Dima Ayad began her career in hospitality, developing restaurant and entertainment concepts for leading hotel chains like Kerzner, Raffles and Jumeirah. During her 15 year tenure, she launched restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, and award-winning music festivals like Sandance.
Whilst still working full-time in hospitality, a difficult personal experience led Dima to address a problem that she had struggled with for years: her clothing size (12/14 US) just wasn’t available. She began making her own evening gowns, and eventually created her eponymous label (Dima Ayad) for women of all shapes and sizes. A few years in, the brand took off and Dima left hospitality to devote herself entirely to her mission: to make luxury fashion accessible to women of all sizes.
We talked about how she was essentially forced to address the market gap, and how she has scaled her business – failures, challenges, and tips for success. We discussed what “plus size” and “luxury fashion” actually mean, why clothes are not available in sizes that would fit more than half the population and how the global idea of beauty has morphed over time from Marilyn Monroe to Kate Moss. We also touched on sustainability in fashion and how wasteful it is as an industry. Maybe the biggest lesson I took away is the massive impact that clothes can have on your mood and your day, how clothes can be empowering or the opposite. Dima gave a fantastically relatable example – I hope you’ll listen to it.
My favorite quote was “There’s something so beautiful about being yourself”. And Dima’s book recommendation was Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.