Zhila The American/Iranian Fashion Queen

If you are wondering what a fashion American/Iranian looks like .. Here she is! 


1- What do you do in life ? 

I work at a tech startup in Dubai, as Director of Process Improvement, where my main focus is on implementing tools and processes that improve the customer care side of the business. This is the second tech startup I've worked at, and I love the energy and how much I learn every day. It's really preparing me to become an entrepreneur myself someday, inshAllah.

2- WHat’s your hobbies, passion ? 

I have a few! I love to travel, and try to go to new places as often as I can! In fact, I'm answering this question from Vietnam right now, where I'll be traveling around for a couple of weeks before heading back to Dubai and then most likely over to Cairo for work.

I also love fashion, and recently started a ready-to-wear label of manteaus and capes called Jangali. I'm a contributing writer to Desert Mannequin, and I also keep a personal style and travel blog called Zhila Things.

And last but not least, as a live music lover and supporter of local talent, I'm on the team at Freshly Ground Sounds, where I've been supporting vendor management and product development. They're a group of really amazing people, and I'm really inspired by the community that's been built around it.

3- Describe a perfect day

It would probably start off with a solo trip to the beach where I do stand-up paddle boarding, and then meet up with friends to eat something delicious and catch up, check out some new art gallery or exhibit, hang out and listen to some good music at a Freshly gig, and finally end the night with a few games of backgammon and tea.

4- What is your message behind your work ? 

Jangali literally means people of the jungle, and is a family name. In the early 1900's, Mirza Kuchik Khan started the Jangal movement and fought to free Iran from British and Russian forces, so I always have associated the name Jangali with strength, independence, and heroism, and that's what I hope for the brand to express. I also wanted to create pieces of clothing that are modest but modern, and can be worn by anyone, whether they regularly dress modestly or not.

5- What changes do you want to see in yor daily life ? 

Ultimately I would like to venture on my own and be a full-time entrepreneur and run my own business that is creating jobs and value for others.

6- Which one of your clothes tells the best story ? 

In 6th grade there was a pair of silver crushed velvet Dr. Martens combat boots that I was dying for, and my parents wouldn't buy for me, so my best friend and I held garage sales every weekend selling all of our things until I was able to earn enough money to buy them. I ended up wearing them only a couple of times because I felt they made my feet look huge (and what really goes with silver velvet anyway?), so I guess the chase was sweeter than the prize. But clearly I was into fashion at a young age.

7- What’s your motto and plans for the future ?

I guess my motto these days is to just try new things, and don't be afraid to fail. I was always pretty risk averse, but you have to take some risks to get the reward, right? Get out of your comfort zone and you will learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person. So my plans are to keep trying new things and figure out what I'm really meant to be doing, what my life's purpose is.

8- What is you favorite place in where you live and why?

I live in Dubai, and I've got to say my favorite spot is the Arabian Tea House in Bastakiya because it's chill vibes all over. It's such a hidden gem, and I just love it there. But don't tell anyone! I don't want it to get ruined by becoming too mainstream. ;)


Anna Nielsen- The Danish eye in the Middle East


She is the one behind the Rûmi series. I discover Anna's work on Instagram when I was benchmarking all the fashion photographers in Dubaï. In a second I felt in love with her art. She is exactly between these two worlds, between West and East, Too minimal and too much. To me she is a mix between Europe strict lines of fashion and the local spirit in the Middle East and that is what I wanted to share on the Rûmi series. She has this thing to make the colors dance and shine. She already has worked with big names, Nike Middle East, Burberry and NAMSHI among others. Plus I'm super jealous because she photographed the iconic Elisa Sednaoui and Suki Waterhouse. Here are her creations.

Anna's website here

Anna's Instagram here