Emirati

UAE National Day: The Emirati designers to support now and forever

UAE National Day: The Emirati designers to support now and forever

Fashion

by Sarah Joseph
1 hour ago

In just 51 short years, the UAE has put itself on the map across all areas, particularly when it comes to fashion and design.
As the nation continues to be a hub of the world, there’s no better time to support and champion the incredible designers emerging from this region.
HH Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan, founder of MKS Jewellery

This contemporary fine jewellery brand translates the spirit of self-expression through each piece. From celebrating diversity to design elements that are meant to last forever, Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan is inspired by her rich heritage and has beautifully incorporated this into her passion for jewellery. By infusing unique elements into the design process, this collection was born to empower women.
For more information visit mksjewellery.com
Noora Shawqi, founder of Noora Shawqi Jewellery

Known for drawing inspiration for her pieces through her love for travelling, Noora Shawqi’s fine jewellery collections combine quality with a timeless aesthetic as she works closely with skilled artisans. Her eponymous collection is primarily made in Dubai and she creates meaningful pieces to mark special occasions in her life. Born in Dubai, Noora pays homage to the UAE with several of her pieces ensuring they all exude effortless sophistication.
For more information visit noorashawqi.com
Hamda Al Fahim, founder of her namesake label

UAE-based designer Hamda Al Fahim specializes in glamourous evening wear. With an aesthetic fusion of eastern and western influences, she ensures her signature style is incorporated into every design element. From intricate embroidery to handcrafted sequin work, there’s immense attention to detail at every step of the creative process.
For more information visit hamadaalfahim.com
Fatma Al-Otaiba, Founder of Odeem

This Dubai-based luxury accessories brand that specializes in leather goods is focused on creating timeless pieces, with varied textures that provide a unique style to its wearer. Founded in 2018 by Emirati designer, Fatma Al Otaiba, the vision for the brand has grown bountifully over the year with several A-listers around the globe carrying her products.
For more information visit odeem.ae
Yasmin Al Mulla, Founder of YNM

The ready-to-wear abaya label offers a modern take on certain wardrobe staples. Founded by creative director Yasmin Al Mulla, there are several covetable designs that are loved by all. From minimal delicacy to modern femininity, YNM is known for elevating the standard constantly by levelling up the notch in the world of fashion design.
For more information visit ynmdubai.com
Roudha Al Shamsi, Founder of Roudha Design

With a strong focus on interior product design, Roudha Al Shamsi creates pieces of work that explore futuristic design elements. From designing contemporary spaces to conveying an articulate design concept, Roudha is known for working with clients on both residential and commercial projects be it for studios, offices, libraries and more.
For more information visit roudha.design
Muna & Maryam Saeed, Founders of Al Mraikn

Taking a leap of faith 10 years ago launching their own fashion brand Al Mraikn, Muna and Maryam Saeed have gone from strength to strength. The abaya brand creates modern designs to empower women and make them feel confident. With immaculately tailored silhouettes that are crafted to perfection, Al Mraikn has made its name as a renowned abaya label in the region.
Shamsa Al Omaira, Founder of The O Jewelry

By taking artistic inspiration from her childhood, Shamsa Al Omaira has incorporated a sentimental value to each piece. By celebrating female empowerment through her brand, she’s delicately embodied a nostalgic sentiment allowing women to support each other through the jewellery brand. Using 18k gold, diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones; the designs celebrate the richness of the past with the simplicity of the present.
For more information visit theojewelry.com
Latifa Al Gurg, designer and founder of Twisted Roots

Emirati designer Latifa Al Gurg, founder of fashion label Twisted Roots, launched her contemporary fashion brand in 2014. With her designs adding a twist to the culture she draws inspiration from, Latifa presents each piece with a modern edge as she infuses her heritage into the label.
For more information visit twistedroots.ae
Noor, Budoor and Sarah Al Khaja, designers of SERRB

This homegrown Emirati brand offers minimal kaftan designs that are crafted with finesse and make women feel their best. Born from the creativity of three Emirati sisters Noor, Sarah and Budoor Al Khaja, SERBB has beautifully created designs with sophisticated cuts and intricate designs.
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Images: Instagram

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.
Read Next: Exclusive: Nardine Farag and More Join Egyptian Label Mamzi in Supporting Frontline Heroes

Emirati Label Qasimi Reissues Don’t Shoot T-Shirt to Raise Money for Kids in Lebanon

Emirati Label Qasimi Reissues Don’t Shoot T-Shirt to Raise Money for Kids in Lebanon

Qasimi Fall 2017. Courtesy of Qasimi
Emirati menswear label Qasimi helmed by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi is reissuing its renowned Don’t Shoot T-shirt in a charitable effort to raise funds for Lebanon. During August and September, the brand has pledged to donate all proceeds from online sales of the shirts to Save the Kids International. The charity organization has been working in Lebanon since 1953 to secure shelter, education, protection, food security and rights for children. It estimates that up to one million children – both Lebanese nationals and Syrian refugees – across the country are in need of urgent assistance.
The Don’t Shoot T-shirt is a nod to the ones originally worn by journalists in Lebanon during the 1982 war. Reporters were given a white shirt bearing the text “Don’t Shoot” in English, French, and Arabic in bright red lettering to make them easier to identify and protect them from harm.
This is not the first time the T-shirt has been used to raise money for the Lebanese. Following the deadly port explosion in Beirut on August 4 last year, the London-based label pledged all proceeds from the item would go to the Lebanese Red Cross. The only change Qasimi has made this time is to add its name under the original wording.

The cotton garment was first released in the London-based brand’s fall 2017 collection. In 2019, however, Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia’s Spring 2020 collection for Vetements garnered attention in the Arab world for featuring the same T-shirt, with many critiquing the brand for seeming to appropriate the issues raised by the conflict. Late brand founder Khalid Al Qasimi said that, apart from seeing an internationally-recognized brand prey on ideas of an emerging label, it is the context that he found disturbing. “I understand what they are doing,” he said, referring to Vetements. “It’s about consumerism. But it’s a complete F-U to the region as well. I used that print to highlight the plight of something going on in the Middle East. For Vetements to use it in such a flippant and provocative manner; I don’t think they realize what these words mean to us Arabs.”
The brand is now spearheaded by his twin sister Sheikha Hoor, who took over the reins following Al Qasimi’s death at the age of 39 in London in July 2019.
Read Next: A Year After the Beirut Explosion, a Lebanese Photographer Tells the Survivors’ Stories Through Their Scars

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