Umar Kamani, the English fashion retailer, followed in the footsteps of his fashion entrepreneur father Mahmud Kamani, when he cofounded the hugely successful fashion brand PrettyLittleThing with his brother Adam in 2012.
Photos by David Park
The Kamani brothers were inspired to found their company after witnessing the success of their father, Mahmud Kamani’s fashion firm, Boohoo.com.
The peony-pink themed fashion brand known for its celebrity-inspired fashion trends and attractive pricing has undergone rapid rise and has become a huge social media sensation with over 11 million followers on Instagram since its inauguration and has collaborated with famous faces like Jennifer Lopez and Kourtney Kardashian. In 2016, PrettylittleThing opened an office and lounge on Melrose Avenue, complete with a photo studio and glam bar, to host Hollywood stars and influencers. The launch party was hosted by Kylie Jenner. The same year it was acquired by Boohoo.com, cofounded by his father Mahmud.
PrettyLittleThing’s success can be credited to Umar Kamani’s innate understanding of the target customer trends and behavior of emerging social media platforms.
Here is what the fashion e-tailer had to say in our exclusive interview.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in fashion industry?
My name is Umar Kamani and I’m the CEO of PrettyLittleThing. I got started in the fashion industry about 10 years ago. I came from a family of fashion, stemming from my grandfather, to my dad and now to myself. I’ve loved fashion from a young age and fashion was always something that meant so much to me. It allowed me to create a personality and character within myself and filled me with confidence. It’s something that always made me feel very special and like a superstar when I’d wear certain costumes or outfits. I got started in the fashion industry when I came out of university. I played around with it for a while and started to find my feet and that’s how PrettyLittleThing started. It started as an accessories business but quickly fashion took over and it became a whole fashion and lifestyle brand.
Q: What do you love most about fashion?
The thing I love most about fashion is the way the clothes you wear can create a character. In the past, my weight has fluctuated, and I’ve not always been in good shape and no matter what condition I’m in as a person, whether I’m on a high or low, fashion always makes me feel great. I can always put on outfits that make me feel great and that’s really what I love about fashion. It fills you with confidence if you wear the right things and things that you like. I think fashion allows you to be as expressive as your personality and allows you to express yourself in a way that not many things can.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is so versatile. I really dress to my personality and mood for the day. Some days I feel like dressing down and wearing tracksuits or gym clothes if I’m going to the gym. If I’m going to an event, I want to sharpen up in a suit. I love dressing up and dressing down.
Q: Were you influenced by any fashion designers growing up?
I’ve been influenced by some many things and so many people. I’ve never been influenced too much by designers, but I’m influenced and inspired by regular people if I like the way they dress. I just take an obsession to the way people dress and I really find it inspiring. There are so many people who have influenced me on this journey without even knowing it.
Q: What are some fashion trends we should look out for this fall?
Winter is my favorite time of the year when it comes to fashion because I like layering up. I like wearing big, chunky coats and heavy product. Shearling is my favorite. In terms of trends I’ve been seeing, I like a lot of deep blues this season and the layering has been great. Winter is always very much the same with a little bit of a twist. It’s just a great time of year to dress up.
Q: What is one of your favorite pieces from your latest collection?
We drop so many collections every week so it’s hard for me to give an individual piece that I favor. What we do best are evening dresses. We are a brand that tries to make people feel very sexy, special and great for the evening.
Q: Any interesting developments or upcoming news you would like to share with us?
Our Little Mix collection, arguably the biggest girl band in the world right now, just dropped. That’s a collection I’ve wanted to do for over 5 years, and I have a great relationship with Little Mix. I like what they represent and the diversity within the girls. They all have individual style and they showcase it in such a collaborative way. As a brand, there’s not really many people in the world that can show so much variation of style in such a relatable way. I’m hoping the collection relates to a very wide audience and the price point is so affordable that we want everyone to be able to dress in PrettyLittleThing and feel that it’s accessible to them. We’re super excited about it.
For more information or to shop the collection, visit www.prettylittlething.us.