Inspired by the iconic beauty and symmetry of the ever-elegant peacock, a bird celebrated for its colors, proud demeanor and extravagant and detailed eye-spotted tail, FEATHERS began the writing of a new story of style on October 10, 2010.
Feathers, the world’s first Emirati luxury goods brand, is expanding into Al Ain and will roll out its range of spring handbags and accessories in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks.
Khalid Basaeed is on a mission to bring top-quality accessories and leather goods from the UAE to the world within the next decade. With a keen eye for design and passion for regional raw materials, the 38-year-old established Feathers in 2010, proclaiming it to be the first Emirati luxury-goods brand. Five years later, Feathers has five boutiques in three emirates, with customers flocking to buy Basaeed’s range of fine jewellery, wallets, writing instruments and geometric-print scarves
The Emirati brand has the Arabic culture deeply rooted in its tale from the logo which was inspired by the traditional architectural patterns, motifs close to the heart of its creator an architect himself, to the designs that pay tribute to the Emirates proud and rich heritage. Combining luxury with aesthetics and reflecting the distinctive Emirati and Middle Eastern fashion, FEATHERS is the first Arabic Luxury brand to offer a full range of products from genuinely crafted leather goods, exquisite time pieces, writing instruments, fine jewelry, to captivating fragrances, accessories, sunglasses and top-of-the line shoes.
Appealing to the young arabs, FEATHERS goods are coveted by the elite who want to make a bold statement by celebrating their love of luxury in the most arabic way. The exquisite designs embody the brand identity by playing up the intense details and color combinations that the brand became famous for.
Khalid Basaeed, Founder of FEATHERS UAE, the first Emirati brand for luxury goods is an Emirati entrepreneur and a UAE University graduate, majoring in Architecture and holding a MSc degree in Urban Design from Edinburgh college of Art. His studies opened his eyes on product design which was one of the majors offered in college. Having noticed a gap in the market for Arabic identity in the luxury industry, Basaeed, displaying unparalleled vision decided to start his own business by establishing the 1st Emirati brand, and the rest is history.
FEATHERS UAE first boutique opened in Abu Dhabi, the capital and precisely at the iconic Dalma Mall. Other shops followed and today the ever expanding brand has a strong presence in the following upscale shopping centers scattered around the country:
The brand’s success stems from the creative approach of infusing high quality luxurious goods with an Arabic flare. The designs rely on both minimalism and practicality where a “less is more” approach is adopted. Combining cutting edge methods of execution with the highest quality raw materials, like Camel leather which was firstly used in leather goods by FEATHERS, the brand strives to open more doors across the UAE, expand in the GCC and then go global in the next few years.
Q & A with Khalid Basaeed
You originally studied architecture and urban design; what led you to launch – and do all the designing for – a luxury- goods company?
My interest was ignited when I was studying in Edinburgh and my course had an element of product design. I loved it and attended every exhibition and event possible. Three years down the line, and after much planning, the first Feathers store was opened on October 10, 2010. As Emiratis we don’t have our own “luxury brand” – we always buy European and American ones. So my idea was to produce and design luxury goods we’re already buying and carrying, such as pens, watches and handbags. The second important aspect was to make the brand affordable and not let that diminish the quality. Our men’s wallets, for example, range from Dh350 to Dh700, using the very finest quality camel leather. Whereas for ladies, handbags go from Dh1,000 to Dh3,500.
Break down the DNA of the brand for me.
We’re trying to create a uniquely Emirati brand, with Arabian, Islamic, cultural and regional touches in its design. From the raw materials we choose – such as camel leather – to the Arabian architectural patterns we use, these are things uncommon to other brands.
Who is the target audience for Feathers?
I would say I’m targeting everybody. It’s not a brand exclusively for locals and people from the GCC – although a huge number of them like to support our brand and they are a very important client base. Expats, when they come to the UAE, want to take home a souvenir for their families and friends, and we offer something unique. I say, enough of souvenirs made in China such as Burj Al Arab statues, mugs with camel faces or beach-picture fridge magnets. These are old-fashioned and not related or reflective of our country and region. Wouldn’t you rather buy a UAE-made wallet of camel leather, designed by an Emirati?
Map out the expansion plan you have in mind for Feathers.
We want to continue to grow in the UAE first – Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and so on. We’ve also had some interest from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to franchise the brand and open branches there. We’re one day aiming to have our products in London, Milan and Paris, maybe not necessarily open a branch but sell them in big stores such as Harvey Nichols or Bloomingdale’s. Time-wise, within the next five years, we’d like to be in every GCC country. Then, within 10 years we could see ourselves present in the fashion capitals mentioned.
What’s the significance of a peacock feather as part of your company name and logo?
We’re a local brand with ambitions to go global and Feathers is easily pronounceable in the Arab world and abroad. Aesthetically, I’ve always been fascinated by peacocks – the stunning simplicity and symmetry of their feathers. The pride and beauty of the animal also seemed to reflect our brand, as did the colour spectrum of the bird’s feathers – that’s why it was the perfect theme.
What are the trending colours of your spring collections?
The new collections have turquoise, ocean blue, royal blue – the full blue spectrum. There are forest greens, plus peaches, beige and the tan family. The palette reflects trends seen at Milan Fashion Week and a huge leather exhibition recently held in the city.
What have been the best-sellers since you launched?
Definitely the camel wallets and handbags. Other items include a watch made in Switzerland to commemorate the late President Sheikh Zayed. It has the engraved silhouette of his face upon its dial and is still our best-selling timepiece. Other popular pieces, which can’t be found anywhere else, are accessories such as charm bracelets bearing traditional Arabian coffee pots and burkas.