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Mataano is a women's fashion line. Founded in 2008, it is owned by Somali-American twin fashion designers Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim. The brand is noted for its global sensibility and accent on ready-to-wear elegance.

FoundedSeptember 2008
FounderAyaan and Idyl Mohallim
Area served
Key people
Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim


Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim were born in Alabama to Somali parents.[1] They moved to Somalia at an early age, where they would spend their first nine years. When the civil war broke out there in the early 1990s, they returned to the United States.[2]

Settling in northern Virginia, just outside Washington D.C., the sisters developed an interest in fashion after their mother would buy them fashion magazines. Their family put an emphasis on education, envisioning the girls' studying at top schools in preparation for professional careers. Upon graduation from college, the twins moved to New York City to pursue their goal of becoming fashion designers. Idyl quickly secured an internship with Betsey Johnson,[1] where she acquired skills in design technique and color.[2] Ayaan also landed a production job at Jill Stuart.[1] There, she in turn learned how to infuse classic forms and vintage fabrics with a contemporary flair.[2]

Fashion lineEdit

Mataano founders Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim at an event for Iman's cosmetic line (2013)

In September 2008, Ayaan and Idyl founded Mataano ("Twins" in the Somali language), a fashion line specializing in contemporary read-to-wear pieces for women.[3][4] It was initially primarily centered on dress production, with an accent on comfort. Plans were also in the works to branch out into other areas.[4]

To establish a foothold in the fashion market, Ayaan and Idyl focused on ensuring their wear was ready for distribution. They then retained the services of a PR firm to help them advertise their brand, in the process sending out press releases and look books, as well as establishing a website.[4] Their marketing efforts eventually earned the designers an invitation to the Oprah Winfrey Show to Skype with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.[2] The Mohallim sisters have also been invited to showcase in Sweden, South Africa, Jamaica and at New York Fashion Week.[1]

Ayaan and Idyl speaking at the Nordic Somali Youth Summit 2013

Mataano showcased its premier collection for Spring 2009 in New York City.[3] Consisting of ten dresses, it attracted widespread attention in the fashion industry and received enthusiastic reviews.[2][3] The brand has since launched six other collections during New York Fashion Week.[3]

The Somali filmmaker Idil Ibrahim later directed Mataano's official promotional video for the fashion line's 2009 Fall collection. She likewise directed the official promotional video for the company's 2010 Spring collection.[5]

In Spring 2012, supermodel and fellow Somali Iman also signed Ayaan and Idyl as brand ambassadors for her cosmetics line.[1]

Mataano is noted for its global sensibility and emphasis on elegance.[3] The Mohallim twins strive to incorporate their experiences and influences as Somali Americans into their designs, reflecting both cultures in their work.[4] Mataano's Spring 2013 collection in part drew inspiration from Los Angeles' beaches, featuring light silks and organzas. According to co-founder Ayaan, the sisters ultimately design for the multicultural woman like themselves. The silks and colorful hues that adorn the fashion line are consequently typical of Somali female attire.[1]

In terms of other fashion designers, Ayaan and Idyl's primary influences include Tracy Reese and Carolina Herrera, whom they feel have an international appeal. They also admire the work of Donna Karen and Oscar de la Renta.[2]

As of 2013, Mataano is designed and manufactured in New York City.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dolan, Margaret (26 July 2013). "Designers and Twins Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim Find Fans of Their Line Mataano the World Over". Papermag. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Biggadike, Ella Mei Yon. "Mataano". Gorgeous New York. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "About". Mataano. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim: Mataano". Fly Female Entrepreneurs. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Zeila Films". Zeila Films. Retrieved 22 January 2014.

External linksEdit