AFW shows modest fashion all the way from Louisville, Kentucky

The Somali-American sisters founded their brand FLLUMAE in February 2014. (FLLUMAE)
Updated 11 May 2018
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AFW shows modest fashion all the way from Louisville, Kentucky

  • The sibling-driven brand has landed on the sunny shores of Dubai and just showed off its Cruise collection aboard the newly-inaugurated Queen Elizabeth II floating hotel
  • The siblings began taking orders from their local community, revamping revealing dresses into covered-up fashion that was still en vogue and not frumpy

DUBAI: The Kentucky-based Saidi sisters are shaking up modest style and proving that faith-friendly fashion is nothing if not funky, fresh and fabulous.

The Somali-American sisters founded their brand FLLUMAE in February 2014 and within a year-and-a-half were showing off their designs at the pinnacle of all things fashion – New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

Now, the sibling-driven brand has landed on the sunny shores of Dubai and just showed off its Cruise collection aboard the newly-inaugurated Queen Elizabeth II floating hotel, as part of the sixth edition of Arab Fashion Week (AFW) in Dubai.

Set to run until May 12, AFW is bringing together 18 international designers from 13 different countries who are showing off their designs in what has been billed as the world’s first floating fashion week.

Founded in Louisville, Kentucky, FLLUMAE started out as a bid to tackle the lack of modest fashion at the time.

“When we were growing up, if we liked a dress we would be like ‘oh my god, I love this dress, but it doesn’t have any sleeves,’ so we would take it home and sew some sleeves on there,” Fahima Saidi, one of the four sisters behind the brand, told Arab News.  

The siblings began taking orders from their local community, revamping revealing dresses into covered-up fashion that was still en vogue and not frumpy.

“Finally, we decided to commit and we took a big risk, we all left our professions to work on this business as designers,” Saidi said, adding that she used to be a medical interpreter before her jump into the fast-paced world of high fashion.

It has been an “amazing journey” since then, and the brand made it to NYFW far sooner than the sisters had planned.

“It happened so quickly, I thought it would take five to seven years to get to the level of presenting at NYFW, but it was a year-and-half and we were there,” she said of their 2016 debut at the coveted fashion event.

“It is one of our favorite moments, because when we presented our collection the whole crowd stood up and clapped for us.”

From the concrete jungle to the lapping waves of Dubai’s Port Mina Rashid, Saidi said the sisters’ decision to take part in AFW was partly motivated by the desire to “help our brand be recognized in that region of the world.”

On Thursday night, models took to the catwalk in FLLUMAE’s signature mix of fringed pants and dresses, gorgeous floral embellishments and bright mix of candy colors — and the crowd lapped it up.

“It is high, mainstream fashion and it caters to women of faith — and not just women of faith, but any woman. You don’t have to be a woman of faith to wear our clothing.

“If you are a modest-clothing wearer, it’s a plus because this line gives you stuff to wear that is fully lined and (you can be) fully-dressed in a comfortable way,” Saidi said.


From French to Pakistani artists, London gallery goes global at Art Dubai

Updated 56 min 49 sec ago
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From French to Pakistani artists, London gallery goes global at Art Dubai

  • The Gallery will display works from the École de Paris movement
  • Art by two modern Pakistani artists will be available for viewers too

LONDON: French and immigrant artists working in Paris in the 20th century left an indelible mark on art today — and nowhere is that more visible than at the Grosvenor Gallery booth in Art Dubai.

We may be halfway across the world, but the artists who were part and parcel of the École de Paris movement are being exhibited during the busy fair — the largest art fair in the Middle East that is set to run from March 20-23.

The London-based gallery has chosen to spotlight artists Jean-Michel Atlan (1913-1960), Dia Azzawi (b.1939), Syed Sadequain (1930-1987) and Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (b.1937).

At first glance, you might not see an obvious connection between the four artists from Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran respectively, but all honed their artistic talent in the French capital in the 1950s-80s. They brought their cultural narratives and indigenously produced aesthetics, blending them with the prevailing artistic movements of the day.

Two contemporary artists from Pakistan will also be featured: Rasheed Araeen (b.1935), a pioneer of minimalism inspired by calligraphic forms and Islamic history and a colossal figure in South Asian and Western art, and Mohammad Ali Talpur (b.1976), whose career focus has been calligraphy, abstraction and minimalism.

For Grosvenor Gallery Director Charles Moore, Art Dubai is a “must” in his busy schedule, as he explained to Arab News.

“In addition to Art Dubai itself, which is a cultural highlight, many interesting satellite events have taken root around it. The position of Dubai is fantastic because it’s so easy to get to. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is lovely either,” he said.

He is pleased that this year the Modern and Contemporary section will be shown alongside each other.

“Our stands are back to back, which should ensure more footfall with enthusiasts for both forms coming to a shared space,” he said.

Grosvenor Gallery specialises in South Asian art and Moore described the market as “buoyant,” with particularly strong demand for Indian modernists.

He expects to see a lot of interest in the Pakistani artists at the fair.

“We always find Dubai is a good place to show Pakistani works of art,” he concluded.