Twin sisters Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim share a story that is anything but ordinary. Born in the U.S. and raised in Somalia, they fled the country at the age of nine to escape civil war. Ayaan and Idyl spent their school years in Washington, DC, and went on to study at Boston University and the University of Michigan, respectively. Their next step was to reconvene in New York City, where they embarked on a mission to stand out from the rest in the crowd in fashion and design. Experiencing the industry from the ground up, through careful study and practice, they gradually crafted their talent, weaving their varied cultural influences into each meticulously designed piece in their studio. In 2008, the Mohallim sisters took a bold step together, launching their brand, Mataano (translated as “twins” in Somali), and developing a platform from which to express their vision and bring forth their creations to the marketplace. Mataano’s premier collection, a boutique preview of ten dresses for Spring 2009, launched in New York City and garnered notice throughout the industry. In October 2008, Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime television, invited Ayaan and Idyl to appear via Skype on her show. Titled “Young Millionaire Moguls”, the show featured the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, designers of fashion lines The Row and Elizabeth and James. Paralleling their success with the Olsen twins, Oprah lauded the duo for their inspiring story and much deserved success, and introduced them to the national stage as an emerging brand with a rich cultural heritage. Since then, Mataano has released six collections attracting fervent attention from the press, including The New York Times, Vogue Italia, Arise Magazine, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, DailyCandy.com, and numerous blog mentions, among others. Most recently, Ayaan and Idyl were followed by the cameras of CNN International (Inside Africa) and Voice of America as they shot a feature on the designers.