Sue Abayas for stylish, classy women

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Updated 13 December 2012
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Sue Abayas for stylish, classy women

Saudi abaya designer Suad Al-Zamil never thought she would start a fashion career until her 16-year-old daughter started asking her to buy an abaya every month to match the latest fashion trend. Al-Zamil thought it would a hassle to find exactly what her daughter wanted, so she thought of making one herself. Sue Abayas is named after Al-Zamil’s nickname
Al-Zamil graduated with a degree in math and science and worked as a teacher until she started her abaya label. “After designing my first abaya for my daughter, I received great feedback from her friends at school,” she said. “I never thought I would make this my fulltime job until her friends started asking me to design similar abayas for them.”
The handmade stitching and added accessories are what sets Al-Zamil’s abayas apart from others. “Ever since I was young, I was always admired for my fine stitching and ability to mix fabrics,” she said. “I even made a collection of tailored boxes for gifts. I used different fabrics and beads to make the boxes attractive so they didn’t need any wrapping.”
Word of mouth boosted Al-Zamil’s abayas. They became well known in her daughter’s school, and then word spread to students’ friends and family outside the school. “It has been six years now and I would say the business is really good. I don’t tie myself to a certain season, I just make my own lines and bring out three collections a year,” she said. “Almost every three months, I design one or two pieces, depending on the materials I find and depending on the inspiration.”
Crepe, silk and dentelle are the most-used materials in Sue abayas. “I always make sure that the fabrics I use are high quality. In the end I’m putting my name on it so I have to invest in good and high-end materials,” said Al-Zamil. “The accessories I add to all my abayas are all handmade. I stitch every single one of them. Now I have my team who helps me stitch all the flowers and beads I am using in my abayas.”
Al-Zamil does not sketch her designs before tailoring. “I am inspired by the fabrics. As I said I am very good with them as I know what goes well with what and what complements what,” she said. “When I look at a certain fabric, I constantly get inspired and start designing the new line and mix and match those fabrics.”
When Al-Zamil made her first pieces, she outsourced the finishing and couldn’t control the quality. “I kept looking for a better tailor but they were all the same. Then I decided to hire my own tailors and micro manage them to assure the best production,” she said.
Sue Abayas are a mix between the modern and traditional, thanks to Al-Zamil’s focus on innovation. “I always try to create something new that no one designed before. I focus on the hand stitched accessories that I add on each abaya,” she said. “My cut is known, every single abaya I design has a unique signature cut that complements the female body.”
Al-Zamil wants her clients to feel special and unique when they wear Sue Abayas. “I put a lot of effort into making unique pieces. I also work hard on the finishing and choosing the fabric. I want my clients to feel this,” she said.
Sue Abaya’s new collection features abayas that look like the traditional Saudi bisht, or cloak for men. “This would be one-of-a-kind with gold and silver beadings. I twisted it so it will look completely different than a man’s bisht thanks to the fabric and accessories I used,” she said. ” I used all black, dark brown and navy blue in this collection because it’s winter.”
Al-Zamil will open her first store in Jeddah soon.

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Zayan the Label unveils summer and Ramadan lines fit for a princess

Updated 23 May 2018
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Zayan the Label unveils summer and Ramadan lines fit for a princess

  • The Ciao Maharani collection was inspired by Princess Gayatri Devi, the last maharani of Jaipur
  • The label also launched a special line of kaftans for Ramadan

DUBAI: Dubai-based Zayan Ghandour is widely known as the fashion-forward woman behind hugely successful concept store S*uce, which boasts incredibly offbeat designs by regional and international designers in stores across the UAE.
Ghandour launched her own quirky, feminine brand, Zayan the Label, at Paris Fashion Week in 2011 and has now unveiled a Spring/Summer 2018 collection that is perfect for the month of Ramadan, as well as a line of kaftans.
Titled the “Ciao Maharani” collection, the delightful summer line was inspired by Princess Gayatri Devi, the last maharani of Jaipur, the capital of India’s Rajasthan state famous for its reddish pink buildings.
The collection is marked by tiered dresses embroidered with Indian floral folklore motifs, vibrant brocades with contemporary jersey rib details, deliciously bright color block dresses with ruffled halter-necks and detachable off-shoulder sleeves, as well as dresses, tops and bottoms.

#ss18collection #ramadancapsulecollection

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The line is ideal for iftar and suhoor gatherings due to the loose fit and summery shades of some of the pieces — there are even oh-so-comfy sweatpants embroidered with various motifs. Starched, Santorni-esque whites, vibrant reds, yellows and blues all work together to result in a collection that is at once stylish, smile-inducing and fun.
The label is known for its quirks and this line is no different, with one cold shoulder sweatshirt embroidered with the words “Garam Masala” — a fiery, spicy staple in Indian cooking. Although the thought of wearing a sweatshirt in the Gulf heat is rather off-putting, perhaps label lovers could save this piece for their inevitable trip to cooler climes this summer.

#garammasala #ciaomaharani #SS18

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Ghandour also released a similar line of Ramadan kaftans, which echo the colors, styles and motifs that appear in her Ciao Maharani collection.

Fuschia for Ramadan

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Inspired by a legendary style icon in India, it is refreshing that Ghandour chose to turn to the subcontinent to fuel her latest collection.
Described as “one of India’s most elegant, independent and modern maharanis,” by the India Today newspaper, Devi was the third maharani consort of Jaipur from 1940 to 1949, through her marriage to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II.
She was born on May 23, 1919, in London and married her husband in May 1940. Despite the relative ease with which she could have chosen to live a life of leisure, Devi chose to opt for a stint in politics and won a seat in the Indian Parliament in 1962. She held the seat from 1967-1971 as a member of the Swatantra Party and was an avid equestrienne and polo player to boot.

Known for her fondness for cars, Devi also reportedly imported the first Mercedes-Benz W126 to India and owned a bevy of Rolls-Royces and an aircraft, according to India Today.

With all these achievements under her belt — or tucked neatly into her sari — it is perhaps no wonder that the Lebanese trendsetting designer chose to draw inspiration from the Indian princess.

The collection is available across S*uce stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the standalone Zayan the Label store in Dubai and via international stockists. To peruse the collection online, visit zayanthelabel.com.