10 Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands For 2021

Published August 11th, 2021 - 06:59 GMT

It takes determination, self confidence and courage to start your own business, and particularly for a woman in the Middle East where she needs to challenge stereotypes and pave her own path to success. The 10 phenomenal women mentioned in our slideshow today are among Forbes’ “40 women behind Middle Eastern brands” list.

These 10 ambitious entrepreneurs not only succeeded in establishing their own businesses, but they also created brands and labels that made a reputation beyond their own countries.

 

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1. Huda & Mona Kattan

1. Huda & Mona Kattan: Huda Kattan started her career as a blogger in 2010.. In 2013, Huda decided to partner with her sisters Mona and Alya to transform her successful blog into a beauty brand in 2013, starting out by selling false eyelashes at cosmetics store Sephora. Today, Huda Beauty is one of the most known make-up brands globally, and its sub-brand, Kayali Fragrances which Mona founded in 2018 is flourishing too. In 2020, Forbes estimated the annual sales of the Huda Beauty to be around $250 million.

2. Reem Acra

2. Reem Acra: Reem Acra is one of the icons in the fashion industry, regionally and internationally. She started her career by launching Reem Acra New York in 1997. She then established her ready-to-wear collection in 2001. Acra recently collaborated with Snapchat to launch her spring 2021 collection. It’s worth mentioning that Acra’s fabulous designs have been worn by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Halle Berry, and Selena Gomez.

3. Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali

3. Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali: Driven by a strong passion for jewellery design, Azza Fahmy boldly ventured into a bustling market in Cairo and convinced a master goldsmith to take her on as an apprentice. She became the first woman in Egypt to enter the jewellery trade this way. Today, Fahmy’s designs have been worn by celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Raya Abirached, and Yousra. Fahmy’s two daughters, Fatma and Amina Ghali, are the company’s CEO and Head Designer, respectively.

4. Dima Rashid

4. Dima Rashid: Although Dima Rashid majored in Psychology and minored in Political Science, her passions were mainly in the design and jewellery field. Today, Dima Rashid’s jewellery line, Dima, has been worn by a wide range of celebrities, including Queen Rania, Oprah Winfrey, and Gigi Hadid. And it is being stocked everywhere, from Harvey Nichols to Erickson Beamon.

5. Gemy Maalouf

5. Gemy Maalouf: Inspired by her father’s fabric factory, Maalouf decided to open her first atelier in Beirut in 1996. Today, you can see Maalouf’s designs in 48 different countries and if you google her name, you’ll find her outstanding designs on celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson, and Kat Dennings.

6. Nour Hammour

6. Nour Hammour: The French-Lebanese designer Nour Hammour founded her brand in 2013. Today, the Parisian label — favored by Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber — managed to build a growing business out of its customizable leather jackets and saw sales triple during lockdown. Hammour’s designs are sold online at Moda Operandi, Saks fifth avenue, and Intermix, among others, as well as points of sale across Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

7. Razan Alazzouni

7. Razan Alazzouni: The Saudi designer founded her brand in 2008. Razan’s clothing is all about exuding the femininity, delicacy and grace of the female form. She derives most of her inspiration from women themselves and their natural poise. Alazzouni’s designs have been seen on stars such as Elizabeth Banks and Kendall Jenner. In 2020, she launched her first children’s wear collection in collaboration with Kuwait’s MoonChild . In July 2021, the label introduced its first kids capsule collection.

8. Andrea Wazen

8. Andrea Wazen: The Lebanese designer Andrea Wazen launched her brand in 2013 in Beirut after studying and getting her inspiration from the major capitals of fashion. Wazen aims at supporting local artisans by designing and producing her pieces in Beirut. Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hailey Bieber, Emilia Clarke, and Demi Lovato.

9. Sandra Mansour

9. Sandra Mansour: The French-Lebanese designer launched her ready-to-wear brand in Beirut in 2010. In August 2020, she launched her “Fleur du Soleil” collection with H&M. Her designs have been seen on celebrities including Gigi Hadid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anya Taylor Joy, Ellie Goulding, and Lady Gaga.

10. Jude Benhalim

10. Jude Benhalim: In 2011, the 17-year old aspiring Jude Behalim founded her jewelry brand. The young entrepreneur gets her inspiration from architecture and her Middle Eastern roots. Her pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Chrissy Teigen, and Adriana Lima.

1. Huda & Mona Kattan
2. Reem Acra
3. Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali
4. Dima Rashid
5. Gemy Maalouf
6. Nour Hammour
7. Razan Alazzouni
8. Andrea Wazen
9. Sandra Mansour
10. Jude Benhalim
1. Huda & Mona Kattan
1. Huda & Mona Kattan: Huda Kattan started her career as a blogger in 2010.. In 2013, Huda decided to partner with her sisters Mona and Alya to transform her successful blog into a beauty brand in 2013, starting out by selling false eyelashes at cosmetics store Sephora. Today, Huda Beauty is one of the most known make-up brands globally, and its sub-brand, Kayali Fragrances which Mona founded in 2018 is flourishing too. In 2020, Forbes estimated the annual sales of the Huda Beauty to be around $250 million.
2. Reem Acra
2. Reem Acra: Reem Acra is one of the icons in the fashion industry, regionally and internationally. She started her career by launching Reem Acra New York in 1997. She then established her ready-to-wear collection in 2001. Acra recently collaborated with Snapchat to launch her spring 2021 collection. It’s worth mentioning that Acra’s fabulous designs have been worn by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Halle Berry, and Selena Gomez.
3. Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali
3. Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali: Driven by a strong passion for jewellery design, Azza Fahmy boldly ventured into a bustling market in Cairo and convinced a master goldsmith to take her on as an apprentice. She became the first woman in Egypt to enter the jewellery trade this way. Today, Fahmy’s designs have been worn by celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Raya Abirached, and Yousra. Fahmy’s two daughters, Fatma and Amina Ghali, are the company’s CEO and Head Designer, respectively.
4. Dima Rashid
4. Dima Rashid: Although Dima Rashid majored in Psychology and minored in Political Science, her passions were mainly in the design and jewellery field. Today, Dima Rashid’s jewellery line, Dima, has been worn by a wide range of celebrities, including Queen Rania, Oprah Winfrey, and Gigi Hadid. And it is being stocked everywhere, from Harvey Nichols to Erickson Beamon.
5. Gemy Maalouf
5. Gemy Maalouf: Inspired by her father’s fabric factory, Maalouf decided to open her first atelier in Beirut in 1996. Today, you can see Maalouf’s designs in 48 different countries and if you google her name, you’ll find her outstanding designs on celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson, and Kat Dennings.
6. Nour Hammour
6. Nour Hammour: The French-Lebanese designer Nour Hammour founded her brand in 2013. Today, the Parisian label — favored by Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber — managed to build a growing business out of its customizable leather jackets and saw sales triple during lockdown. Hammour’s designs are sold online at Moda Operandi, Saks fifth avenue, and Intermix, among others, as well as points of sale across Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
7. Razan Alazzouni
7. Razan Alazzouni: The Saudi designer founded her brand in 2008. Razan’s clothing is all about exuding the femininity, delicacy and grace of the female form. She derives most of her inspiration from women themselves and their natural poise. Alazzouni’s designs have been seen on stars such as Elizabeth Banks and Kendall Jenner. In 2020, she launched her first children’s wear collection in collaboration with Kuwait’s MoonChild . In July 2021, the label introduced its first kids capsule collection.
8. Andrea Wazen
8. Andrea Wazen: The Lebanese designer Andrea Wazen launched her brand in 2013 in Beirut after studying and getting her inspiration from the major capitals of fashion. Wazen aims at supporting local artisans by designing and producing her pieces in Beirut. Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hailey Bieber, Emilia Clarke, and Demi Lovato.
9. Sandra Mansour
9. Sandra Mansour: The French-Lebanese designer launched her ready-to-wear brand in Beirut in 2010. In August 2020, she launched her “Fleur du Soleil” collection with H&M. Her designs have been seen on celebrities including Gigi Hadid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anya Taylor Joy, Ellie Goulding, and Lady Gaga.
10. Jude Benhalim
10. Jude Benhalim: In 2011, the 17-year old aspiring Jude Behalim founded her jewelry brand. The young entrepreneur gets her inspiration from architecture and her Middle Eastern roots. Her pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Chrissy Teigen, and Adriana Lima.