Marbella-born, Palestinian sisters and designers Rima Zahran, 34, and Dina Zahran, 29, of Dinz need no formal introductions, they’ve been amassing a cult following in the region for just over a decade with a brand as cute and playful as their teen-selves were back when they started in 2008. Yet while they’ve remained at the forefront of the region’s fashion industry, age, marriage and four children between them have inspired a timely reset and they’re now angling their goals in a different direction, and cleverly reinventing their brand, renaming it Dinz Sisters.
“Dinz 10 years ago was very much a reflection of our style. It was girly, with a lot of accessories, pinks and very loud,” Dina tells Bazaar. Their playful take on heritage was also a big hit, with ghutra scarf-collared tees and the now iconic colourful Palestinian-inspired scarves – “They were huge,” Dina recalls, selling over 12,000 across the GCC and Saudi. They also put the ‘happy’ into clothes with lively collections accented by the likes of flamingos, fluorescent details and oversized bows. Now, 10 years on, the girls are evolving the brand’s aesthetic to mirror their own, more refined sense of style, all while keeping that signature spirited edge.
“I think as we’ve got older, we’ve both managed to find our true style, which is a bit of a mix between comfort and being a bit edgy and different,” Dina tells us. “Instead of making the entire outfit stand out, we focus on one piece.” They’ve also been keeping pace with the industry, and the rebrand promises to appeal to their consumers’ need for a faster fashion fix with smaller, more frequent drops. “Our collections used to be very, very large – 30 to 40 pieces. But people don’t want to wait six months for a collection anymore. We’re a small independent label, so what we wanted to do was focus on being more specific and more frequent,” Rima says.
The duo is now focusing on capsule collections, the first made up of 10 capes in 10 different fabrics – and the girls will continue to introduce a further 10 variations of one cleverly re-imagined garment every 10 weeks. “I’ve wanted to do capes for the longest time, I love them, they’re easy to throw on, and they can transform your outfit,” Rima says. Inclusive of the first round is a densely sequinned silver cape (Rima’s favourite) and a “glittery and chic” black cape (Dina’s choice).
They also describe the simplicity of an all-black leather cape which has hundreds of tiny perforated holes in it, explaining that while the idea of a black cape is simple, the craftsmanship and design is very unique. Despite a more grown-up and thoughtful collection, loyal followers will find their playful fix in the form of star prints, bright pink and over-sized gold pins. “Over the years our personal lives have changed,” Dina starts, “I didn’t appreciate, until I had a child myself, how much your life and your priorities shift. Work is still up there but we’ll always choose family first. That’s why we stopped, refocused and figured out what works for both of us.” What began with Dina doing most of the design, and Rima handling the business side has now levelled out into a much more equal partnership.
The sibling dynamic has gradually paved the way for a friendship centred by mutual respect. “As you grow you somehow become closer; we’ve been there through each other’s experiences and we’re on the same page,” Rima tells us. Dina continues, “We know to give each other space. For example, in this collection, a lot of the designs were Rima’s and I let her have it. I could see she had her vision so I fell back and supported her,” she notes. “We work well together, we feed off each other and we share everything back and forth. We disagree but we also let things go if the other feels strongly about it.” While they still hope to appeal to their already fiercely loyal customer, they’re also hoping to entice more “women like us,” Rima says. “Comfortable, laid-back, strong and independent women who uplift other women, real women.”
Their Instagram profile (@dinzsisters) is like a moodboard for modern day girl power, littered with positive, inspirational quotes. They also take a light hearted approach to posts yet are acutely aware of the power social media holds. “What made us blow up back in the day was Facebook, so social media has always been important to us; it helped us realise the potential of our brand,” says Dina. And on the flip side, they say, they’re comfortable giving their fan base regular insights “into the people behind the brand,” feeding imaginations, as well as appealing to the demand for frequent updates and pacifying that “now, now, now, mentality.” Once girls with a dream, they are now women with a clear vision. “We’ve figured out what we want the brand to be. We’re just very focused, we’re not looking around us at what other brands are doing, we’re doing what we want to do. We’ve created designs we love, that comes from a place of passion. We hope that people will agree with us. That’s our goal for 2018, to have people love what we do.”
Prices approximate. Photographer: Felina Hung at Capital D. Creative direction: Meredith Damouni at Capital D. Hair: Blo Out Beauty Bar. Make-up: Zahra Kadom. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones.
From the January Issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia