“Dalood is a label for It girls not interested in showy street style kitsch.” – Vogue.com.
Founded in 2002, the key to Dalood’s success has always been its long history of masterful tailoring, impeccable needlework and unlimited creativity. Its team-oriented, positive corporate culture, combined with the excessively experienced, devoted and loyal team of professionals allowed the brand to become one of the leading Georgian brands in the global fashion scene.
All great things begin with an idea and a courage to pursue it. Nana Shukvani, the founder of Dalood, had both. Growing up in the high mountains of Svaneti, in the northwestern part of Georgia, the only source of new clothes came from small-time traders. Since, what they had to offer was unsatisfactory either to her taste or her budget, Nana began to seek more viable, creative solutions. She started making her own clothing and knitwear – mostly by refitting some old clothes or sewing new ones from curtains and any fabrics at hand, that even involved nicking stylish items from her older brothers’ wardrobes. Today, she recalls those times with a reminiscing smile, “Maybe my clothes weren’t the most expensive , but they were unique, and I knew that nobody had anything alike.” When she was 18, Nana started a family and her creative pursuits had to be put aside for a longer while. It was only in London – where she stayed with her children during their studies – that she firmly decided to follow her life-long passion and open an atelier in her beloved country. Georgia was still recovering from its Soviet past and a very recent civil war. Georgian fashion scene hardly existed, and Nana was one of the very few designers working in the country. For them it was more a way of life than a business or an industry. The artists were purely fueled by their enthusiasm, optimism and hard work. In Georgia, fashion shows, and other cultural projects, were reminiscent of mass public events; they brought hope and belief that better times were yet to come and hundreds of people would attend, hoping to get their own slice of that momentous happiness.
In 2002, Nana, accompanied by her daughter Maka, brand’s creative director since 2013, visited a little province of Prato, a textile centre of Italy, to purchase fabrics for her very first fashion show. The show featuring sixty gowns, characterized by visual dynamics and classic black and white contrast was a great success. During the following weeks, customer demand had sky-rocketed and the company had to hire two in-house designers, George Amirejibi and George Pantsulaia. In the future collaborating with newcomer designers,allowing them to create their namesake clothing lines, managing and promoting their brands would become one of Dalood’s legacies. Nana was among the pioneers in Georgia to design textiles for her collections and introduce hand painted fabrics. In 2003, Dalood’s second fashion show, which was inspired by one of the Georgian artist’s, Irakli Parjiani’s paintings owned by the designer, presented beautiful evening gowns covered with hand painted Svanetian snowy landscapes. Using natural dye, designing and painting mostly silk garments entailed a skillful labor-intensive process. Every peace was unique. In order to ensure the color integrity dying saturation was methodically controlled, then pressure-steamed and put through a softening process to achieve good colorfastness and comfort. Years later, in 2007, the very same collection had a triumphant presentation in Svaneti, after which the local Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography offered Nana to contribute the bridal dress to the museum’s permanent exhibition, what nana was more than delighted to accept. Nana’s special attachment to her origins influenced the brand name – Dalood. It should not come as a surprise that the name of the brand is also connected to her Svanatian roots. She remembers how, after finding a bride’s lost engagement ring, at one of the weddings she attended as a teenager, she got a nickname – ‘Dalood’ and it had stuck to her since, meaning – ‘a crystal doll’ in The Svan language, which is a part of Kartvelian language, only spoken in the Svaneti region. Apparently, a person calling it out first, wanted to express his admiration for her beauty. It is worth mentioning that throughout her life, the founder of Dalood fashion House, Nana Shukavni, is and always was complemented and recognized as an exceptionally beautiful woman.
Dalood Group CEO and Creative Director, Maka Kvitsiani was born in Georgia, educated in Tbilisi, London and Moscow. After her mother, the founder of Dalood, Nana opened a boutique atelier, here Maka discovered a deep attachment to fashion and started taking drawing and fashion design classes and participated in various fashion projects ( BeNext, XXI Century Georgia). At that time, fashion only seemed like a hobby, so she chose to study Tourism Management while working part time at Dalood. In 2003, still in search for her real career, Maka made a leap from tourism to diplomacy and enrolled in a masters program of International Affairs in Diplomatic Academy, Moscow, Russia. In 2006, after successfully completing her studies, she decided to take some time off and be with her family and kids. Years later, Maka decided to build up her career in fashion and completed courses in Central Saint Martins College, London – ‘Fashion Marketing, Brand Management, Fashion Styling and Trends’. Soon after which, opening a cult boutique in Moscow – Dalood and only selling Georgian designer clothes, led to curating and developing brands for Georgian new comer designers. Being fully responsible for forming and implementing their business strategies. Therefore it is fair to say that since its inception Dalood has contributed greatly to the development of fashion industry in Georgia and continues to do so to this day. Since her early days Maka was fortunate enough to witness and participate in formation of a start-up fashion brand, acquiring her with invariable experience and business skills that are essential for every creative director – the job she undertook at Dalood in 2013. As a designer she decided to boost the brand by exploiting its strongest resources – Dalood’s long history of masterful tailoring, design, its excessively experienced team of professionals and their impeccable needlework. Presently, Dalood has established into a successful and valuable fashion brand consisting of an atelier with 20 full-time staff, a flagship in the city center with a collaborative space where various Georgian art, decorative interior pieces and accessorize are accessible. Every fashion season the label participates in leading showrooms and fashion weeks around the world, carries out collaborative projects with different artists and fashion designers, supplies famous shops, buyers and online stores worldwide and dresses local/international celebrities, to name a few – Kendall Jenner, Queen Rania, top social media influencers and many more. Aside from her career, Maka is raising three beautiful boys. Even though, juggling family and a full time job is challenging, she is happy with her achievements and proud that so far she has shaped a cool, “go to” brand that never fails its customers and always meets their high expectations.