Meena, Maya and Zeenat Mukhi grabbed a lot of eyeballs when they won the Fashion Trust Arabia award in the best jewellery category last month in Doha. The event, attended by industry heavyweights like Sarah Mower, Hamish Bowlesand Johnny Depp among others, was the perfect launchpad for their label.
Instagram has been an ally in aiding the success of many niche labels. It is after all a democratic tool that’s made borders insignificant, be it metaphysical (across industries like food, fashion, art) and literal (although countries are becoming protectionist, the focus on a global world has never been more than right now). And so, we found Mukhi Sisters on our social media feeds. Their culturally tinged earrings, necklaces, anklets and bangles mixed with a mood board made up of the OG divas—Zeenat Aman, Diana Ross and Madonna. We DM’ed the third-generation jeweller trio for a quick interview across the ether of the internet, and got in touch with Maya Mukhi. Excerpts from the interview below.
Tell us about how Mukhi Sisters started?
We established Mukhi Sisters in 2009—I always wanted to branch out from our family business and start something. When the time was right, my sisters (Meena and Zeenat) and I saw an opportunity and we took it. I still remember going to international trade shows with our mother as a child, and seeing women dressed in beautiful, classy gowns and men in suits. I used to love this glamorous and elegant part of the industry. We knew that Mukhi Sisters was not going to be ‘just another jeweller in the market’; we had a style to share, stories to tell—Mukhi Sisters was going to be a brand that speaks to the urban wanderer.
What is it like to work with family? How do you divide up the work and resolve disagreements?
We are sisters who work together, and it’s actually a blessing because we are friends too. Since we are sisters and co-founders, work doesn’t end and work doesn’t know time—we learned that the hard way. One of the biggest challenges in a family business is to have clear responsibilities for every member that have to be respected, else such businesses face a lot of difficulties. I am the executive director and lead designer, Meena is our sales and PR director, and Zeenat is also a designer—she is in charge of financials and our e-shop. We do face situations where we disagree; it is only normal. But thankfully there is always one of us who keeps her cool and common sense, and brings the others back to reality.
Is the jewellery an extension of your personalities?
Definitely. We actually have collections and pieces that reflect each one of our styles: “Queen Vicky” for vintage pieces, “Ever Yours” for classic and timeless pieces and “Contagious” for one-off pieces with non-commercial stones. (We will let you guess which one represents which sister.)
How do your Indian and Lebanese roots percolate into your jewellery?
Our father, Chandru Mukhi, is Indian. We grew up watching Indian films and even had a home tutor to teach us Hindi. We are inspired by the colours of India, and of course Indian jewels. We are a mix of both cultures (Indian and Lebanese), and we were brought up with values and traditions of both countries. This mix is subtly felt through our designs.
Can you share your tips and tricks on buying jewellery for a modern woman? Anything she should keep in mind that is easy to overlook?
If you have big or small fingers, a long or short neck, don’t hesitate or feel intimidated to try on jewellery. Jewellery is made to be worn like your second skin. When you invest in jewellery, always remember that it is an everlasting piece that will only bring joy to the others. Look for wonderful, limited numbers. Be different and always pay attention to the finishing, the finesse of the piece, regardless of the size or price.
Is the jewellery inspired by any fashion icons or muses? What will we find on your mood board at any given time?
Diane von Furstenberg, Ann Demeulemeester and Beyoncé are some of our fashion icons. When it comes to inspiration, there is no specific answer. It comes from anyone or anything—it is everywhere around us. It mostly comes from the now; for example, what we might be going through in our personal lives, being in a certain surrounding. What you will always find in our mood boards are visuals of Sridevi from her ‘Hawa Hawai’ song clip. We have a few old Indian songs that we’ve been playing on repeat ever since we discovered them. Clearly, our parents, or should I say mother, was a fan: she named our sister after Zeenat Aman.
Scroll through the gallery below to take a look at some of Mukhi Sisters’ jewellery pieces