The Vibe… Fatma Al Mulla

Nominated for the Emirates Woman of the Year Award 2015 in the Young Achiever category, graphic designer Fatma Al Mulla has transformed her blog into a thriving business. She talks to Liam Tappin 

FMM was inspired by my love of art and a growing awareness of the society around me. I wanted to create illustrations for people in my region, using familiar subjects and funny Arabic sayings. On my blog, I began posting illustrations, sharing depictions of society’s obsession with objects and stereotypes. My blog had become popular and people started making my artwork their display pictures on social media.

I was drawn to Khaleeji [Eastern Arabian] popular art simply because we rarely get the chance to see any. Lebanese and Egyptian pop artworks have often filled the markets, and while they are beautiful, they have always lacked a direct relevance to me and to the place I live. As a graphic designer from Dubai experimenting in textile printing, I wanted to embrace Khaleeji traditions and let them inspire my work. I was keen to embrace my cultural heritage while depicting the modern world we live in, a world where a woman might carry her dehn al-oud [Arabic perfume] bottle inside her Chanel bag.

Everyone succumbs to pride at some point, but it soon fragments. That being said, when I walk through a mall and pass a girl or a group of girls sporting my products,I can’t help but smile.I will always enjoy the sight of someone wearing a garment I designed, especially when you can tell they really like it. 

To be nominated for an Emirates Woman of the Year Young Achiever Award this year is a huge honour. The fact that people have voted for me, believed in me, and they have appreciated my work, is priceless. 

Creating a collection from beginning to end is the most challenging part of what I do. While I enjoy the process, it takes a lot of energy and can be quite draining.

I love connecting with fans via social media – enthusiastic feedback is the most rewarding part of my job.  

As my brand grew on social media, I noticed that Instagram had changed how consumers behave. It offers a unique online experience that is simple, easy to use and visually orientated. Consumers don’t waste any time at all: if they like an image, they double click, if they don’t, they move on and scroll down to something they do like. 

I see FMM becoming one of the leading brands in the region and I’m stepping things up to an international level. I like to keep my audience guessing. I will say this – there are plenty of surprises on the way. 

Visit FMM at www.fatmaalmulla.com