Seated in her favourite spot, she watches the birds as they go through their natural routine. While those feathered creatures flock together, her imagination pursues their flickering wings and her hands sketch a minimalist flight of peacemakers.
As liberated as any creature can ever wish to be, their wings gain stamina with each lingering eye that dreams of similar freedom. On the other hand, her determination to bring the same strength to those who cannot soar mounts every time she is greeted by their faith in safety and inclusion.
Born in Damascus, Syria, Yara Tlass studied international management before finding her real calling in charity work. Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time until she stumbled upon the unexpected empowering footprint of jewellery.
Inspired by her faith in birds, Tlass taught herself the means to make birds befriend women who believe in beauty and compassion. Through her precious winged miniatures, she was able to turn the mere habit of accessorising every morning into an act of benevolence.
Usfuur is a distinctive jewellery brand which embraces fashion’s subtle potential to be a method for good deeds. The designer utilises birds as a symbol for resilience. In less than three years, her minimalist warblers have carried on their dainty-wings educational programmes for a number of displaced Syrian kids.
Daily News Egypt sat with the designer in celebration of her Egyptian debut to discuss her fascination with birds abd the fine lines between jewellery and charity, as well as her early steps into the local market.
Why did you decide to depend on the symbol of birds as your main emblem?
I have a strong affinity for birds and what they symbolise—freedom, strength, and hope. They have a beautiful aura of serenity and I believe that is what the brand aspires to represent.
How did depending on one symbol reflect on the brand in terms of brand awareness and broadness in design?
It was very well received; people love the idea of the bird and feel connected to the brand. As for the broadness in design, we always try to bring in something new, whether a new fabric, a new colour, a new material, or a new design collaboration.
Is it possible for the brand to move beyond the bird symbol in the near future?
I think the bird motifs will always be there in one form or another—it is the brand’s emblem. However, I do see it evolving as well as taking different shapes and forms; but, the bird signature will still have to be present one way or another, even if it is just a small bird hidden in the lock’s details.
How would you define your clientele?
A strong and feminine woman who appreciates beauty and loves a good story.
What encouraged you to start your brand in Dubai?
I have been living here for a couple years. I find Dubai to be a great hub for cultural and design initiatives; it is really inspiring in so many ways and there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses.
Where do you manufacture your jewellery?
We manufacture our jewellery in Dubai. The process starts with a mood board to get the inspiration flowing, then we sketch and iterate until we are satisfied with the piece. Next, we start by creating a sample, crafting the design, and making sure it is on point.
Once we finalise the first model, we move on to producing in quantities.
In what way is the charity percentage utilised in supporting Syrian families?
We donate a percentage from each piece sold to help support Watanili’s charity programmes, which include art therapy workshops, educational classes, and basic aid distribution to the local community around Hatay.
How many families have benefited from Usfuur so far?
Hundreds of families, especially Syrian women and children located around the town of Hatay on the Syrian-Turkish border, about 5 km away from Syria.
Why did you decide to stock your products at Coterique?
We have been wanting to have a solid presence in Egypt and Coterique is definitely a hotspot. Meanwhile, it fits into our brand ethos; we love their style and the diversity of their brands.
How do you perceive the Egyptian market based on your research?
We believe they will interact well with our brand identity and designs, especially given the fact that we are working on more elaborate design pieces—sophisticated and edgy, something that will appeal to the Egyptian market.