In May 2017 a brand new swimwear company was launched by Yasra Jaleel called Kandumathi, her designs of both bikini’s and costumes are beautifully made to sit perfectly on the female form.
Yasra’s latest designs are contemporary in style, and all are exquisitely crafted with beautiful finishing touches that offer a quality statement, and some of her bikini’s are uniquely mismatched in design.
Let us delve deeper into the mind of Yasra Jaleel to find out more about Kandumathi for the House of Coco Magazine #WomenWorldwide and #BossBabe interview series.
Q. Where did the name Kandumathi derive from?
A. Kandumathi is a Maldivian brand, specialising in bespoke swimwear. Kandumathi is a Maldivian phrase which invokes the ocean, and embodies the vulnerable, yet enduring nature of island life. We take inspiration from our natural environment and our culture, and work with local artists and designers to produce our unique look.
Q. Kandumathi is a Maldivian swimwear label, can you tell us the history, are you personally from the Maldives?
A. Kandumathi the brand was registered first in the Maldives in 2016 and then in London in 2017. I run the company along with my brother. Yes, I was born in the Maldives and moved to England in 2001. We have been running the company both in the Maldives and England since then. We have now been selling in 28 luxury resorts in the Maldives and across the globe.
Our Kandumathi philosophy is to use Maldivian art and artists, and we collaborate with local artists from the Maldives to create our unique designs. All our collections are water colour paintings by Maldivian artists Nadee Rachey and designed into swimwear by myself and Ahmed Fauzan. All our designs so far reflect the ocean around us, and marine life. Like the name of the brand, Maldivian life is firmly intertwined with the ocean.
Q. All the Kandumathi designs are eponymous with ethereal free flowing materials, can you tell us what materials you have used for your latest collection?
A. We are currently working with a manufacturer in Srilanka who uses recycled Nylon to produce swimwear and we are very excited to be able to work with sustainable material. As a brand from the Maldives, we understand the affects of plastic pollution and the damages it causes to our environment, and the great need for finding sustainable solutions.
Q. You are London-based, do you have a core British market that you sell to or do you mainly sell overseas?
A. Our main market is the tourist resorts in the Maldives and just recently we have started to sell across the globe. Although we are very young brand, we have been lucky to hold our swimwear in different outlets in London and New York.
Q. Your designs are beautiful and bold, do you design everything yourself, and what are this seasons styles?
A. We try not to focus on style seasons. We are influenced by the fact that the Maldives does not have the typical western seasons, and so our clothes don’t change from season to season. We also made a conscious decision not to create too many products too fast, as we understand the effects of manufacturing on the environment. We are also lucky to be in the Maldives as our resort customers change regularly and our first two collections have been doing very well.
Q. Can we ask when you are at your most creative design-wise; are you a morning, afternoon or evening designer? And, where do your design-ideas come from?
A. I am based in London and my work hours are a bit hectic as it is spread out in different time zones. I usually do office work during the day. My typical work day starts around 6am as Maldives is 5 hours ahead and continue to work through 9-5 London time. I believe I’m constantly inspired and I typically have a clear idea of what I want my designs to look like. The most fun part of my job is doing research on our designs, and learning about the marine life and it’s surroundings. For example for our latest collection we used sea shells and I had to learn about the formation of sea shells, it’s characteristics , life cycles as well as the designs on the shells. This work also teaches me more about the Maldives and its atoll formations, coral reefs, mangroves so on and so forth. We try and keep our designs very specific to Maldives.
Q. HOC. If you weren’t designing swimwear, what would you be doing right now?
A. I used to be a filmmaker before I started Kandumathi. I believe running this business is very similar to being a film producer. I would like to think that I am good at bringing together creative people and working with artists. I also have a strong idea of exactly what I want and I believe it is easy for the artists to work with me too.
Q. What are your immediate plans for Kandumathi in the next few years, do you intend on expanding to new markets?
A. Our immediate plans are to expand Kandumathi across the globe as much as we can and also start creating men’s collection.
Q. Did anyone offer you any strong business advice before you embarked on launching your swimwear brand?
A. I’m lucky to be surrounded by strong business minds within my family. I was brought up to believe in hard work, and if you work hard enough, you can do anything and to always dream big. I was very anxious when I started Kandumathi as I do not have any business background and have always been more of a creative person. Of course we’ve made some mistakes along the way but I always think twice before taking big risks; I am a cautious person. It also helps that I have my brother to bounce off ideas, as there is no one who would be more honest with me than my brother. It also helps that I know if I were to make a mistake he will always have my back.
Q. What piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the swimwear industry?
A. My advice to anyone who wants to start a swimwear business is to pay attention to the female body and try not to focus too much on what other people are doing. Have a concrete idea and stick to it.
And always rely on the people who work with you and trust your gut as well as the people you work with.
Thank you for taking the time to answer all our #WomenWorldwide questions for the #Bossbabe series at House of Coco Magazine online.