An artist with entrepreneurial aspirations, Muna Yateem is making waves with her brand of quirky and whimsical fashion accessories.
Twenty-five-year-old Muna Yateem has successfully launched her brand Haraka, which means ‘cool’ in colloquial Arabic. The vibrant decor at her pop-up store at Yateem Centre is a good representation of the brand, which is all about being fun, colourful and having a sense of humour.
Muna got her undergraduate degree in interior and spatial design, followed by a master’s degree in urban design at University College London.
She tells us how saw a niche in the market for fun, affordable and colorful watches and decided to start her own line.
Woman This Month (WTM): What made you decide on design as a career?
Muna Yateem (MY): After my master’s degree, I realised that the lines between architecture and fashion were blurring; the only difference was a matter of scale. I figured the design process could be applied to everything. When I came back to Bahrain, I decided to create my own brand.
WTM: Tell us about your involvement in Bahrain’s winning project at the Venice Biennale Golden Lion awards.
MY: I was fresh out of university and it was a great learning experience. I wanted to do something for Bahrain, so I opted to work with The Ministry of Culture. Shaikha Mai has done so much for the art and culture scene in Bahrain and I’m very proud to have been a part of this project. To be able to represent Bahrain in a real, honest and artistic way was thrilling.
WTM: What is the story behind the brand Haraka? What are your aspirations for this project?
MY: I created Haraka after a few internships abroad. I was tired of seeing the same monotonous metallic tones of watches. When I was younger, I would collect vintage and quirky watches from around the world. I dreamed of creating my own brand of fun timepieces that gave the wearer flexibility to create their own personal style. I hope to take Haraka to new heights in the region and internationally.
WTM: Where do you derive your inspiration as an artist?
MY: I find inspiration around the Manama souq area. The way Bahrain’s past and present blend together is very
interesting. I love the nostalgic feel of the souq and constantly find colours, materials and images that inspire my collections.
WTM: What kind of support did your family provide for your work?
MY: From an early age, they have encouraged me to pursue my passion in art and helped me build the confidence to launch my own business. With Haraka, they’ve provided very constructive feedback.
WTM: What would you like to accomplish in this lifetime?
MY: Some of my goals involve taking Haraka global and turning it into a brand that everyone can relate to. I would also like to inspire the younger generation of designers and artists in the region.