LONDON: While a range of designers and retailers have rolled out special capsule collections this year, All Things Mochi may take the cake for its full embrace of the Ramadan spirit.
The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses. This year’s Ramadan collection is no exception, but a local spin makes it particularly appropriate for the holy month — launched in collaboration with the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, the line features “Talli” braiding, a traditional brocading technique that has been used to adorn Emirati dresses for centuries.
While Emirati craftswomen have passed on this ancient weaving knowledge through the generations, the Mochi Ramadan collection will fit comfortably in modern wardrobes: Billowy kaftans and ankle-skimming dresses are patterned with printed and embroidered hands. Inspired by henna, another embellishment with a long local history, the line embodies a casual, bohemian vibe. Patterned with the collection’s token henna hands, the Maliha dress — with a slight crew neck and three-quarter-length sleeves — would be equally perfect for a stroll in Los Angeles or an iftar gathering in Jeddah. If blushed and earthy ochre tones dominate the line, bold-hued bracelets, chokers and earrings are the perfect complements to an otherwise subtle and chic Ramadan collection.
The entire look book is at once modern and modest — a full embrace of Emirati femininity and history with easy, loose silhouettes.
“I am really happy with how this collection developed, it really represents everything my brand stands for (and) makes clear reference to the culture I am surrounded by day in day out,” said All Things Mochi founder Ayah Tabari. “It strongly recognizes the talent that is among us in the region and the communities which are helping to sustain their craft.”
But the line is far more than a historical homage: Each design was handwoven by one of 36 female artisans at the Bidwa Development Program Center in Sharjah in an initiative by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which helps connect local craftswomen with global designers eager to incorporate their unique intricate embellishments in their designs.
With nimble, hennaed fingers, women at the Sharjah-based center transform spools of thread into Mochi’s luxe frocks.
“The council’s Bidwa Social Development Program, in Dibba Al-Hisn in Sharjah, enables craftswomen to generate a sustainable source of income and achieve professional and social empowerment through their craft,” explains Reem bin Karam, director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment in a released statement.
Mochi has championed the skills of local craftswomen across the globe and Tabari has previously worked with female artisans from Morocco to Uzbekistan. Originally from Palestine, Tabari insists upon creating designs that are both culturally authentic and befitting of the jet-set fashionistas she counts among her clientele. Her approach has generated a cult following — everyone from Georgia Jagger to Queen Rania of Jordan have donned the duds. Earlier this year, Tabari presented a Mexico-inspired collection at New York Fashion Week.
But the local roots and story behind the 2018 Ramadan collection make it particularly appropriate for the season. Bridging the gap between glossy modern malls and homespun Emirati heritage, the line is a festive celebration of both the old and the new.