Friday, March 13, 2009

Exclusive Q&A Session With Ayaan and Idyl

Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim will be the first to tell you that they are more then just twin sisters. These beautiful young ladies are the faces
“Mataano,” a fashion line that has the fashion world buzzing. After launching
“Mataano,” which means twin in their native country of Somalia, Ayaan and Idyl have been working non-stop and appears to be well on their way to making “Mataano” a prominent fashion line. Infusing their cultural heritage with their exquisite eye for fashion, Ayaan and Idyl has no doubt ensured that “Mataano” will appear on runaways around the world for many years to come. Learn more about Ayaan and Idyl by checking out their Q&A session with “A Word For My Sistas.”

Onetta: Working to become successful fashion designers is a huge undertaking. When did you both decide that you wanted to become fashion designers and wanted to launch your own fashion line?

Ayaan & Idyl: I think the fashion bug bit us at a young age. We never thought fashion design would be a feasible career goal. It’s a saturated market, but we were willing to take the chance. We made that dream into a reality when we moved to New York and started studying our craft.

Onetta: How would you describe your fashion line?

Ayaan & Idyl: We have always felt the intermingling of cultures to be natural and authentic, and aim to bring that aesthetic to the public through the Mataano brand. We are a product of dual cultures and it is important that our designs reflect that.

Onetta: There are so many great fashion designers in the fashion industry. Which fashion designer is a source of inspiration for you ladies?

Ayaan & Idyl: We love so many designers.

Young designers:
Proenza schouler
Vena Cava
Rachel Roy

Established designers:
Oscar de la Renta
Donna Karen
Marc Jacobs
Alexander Mcqueen

Onetta: Are you two amazed by your accomplishments and the success you have had so far?

Ayaan & Idyl: We are humbled and blessed to be where we are today. Not to say success came easily to us. We worked very hard and put a lot of time and energy into Mataano. We still have a long way to go. We are in this for the long run.

Onetta: Your “Mataano” line is fabulous! Are there any plans in the near future to expand the “Mataano” line with shoes, handbags, and other accessories?

Ayaan & Idyl: Yes, we want to make Mataano a lifestyle brand.

Onetta: You were featured on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” How has life changed since then?

Ayaan & Idyl: “The Oprah Winfrey Show” gave us exposure and it has definitely opened many doors for us. It has allowed us to take Mataano to the next level. We came out with our Fall 2009 collection and we were able to have a great support system behind us.

Onetta: You are not only fashions designers. You are individuals that believe in giving back to others. Talk a little bit about your charity.

Ayaan & Idyl: Mataano is joining the fight to help eradicate world poverty through the sale of scarfs. All proceeds from the sale of our scarfs will go to the TaF Organization. To learn more about TaF, please visit

Onetta: What I love most about you ladies is your willingness to take “a leap of faith.” You left the security of home, moved to Manhattan, and set out to make your dreams come true. What words of advice would you give to anyone who has the desire to become a fashion designer and wants to start their very own fashion line?

Ayaan & Idyl: One of our biggest inspirations is the poem, “Dream Deferred.” In the poem, Langston Hughes asks, “What happens to a dream deferred?” We didn’t want to find out. So we urge young and old to follow your dream! If we allow ourselves to truly believe in our ability and put all of our energy towards the attainment of our goals, success can be easily attained. Even if we come across temporary failure, we should never give up. Always be true to yourself. Believe in yourself. That is the first step toward a successful career in any industry.

If you want to start your own fashion line, you have to work in the industry. Start by getting an internship in a design studio. You have to immerse yourself in the culture of fashion.

To learn more about Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim and to learn where you can purchase “Mataano,” please visit

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