Fyunka is a fresh and young brand in the fashion world in the Middle East and through social media the brand has also been discovered in other parts of the world. Fyunka is mostly known for hip handbags that carry the simple and cheerful image of a faceveil.
Alaa Balkhy, the designer behind Fyunka, has added other things like pillows and make-up bags to the Fyunka collection. “The name Fyunka is Arabic slang for a ribbon bow. I wanted the brand name to be in Arabic and I love how adding a bow to something can make it prettier. I relied on my graphic design skills to create the logo myself, relieved that I didn’t need to hire someone and could save a bit of money”, Balkhy explains.
Saving money may also be something her customers need to do before buying a Fyunka bag, because although everything of the brand is cute, it is also a little expensive. But before you look at the price tag and the cute images, you can read here more about who Alaa Balkhy is and what her brand has to offer.
To start, who is Alaa Balkhy? And what is your educational background?
“I’m 24 years old and I’m from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. I grew up in Canada and lived there for nine years. Then I moved back to Saudi Arabia, I went to high school and middle school in Jeddah. While I was studying in college, I worked at two different companies. When I graduated, I left both of them as it was very hectic. However, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge from my jobs.My educational background is Graphic Design. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from the Dar Al Hekma College in Jeddah and I am currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies at the Pratt Institute in New York.”
When did you start with your brand and what was the reason behind its launch?
“Fyunka was a happy mistake that I’m extremely proud of. I didn’t plan it. It just happened. It all started on a boring day when I decided to illustrate. Before I knew it, Fyunka was born.”
Fyunka is known for the cute bags with the veil. Why did you choose this item for your products? Is it just for fun, or do you also use this to make a statement about fashion or about women’s clothing?
“It’s not about making a statement, but about informing people about a culture and Fyunka is a conversation starter. I like the veil because it’s something different, it’s something we wear, and it’s not specific to anyone or any country. I just think of it as a cultural element. I get positive responses about it.”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“My inspiration comes from various places. Some of my inspirations arise while living in New York, traveling to different cities and countries, meeting people and from museums, art, and music. I design everything myself. Everything in Fyunka is me. I would like to expand that later on but for now it’s just me.”
Besides bags, pillows and iPad cases, are there new items we may expect in your collection in the future?
“Yes: tea sets, tea pots and a home collection.”
And are you planning to stay in the fashion business, or do you have other ambitions?
“My MPS (Master of Professional Studies) is in design management, so it can be about fashion design; however I really want to further develop into accessories and retail and the entire business of it.”
I got to know your brand mainly through Instagram. Did social media play a big role in your success?
“Yes social media are amazing. Instagram is huge in the Middle East. It’s such a simple visual tool where people can share, and it can easily get the word out there.”
What advice do you have for others who dream of starting their own fashion brand?
“Be original and be creative and do what you want. If you work from your heart good things will happen.”
This post is also available in: Dutch