Zad designs for stylish, casual women

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Updated 16 June 2014
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Zad designs for stylish, casual women

Saudi fashion designer Zakia Attar aims to design stylish and affordable abayas and thobes for women who want to look good and feel comfortable. Her thobes and abayas are known to be a blend of cultural and modern styles characterized by a mix of trendy colors.
It all started when Attar was pregnant with her first child and was looking for Ramadan thobes to wear but couldn't find anything that suited her size or taste. This pushed her to shop for fabrics and design her own clothing, for which she later received several compliments from friends and family. This encouraged her to design more thobes, in addition to abayas, maxi dresses and maternity wear.
“The market lacked plus size clothing and maternity clothing that actually looked good. I was angry to see that bigger sizes were more expensive than small sizes and they didn’t look appealing to me,” she said. “When I started designing my own clothes, many people started asking me to do the same for them and that's when I decided to start my own fashion brand and call it Zad for Zakia Attar Designs,” she added.
Attar used to teach English aiming to inspire the younger generation to find themselves through language. “It was a passion and I was very happy to stand in front of a class and share my life experience and guide them to their next step in life,” she said. “I later quit teaching and focused on my home and while I was building it, I applied for an interior design diploma and that’s when I learned something about myself. I learned that I am always curious to learn more, especially when I’m in a place where I have to use my knowledge like designing my home,” she added.
Attar always had a passion for fashion. When she was a teenager she used to subscribe to fashion magazines and gather around with her friends to discuss latest trends. “I have always been attracted to street style because they are actually wearable and practical for everyone. I always admired those pieces that were lively and comfortable more that the glamorous ones,” she said. “You can actually see my love for street style in my designs now and my style for everyday designs and what I wear myself,” she added.
Fashion is personal and we all have individual styles, according to Attar. “Fashion to me is not about the image, it is all about how you feel wearing this piece of clothing and how you style it to suit your character,” she said. “My goal is to dress everyone and make them feel good in their own skin, all this in reasonable prices. But unfortunately, you sometimes have to hike up your prices in order to survive in the economy, in order to pay off all that comes with starting a fashion brand and to survive in this competitive market,” she added.
Zad started from being a home-based business to becoming a locally well-known brand, making its presence felt in the most famous malls in Jeddah. “It was a gift from my husband when he first rented the space for me to sell my designs as a way to show his support. By that time I was only designing one collection a year, which was a Ramadan collection. He did this to push me to do more and be more active with my designs,” said Attar. "It was very hard for me to design for a boutique because I do everything myself but this definitely pushed me to be more active and I couldn’t be more proud. I managed to produce 300 pieces in three months and it was horrifying but it really paid off,” she added.
Last year, a fire accident happened in the Red Sea mall where Zad boutique was situated and that changed everything. “The accident happened in the corridor where my shop was located. My husband and I were in shock because we invested so much in it and we were partners in this business who spent our time, money and energy to build it,” said Attar. “Surprisingly, I was calm and a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and at least we are all safe and no one was injured. We later relocated the boutique in the same mall and produced a whole new collection in only three weeks and everything went great and we love the new location, next to Saad Eldeen café,” she added.
Zad has just released its Ramadan collection comprising colorful designs and comfortable thobes and abayas. “I usually like to use soft and cool fabrics knowing we live in hot and humid weather. I use linens, cotton and viscose fabric. I like to design my collection with crochet and I guess that’s what I’m majorly known for,” said Attar. “I started my everyday collection for Ramadan using light fabrics for abayas and heavier ones for Eid. I have formal, semi-formal, casual and semi-casual abaya and thobe collections in store,” she added.

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Destiny’s designers: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé don Arab gowns at charity event

Kelly Rowland wearing Yousef Al-Jasmi. (AFP)
Updated 15 October 2018
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Destiny’s designers: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé don Arab gowns at charity event

DUBAI: Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé both chose Middle East-based designers for their trip down the red carpet at a charity event last week.

The superstars attended the City of Hope Gala in Santa Monica, California, wearing floor-length gowns by designers from Kuwait and Lebanon.

For her part, Rowland chose a glittering, rose gold gown by Kuwaiti designer Yousef Al-Jasmi, with a high collar and slit at the back. She accented the figure-hugging dress with a pair of dazzling earrings and slicked-back hair.

Meanwhile, Beyoncé chose a black velvet jacket by Lebanese label Elie Saab. The belted piece featured embellishments on the shoulder and a plunging neckline and is from the label’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection.

Beyoncé paid homage to a high-profile music executive being honored at a charity event to raise money for cancer research, The Associated Press reported.

The singer’s vocals soared as she performed three ballads including her 2009 smash hit “Halo” and “Ava Maria” after saluting the character of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing CEO Jon Platt at the City of Hope gala near Los Angeles on Thursday night. She took the stage following her husband, Jay Z, who presented Platt with the Spirit of Life award during a charity event that raised more than $6 million.

“Most people lead with their ego, but you lead with your heart,” Beyoncé said Platt, who will soon be leaving his position at Warner/Chappell to take on the top role at Sony/ATV, the top publishing company in the music business.

“You have touched so many lives, mine included,” she added.

Jay Z called Platt the “Obama of the music industry.” The music executive is known for signing publishing deals with Jay Z, Usher, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg. His roster of songwriters at Warner/Chappell includes Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars and Timbaland.

Both Beyoncé and Jay Z appeared at the black-tie charity event after the couple wrapped up their On The Run II tour about a week ago.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than my brother, Jon Platt,” Jay Z told more than 1,000 attendees. “He’s known as ‘Big Jon’ and he has a beautiful soul.”

City of Hope is a treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases as the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group has raised more than $118 million in 45 years. The award is the group’s highest honor recognizing those that have helped further music, film and entertainment.

Previous Spirit of Life award recipients include Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Irving Azoff and Mo Ostin.

Music mogul Diddy, singer Usher, former NBA player Chauncey Billups and some of Platt’s family members took part in a video dedicated to the music executive. Platt’s oldest son, Jonathan Platt, was diagnosed with diabetes.