the truly talented and independent designers I will be stocking.
What has been the most challenging aspect in launching the business?
Opening a store is a 24/7 job with one hundred different roles. From dealing with contractors to architects and all the paper work, not to mention the buying and shipping of the products... it can become overwhelming at times.
Does your own style influence your buying habits for the store?
It really does, I love minimalism so this is definitely evident in my buying strategies. Who doesn't love simple, edgy and strong pieces? My only problem is I tend to gravitate a lot towards black so this is something I'm trying to work at.
Your favourite designer... I am obsessed with Damir Doma.
Your favourite UAE hangout... Monte Carlo Beach Club in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai my favourite restaurant is La Serre.
Your favourite shopping location worldwide... Montaigne Market in Paris is my heaven (the majority of the clothing is black).
Your personal style in three words... Minimal, black, love menswear (sorry that's four!)
The Luxury Arcade is located at World Trade Center Mall, Abu Dhabi