Dressing the World with Armenian Prints

By Nare Balyan

After taking part in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Kiev and then in Oriflame Fashion Week in Yerevan, Shabeeg Armenian t-shirt company founded by Mary Sukiasyan was invited to participate in one of the fashion weeks that is collectively known as the “Big 4.” So, on February 5, 2018, for the first time, an Armenian brand became a participant in New York Fashion Week. The brand was founded in 2015. However, its accomplishments already prove that the company has a vast potential and it has still many accomplishments to reach in the future.

The idea of Shabeeg came when Mary realized that the market lacks quality t-shirts with Armenian symbols. So, she decided to open one and see how it will work out. Mary Sukiasyan, an alumna of the American University of Armenia, has always been sure to be a business person. The education of AUA also helped her, as she felt confident by getting knowledge and skills from high-class instructors working in big and successful international companies. Besides, AUA gave her a lot of motivation. She completed an internship in Paris after AUA in cooperation with AGBU, which also had its role in Shabeeg’s involvement in New York Fashion Week.

During her experience Mary had several lessons which resonated with her most strongly, “Always rely on yourself, follow your heart and never restraint yourself from going out of your comfort zone, as that’s where the exciting opportunities are.” By following these principles, she always solved all her problems successfully and discovered new and exciting opportunities.

During the New York fashion Week Mary found out that her target audience is not limited only to diaspora and local Armenians, as she thought before. As a result of Mary’s hard work and strive for success many foreigners were already interested in Armenian t-shirts, and Shabeeg had many offers from different places, including Latin America. In fact, with her team, Mary already has already taken significant steps to reach global markets. Shabeeg is already available in a clothing store in Los Angeles called “Fashion Inn.” Moreover, in the store, this year’s collection for children is already sold out.

“The field of fashion excites me, it gives me endless opportunities to be creative, it makes money, and it promotes our culture and history,” this is how Mary speaks about the world of fashion and her job. She also considers herself to be a successful person and she is passionate about her work. “Success to me is being in harmony when the work you love doing is your actual job. It was a long journey without it, but I have finally found what seems to be my calling.”

As always, Mary seeks new opportunities and works on getting broader access to large markets. So, there is a chance that she may continue her career path abroad. However, Mary is sure that she will always keep her connection with Armenia, as all the inspiration of Shabeeg comes from her motherland and its culture.

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