A genius poet, master pastry chef, and scarf-designing superstar—yah, we’re talking about one person. Born in Dubai, Rawaan Alkhatib spent her early days surrounded by peacocks and gazelles. “This definitely contributed to my animal obsession, which you can find in my writing and design,” she says. In 2002, she headed to Brown University, eventually landing in an MFA program in Iowa. “It’s the only place where you can be at a bar and a stranger says, ‘So are you a poet or what?’—and you can say yes and own it,” she recalls.
In 2011, Rawaan found herself in New York with a fancy degree and, while poking around for jobs, started making scarves. In 2012, this side project went official (oh, and she landed a 9-to-5 at a luxury flash-sale site, too).
Scarves appeal to her for two reasons: She wears them a lot and comes from a culture of headscarves. “Silk is so magical—it keeps you warm when you’re cold and cool when you’re warm. It has a history of being used in luxury items, but it’s functional,” explains the designer, who hopes to add bags, clothing, and stationery to the mix down the road. “I have no real artistic training—merely boundless enthusiasm,” she says. “But this feels the most right of all the harebrained schemes I’ve had.” —alisha prakash