Beachroad meet Talar Bilemjian founder of Talar Nina a contemporary unisex label founded in Dubai.
Talar's designs translate from day to night due to their unique embellishment and superb tailoring pulling inspiration from her diverse cultural background and experiences.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // I was Junior Editor of Buro 24/7 Middle East ( a digital magazine) in Dubai.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // I am Creative Director and founder of Talar Nina - a Ready-to-wear label based in Dubai and made in the UAE.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN DUBAI? // I have lived in Dubai for 8 years now.
WHO WERE YOUR EARLY FASHION INFLUENCES? // I have many influences but if I had to choose... probably both of my grandmothers, who even to this day, in their 80's,, never leave the house without hair, clothes and makeup on point, they are definitely old school but always look elegant. Also Queen Rania of Jordan, who looks beautiful and stylish, whatever she wears and loves supporting emerging middle-east based brands which I think is inspiring and vital.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE FASHION WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // I think I realized I wanted to be in fashion when I was doing my A-levels in London, it was my biggest strength in school and textile classes were by far my favorite subject. I never thought that I would be here now, in the second year of running my own label.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FASHION MOMENT YOU HAVE HAD? // So far I think the most significant fashion moment was being able to attend London Fashion Weekend 4 months after I launched the brand. It was a grueling yet glamorous 4 days of selling and getting the brand out there - it was a huge step for the brand.
YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER? // This is the hardest question of all time, but I think Elie Saab will always be one of my favorites, he's always stayed to true to his design ethos, and as a fashion house has stayed relevant since the 1980s which in today's world is an incredible achievement.
YOUR FAVOURITE SHOPPING DESTINATION? // Favorite shopping destination - My favorite shopping destination is New York City, with unique boutiques and vintage stores combined with the best Department Stores in the world and you have a everything you could ever dream of..
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // If you weren't a fashion designer what would I be - I think if I weren't in the fashion industry I would love to be in the entertainment business (you can take the girl out of L.A, but you can't take L.A out of the girl.)
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED TO DRESS ONE INDIVIDUAL DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE? // f I were only allowed to dress one person it would be Alicia Silverstone in her role as Cher in Clueless. I think that movie was the starting point of my love for fashion.
WHAT FASHION DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // The fashion I most identify with now is probably just being comfortable and stylish without being a slave to trends.. Living in Dubai for the past 8 years has made me appreciate a more subtle approach to dressing and especially respecting the local culture. Women today must exercise good judgement when it comes to well fitting clothes and not objectifying their bodies because there are no more rules. A little bit of common sense goes a long way.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // So far since starting this business, I think the biggest challenge has been to stay relevant and have a constant presence across social media platforms. There is a lot of competition so you have to be on your A-game. Budgeting is also a constant challenge, nobody can prepare you about the highs and lows of starting your own business, you just have to map it out and go for it and pray it works.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START TALAR NINA AND ANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? // I think my family and friends, especially my mother, were, and still are one of my biggest inspirations and why I started Talar Nina and why I am determined to keep growing.
WHERE DO YOU SEE TALAR NINA BEING IN 5 YEARS TIME? // I see Talar Nina sold in a few select department stores around the world but mostly online, bringing out 3 different collections a year, and being the number one online destination for timeless, fun and affordable wardrobe pieces... Inshallah.
WHERE WOULD YOUR 5 DREAM TALAR NINA STORES BE LOCATED? // My five dream Talar Nina locations would be - Dubai, Jeddah, Los Angeles, Manhattan and London.
FASHION ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // What inspires me ? - Art and architecture is a huge inspiration. I studied art history in high school and its had a big impact on my ideas and thought process when I design. Also my family is a big inspiration, being Armenian, the culture and country are very much a part of my everyday life and conversations.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // My dream studio location would be in the Armenia capital, Yerevan.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY IN THE UAE? // The UAE right now is bursting with creative energy, from art to fashion, architecture and design, I think it inspires creative minds everyday, with the help of online magazines and platforms like Instagram the whole world is taking notice of Dubai, the UAE and the region.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT, SHOP AND SOCIALISE IN DUBAI? // My favorite "go-to" places in Dubai are Tasha's ( for consistently yummy food and great service), Comptoir 102 for a nice work environment and healthy snacks. And on the weekends Miss Lily's for dancing (they have the best DJ's) and French fries. For shopping I'm a sucker for Dubai Mall, I love Bloomingdales.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // I try not to think about fears, too time consuming.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Spending amazing summers in Amman, Jordan, as a child, and going to my Armenian primary school in Los Angeles. Im actually 'friends' with my teacher on Facebook! God bless you Mark Zuckerberg.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // One of my many role models is probably my mother, she's my best friend and manager, I can always count on her to tell me the truth, you need one person to tell you " No honey ... that design is not working".
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE JOURNEY AND DESTINATION? // One of my favorite journeys has to be my last trip to India. I went in May with my mother for work and fell in love with New Delhi. I wish we stayed longer than three days but visually it had a big impact on me. I have a feeling I will be going back very soon.
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY WHAT WOULD IT BE? // If I could own any piece of photography it would probably be anything by Helmut Newton
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY DESIGNER ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // If I could spend any day with a designer it would be with Alessandro Michele, the current creative director of Gucci. I would love to pick his brain.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // The last gift I gave to someone was last week, to a friend on her birthday. It was a Talar Nina denim 'Raffi' jacket because she lives in New York, so perfect for cooler autumn nights.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURE POSSESSION? // My most treasured possession is my grandpa's watch,,,, its a piece that I cherish very much, and a constant reminder that time is precious, you only have one life!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Probably would be to always be kind and compassionate and give more than you take. Also never eat eat sushi at a buffet.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT? // My phone keeps me up at night, sadly. But I'm working on that one.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // My worst trait, is I like to have the last word.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Worst trait in others - Rude and pretentious people,, - Life is just too beautiful for that kind of attitude.
YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES? // Favorite movies - Clueless and The Goonies, and Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Who would play you in a movie? Most probably Selena Gomez.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // I love RnB, Soul music, and Arabic music.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Mashrou' Leila's song 'El Hal Romancy'.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // Eat, Pray, Love.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The Power of Broke by Daymond John, I thoroughly recommend it for anyone thats starting their own business!
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I have never had a near death experience, but when I sky dived in Dubai, without telling my mother first.. the look on her face when she found out was pretty close to a near death experience.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Beirut and Yerevan.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Shopping and eating, and trying to do Yoga these days..
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban always.
CATS OR DOGS? // Who doesn't love dogs?!
COFFEE OR TEA? // I have around 3 coffees a day. Not a tea person unless I'm with my Iranian friends.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // My brothers, especially the older one Raffi. Tears of laughter every time, and my recent rediscovery of Seinfeld reruns.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // When I see my family members in pain, emotional and physical.
YOUR MOTTO / MESSAGE? // Stay true to your vision because nobody knows it better than you. And never take your self too seriously.