Arab women

6 Designers Share What Emirati Women’s Day Means to Them During UAE’s Year of the 50th

6 Designers Share What Emirati Women’s Day Means to Them During UAE’s Year of the 50th

The UAE has long been heralded as a pillar of gender equality in the region. From aiming to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors including the Federal National Council, empowering women to enroll in not only higher education but also in STEM courses, and requiring equal pay and female representation in decision-making boardrooms, the UAE is constantly progressing with new policies and programs to continue promoting equal opportunities for men and women.
On August 28, we celebrate Emirati Women’s Day in honor of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood’s mission to recognize the key role women play in shaping the future of the country. Vogue Arabia reached out to some of the nation’s most celebrated designers to explore what they believe the future of fashion will look like in this ever-evolving landscape and the advice they have for young Emirati women who hope to join them in their quest to inspire creative change.

Sara Tamimi
Emirati designer Sara Tamimi. Photographed by Julia Chernih
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you? Will you be celebrating it any differently this year?
For me, it’s a day when women need to guide and uplift each other. We should lead every girl and woman around us to help her achieve her goals and dreams. Sometimes, it’s as simple as helping them see what they are gifted in. The adventure of leading another women towards her path to success is even more rewarding than having found our own. Emirati women who found their source of empowerment can create a domino effect for those around them, we have seen that play out in the last 50 years and should maximize on this effect for the next 50.
I will be spending the day with my family, my mother and my sisters mostly, celebrating the great women I have around me who have inspired and guided me to be the woman I am today.
As the UAE celebrates 50 years in 2021, what is it about the country that makes you proud to be Emirati?
What makes me proud to be an Emirati woman is the fact that the possibilities are endless. Being a woman doesn’t restrict me from pursuing my dreams. It makes me proud that Emirati woman can choose to follow her dreams, whether it’s designing a collection or preparing for the next space mission like Nora Al Matrooshi.
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world?
My hope for the region is that it continues to build the growing platform of a sustainable fashion using the regions natural resources and setting new standards in the industry and leading the way forward in the years to come.
Who are the Emirati women you look up to?
My sister, Noor Al Tamimi. She has and will always will be my inspiration. She is someone I aspire to be like and look up to in every way possible. To me, she exemplifies what it means to be an Emirati woman with an active role in society; realizing her dreams and embracing every opportunity. She founded a successful business that spread across the UAE and expanded globally. And she did so as a hands on mother, with humility, kindness and patience; values that I hold dearly to my heart.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past year?
I felt life was going too fast and we compromised a lot of what we value as humans did not suit our nature. I believe now is the time to appreciate quality over anything else, we need to experience time and true luxury again and stop taking fashion forgranted.
How has Covid-19 affected your design process and creativity overall? Were there any changes that you see becoming more permanent fixtures?
Covid-19 is a turning point in all our lives. As the world continues to adjust to the new normal, clothing brands will also need to evolve and adapt to the circumstances of the world. That is what fashion is about, it’s speaking to people in a certain place an time; an expression through clothing.
Back to back collections that brands have been pushing made it difficult for us to appreciate the beauty of each one, as we constantly rushed from one collection to the next. We need to change that and produce less, put more thought into it, and make it better and sustainable for the people and the environment.
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
I really believe moving forward post-Covid-19, demand for luxury and experience will increase and I dare say it may even go to the extravagance of the roaring 20s.
Noora Shawqi
Noora Shawqi. Photo: Supplied
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you? Will you be celebrating it any differently this year?
As a mother and an entrepreneur, it brings immense joy to have a day dedicated to us that shows how the women of the country are constantly valued for our strength and efforts. With two young children, I’m trying to be mindful of the situation so this year I’ll just be celebrating at home with my immediate family.
As the UAE celebrates 50 years in 2021, what is it about the country that makes you proud to be Emirati?
I’m proud of how much our beautiful country has thrived and achieved in these years. It is an honor to be able to represent it and showcase to the world the many talents and craftsmanship of our country!
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world in the wake of this pandemic?
Do your research and have a plan in place. It’s not easy being in a creative industry so make sure to surround yourself with people who support you 100% of the way.
Who are the Emirati women you look up to?
The Emirati women I’m surrounded with inspire me the most. Their energy and accomplishments are my biggest inspiration. Some of them are Aisha Sharaf, owner of Pastryology, Noora Taher from Nafs Design, Shatha Essa, Fatma Taher of Maureen and many more. They all inspire me in many ways; especially their drive and great representation as role models of Emirati women.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past year?
The past year has been unexpected in many ways, but we should take these as opportunities to learn and not to give up. Giving up might be the easy way out but learning from them and taking it as a challenge is rewarding once you overcome it.
How has Covid-19 affected your design process and creativity overall? Were there any changes that you see becoming more permanent fixtures?
It allowed me to slow down and have more time to design which I really enjoyed. In the past, it was always hard to find the time to just sit down on my own and design. I’m hoping I can keep that up in the future but already my schedule is filling up!
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
I would like to see brands develop seasonless collections that are less trend-based and more focused on wearability and sustainability.
Noor, Budoor and Sarah Al Khaja of Serrb
Serrb AW2020 collection. Photo: Supplied
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you? Will you be celebrating it any differently this year?
We believe that every day is Women’s Day but sometimes we get caught up in life and take things for granted. So it’s a chance to stop, celebrate, and appreciate the people that we are and the people who we’ve become.
As the UAE celebrates 50 years in 2021, what is it about the country that makes you proud to be Emirati?
We appreciate the good care and support that has been always given to the people; especially during the pandemic.
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world in the wake of this pandemic?
Never be afraid to voice out your thoughts and opinions. There is always someone who is interested. And if you find the courage to believe in yourself then nothing can stop you.
Who are the Emirati women you look up to?
We look up to every woman who is driven, passionate and is looking to further develop herself and her community.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past year?
The value of taking things slow, taking care of one’s health and spending quality time alone and with family.
How has Covid-19 affected your design process and creativity overall? Were there any changes that you see becoming more permanent fixtures?
It has led to us focusing more on local suppliers, as well as to support other local businesses to remain open.
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
We believe in the near future, fashion will move in the direction of more versatile, timeless pieces.
Latifa AlGurg of Twisted Roots
Latifa AlGurg of Twisted Roots. Photo: Supplied
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you? Will you be celebrating it any differently this year?
It’s a chance to celebrate all the strong women who have contributed to building and sustaining this great nation. I’ll be enjoying quality time with my immediate family to celebrate the day.
As the UAE celebrates 50 years in 2021, what is it about the country that makes you proud to be Emirati?
The UAE has a longstanding tradition of welcoming, accepting and learning from other cultures. I believe that this has been a key factor in nation’s growth and success. I feel immense pride that this so ingrained in both our culture and people that the country has become a home to people from every other nation in the world. A home that they not only live in, but a home that they are proud to be a part of.
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world?
Prepare whatever you can ahead and take your time building a strong understanding of your identity, goals, and pathways. The stronger your foundation, the more enjoyable the journey.
Who are the Emirati women you look up to?
There are so many inspiring Emirati women. Just to name a few, HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Sarah Al-Amiri, and HE Reem Al Hashimi. These women are inspirational to us all. In addition, the UAE has a long history of strong women raising strong families. These women have set the precedent for the community to grow and prosper into the nation we are now so proud of.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past year?
Every experience is a gift. Learn what you can from them. I’ve also learned so much from the people around me, and how beautiful and important human connection is.
How has Covid-19 affected your design process and creativity overall? Were there any changes that you see becoming more permanent fixtures?
We had to take everything online, which surprisingly created for a more focused discussion. This has helped us keep track of the collection development process, so I think we will adopt this system for collection development as a permanent fixture to be more effective.
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
Prior to the pandemic, there was a shift towards the appreciation of more of a slow fashion model involving craftsmanship and quality, and I think the pandemic has highlighted this even more, with people considering what they are purchasing more carefully and shifting away from higher consumption rates.
Yasmin Al Mulla
Yasmin Al Mulla. Photo: Supplied
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you? Will you be celebrating it any differently this year?
It is a dear day by all means. We are so blessed and fortunate to live in this beautiful country, where women take their chances in all aspects, where women’s voices are being heard, and where women are being treated as gems. We are being celebrated every single day by just living in the UAE, so everyday is nothing but a celebration for us.
As the UAE celebrates 50 years in 2021, what is it about the country that makes you proud to be Emirati?
Being an Emirati woman means that you are strong, capable, worthy, and valuable in all forms. I am thankful for the priceless opportunities, overwhelming support, and perpetual privileges. Let’s work together to represent our country beautifully.
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world in the wake of this pandemic?
You are living in a country where women are being supported in all aspects. Use your chances, study the market, fulfill the missing gap, and incorporate your passion through your education and career. But always remember that there is a room for everyone. We rise by lifting others!
Who are the Emirati women you look up to?
Every single woman who appreciates her education, treasure her dreams and believe in her goals.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past year?
Above all, what matters most after health and family; is having a strong community, great countries, and a world that contains us.
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
The future of fashion is shifting into a whole new direction, as we are never coming out of this the same. But stronger, with brighter ideas, and valued directions. It is about elevating our strongest products, and filling the missing gap in the market; it’s all about e-commerce and sustainable production.  It is as well about renewed interest in clothing items as the consumers are shifting into nothing but timeless pieces—smart quality shopping rather than quantity.
Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi
Madiyah Al Sharqi at Ounass. Photo: Supplied
What does Emirati Women’s Day mean to you?
I think it’s about celebrating every woman’s achievements and inspiring others with those breakthroughs. It’s a testament to how empowered women are in the UAE, and how we always strive to be a progressive community.
What advice would you give young Emirati women who are planning to join the creative world?
In any profession, I think it requires a lot of passion to enjoy what you do. Now more than ever, it’s so important to be able to embrace constant change and be inventive in such a fluctuating landscape.
How has Covid-19 affected your design process and creativity overall? Were there any changes that you see becoming more permanent fixtures?
I’ve found new meaning in getting creative; it’s pushed us out of our comfort zones to explore new ways to present a collection next season. When it comes to the design process, I believe we have already started heading in the direction by incorporating more seasonless items into the collection that aren’t trend-driven, so we will continue in that direction.
Describe what you think the future of fashion will look like in a post-pandemic world.
My hope is we’ll come out of this more conscious and mindful of the way we consume fashion—investing in quality, design, and the craftspeople behind it.
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15 Muslim Influencers with Modern Modest Fashion

15 Muslim Influencers with Modern Modest Fashion

Halima Aden, Ikram Abdi Omar, and Amina Adan. Photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019.
Far from encompassing solely the Muslim community, modest fashion is quickly becoming a more inclusive way of dressing for women — regardless of religious and cultural background. Around the world, modest style influencers are using their social media platforms to amplify the voices calling for more covered ensembles and the mainstream fashion industry is taking notice. From fashion week runways touting longer, loose-fitting collections to hijabi supermodels starring in leading campaign shoots, the concept of modest dressing is being constantly redefined to represent the growing influence of the modest community.
Acting as a voice for modest fashion on the streets of their hometowns and the feeds of our digital networks, these visionary bloggers boasting thousands of followers each are unapologetically themselves, shifting the global perspective of modesty with their unique personal style and signature looks. With creative layering, statement accessories, and imaginative headwraps, modest-wear has never been so accessible so it only makes sense to turn to the experts for guidance. Scroll through the gallery below for a look at our some of our favorite modest style muses that continue to welcome more women into the folds of this timeless trend and empower those who do choose to dress modestly.
This Amsterdam-based entrepreneur not only wears elegant ensembles around the world but is also the owner of Shop Modiq, a boutique touting modest designs for the contemporary woman. This Kuwaiti fashion blogger has mastered the art of power suiting with bold colors and fun accents, often transforming a classic look to a haute modern-day approach. Based in Dubai, this Emirati-Palestinian influencer provides everyday inspo for conservative dressing with a blend of affordable pieces and designer accessories no matter the occasion. Often photographed traipsing the streets of her Florida hometown in an effortless mix of stylish layers, this fashion-forward influencer is also the host of the weekly podcast Arab-American Psycho, which shares her musings on life and invites other Arab women guest stars to do the same. This Sudanese-American was one of the first few hijab-wearing YouTube stars and is continuing to make waves in the fashion industry with her elevated street style that is chockfull of statement pieces, like this mustard trench. Celebrated as a modest fashionista, this Irish-Palestinian often collaborates with leading luxury brands, presenting chic combinations that play with different textures to emulate a ladylike aesthetic that is anything but one-dimensional. A Dubai-based instagrammer who likely needs no introduction, Al Ghouti is a proponent of premium streetwear embedded with her own inimitable edge and signature over-the-shoulder black hijab. This Londoner living in Riyadh is a longtime supporter of Arab designers, donning minimalist ensembles that favorite seamless silhouettes and earthy tones, whether it’s a linen abaya or knitted matching set. Known for championing comfortable yet structured pieces from patterned oversized blazers to tailored trousers, this Bangladeshi communications coordinator in Paris occasionally complements her no-nonsense outfits with a pop of traditional accessories from hometown flea markets. An Egyptian designer with an enviable closet, Taha explores the power of adventurous modestwear with abayas and bishts rooted in the season’s hottest trends. A Syrian-American content creator with an endless collection of versatile go-to pieces for the young modest generation. This emerging Swiss-Tunisian style blogger is a model for solid color-blocking combinations and vintage-inspired motifs reminiscent of her current European location. This half-Palestinian can be found photographed throughout New York City’s concrete jungle with imaginative ensembles emblematic of her thrift shop finds and cool attitude. Featuring a palette of pretty pastels and muted neutrals in dresses and skirts made for twirling, this Pakistani influencer is a vision of modest femininity. A self-proclaimed digital creator based in Stockholm, Asry is a veteran modest blogger who opts for a simple Scandinavian style that packs a subtle punch.
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