Malaika Raiss is undeniably one of Berlin’s chicest fashion designers. The 29-year-old founded her eponymous label MALAIKARAISS in Berlin, just six years ago, and she unveiled her new collection last Tuesday at the city’s increasingly ambitious summer Fashion Week. It immediately announced that innovation and talent are not exclusive to the catwalks of New York, Paris or Milan.

Material Girl gained exclusive backstage access to Malaika’s show and spoke to her about what inspires and drives her.


Tell us the story behind Malaikaraiss. How, when and where did it begin?

In 2010, when I had some many ideas and working for other brands simply wasn´t enough anymore. I wanted to build a brand with a total look: ready-to-wear, accessories, and jewelry. All of it easy, cool, relaxed, but with a fun-feminine twist.

What are the key aesthetics that drive the label?

It´s all about powerful and self-confident women who don´t need to dress up – just be themselves.

I read you lived and worked in New York for a time. What influence did this have on you as designer?

Throughout my life I´m travelling a lot and collect ideas and influences from all over the globe.

New York is one of my favorite places. I like that drive and its kind of you-can-do-it vibe totally fits me.

What can you tell about the new collection?

Secret hideaways – deserted Caribbean beaches, the luxurious havens of the rock music

bohème on Mustique, Aruba and St. Barts – are my inspiration for Beaches. The new collection is rebellious, with  filigree, just like the daughters of rocksteady. Inspired by nature, she uses abstract shell motifs, accentuating the otherwise graphic, flowing silhouettes.

What’s more important for you: the process or the final product?


How do you work?

In a comfortable enviroment. My sofa and my bed or the bench in  my parents garden is where I like to sketch, until late at night. For me, my desk isn´t the right place to design. It´s where it put all the pieces together at the end.

When you begin a new collection how do you begin to conceive it? How do you narrow the ideas?

I keep an old school sketchbook to collect a lot of moods, photos, screenshots, fabric swatches, and color samples, then I start drawing. It´s all about shapes and silhouettes first. Then I add fabrics, structures, prints, and the final colorways.

Give me three words that best sum up who you are as a designer.

Passionate. Determined. Forward thinking.

What can we expect from you over the next 18 months?

New product lines. Great collaborations. Adventures in Paris.

What kind of woman expresses your clothes best?

Self-confident, smart, effortless, with a great sense of style.

What has been the biggest lesson you learnt since starting your own label?

Life is what you make it.

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Interview by Cheyenne Tulsa 

Portrait of designer by James Perolls 

Polaroids by Jonas Huckstorf