While the thought of going into business with a family member might well strike fear into the hearts of many, for sisters Dania and Mariam it was nothing more than smart thinking. With a strong sense of family that would make even the Kardashians feel insufficient, the idea of launching their debut jewellery line, Kamushki, with anyone else just didn’t make good business sense.
“Working with my sister has been amazing,” Mariam says of the design dynamic. “I’m in charge of managing design and production, and I’m also involved in the design process along with Dania.” Chatting with the women, it begins to make sense that Kamushki really is an extension of a tight-knit family, both fiercely proud of their Libyan heritage. Born in Tripoli and Zurich, and raised in Switzerland, the sisters come from a long line of inspiring women, intent on carving their own way.
“We were raised and inspired by very strong women in our family,” Dania explains. “Our mother and our aunts always taught us to be confident and never be afraid to take risks, especially when it comes to style.”
It’s this familial affinity and unequivocal respect of their heritage that is integral to Kamushki’s design DNA.
“Our debut collection centres on the fishbone,” says Dania. “The fish is a very important cultural symbol in Libya, because it’s believed that it disrupts bad energy and the evil eye, whilst also symbolising freedom, good luck and happiness. In fact, we called the collection ‘Wishbone’, because it’s lucky,” she adds, smiling.
Lucky indeed, seeing as the brand is already stocked in boutiques such as Browns London and S*uce in Dubai. Both dedicated followers of fashion, the sisters are no strangers to raiding the racks on their regular far-flung adventures, citing Selfridges in London, Harvey Nichols in Dubai and Trois Pomme in Zurich as their homes-from-home. Calling upon Dolce & Gabbana (both), Versace (Mariam) and Céline (Dania) to inform their daily wardrobe choices, they turn to Jackie Onassis, Jane Birkin and Sophia Loren for sartorial inspiration. However, when looking to the region, what they both truly admire are the savoir-faire edicts adhered to by Middle Eastern women. “They have incredible style,” Mariam concludes.
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Maria for Soh Art + Beauty. Make-Up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Zaya Nurai Island