Meet Bazza Alzouman, who designs red-carpet fashion for real women

Kuwait-based label has been worn by Maya Diab, Mai Omar and Huda Kuttan. (Supplied)
Updated 06 August 2019

Meet Bazza Alzouman, who designs red-carpet fashion for real women

DUBAI: Kuwait-based Bazza Alzouman, who designs red-carpet evening wear for real women, is a designer every Arab fashion girl should have her eyes on. She started her eponymous label in 2014 and has completed three trunk shows with Moda Operandi, the online luxury retailer known for discovering new labels. 

Alzouman has dressed Maya Diab, Mai Omar and Huda Kuttan, who have very different body types yet were able to find a red-carpet dress that works for them.

“It's so important to me that evening wear is wearable,” the designer said. “I always design with the client in mind and consider their comfort just as much as I consider the actual design. Clothes are meant to be worn by real people, and inclusivity … is really a core value of ours.” 

Alzouman finds clever ways to flatter – be it through illusion sleeves, ruching around the tummy area or the clever placement of a ruffle. Born in South Carolina, the 35-year-old Alzouman worked for the New York-based evening wear designer Naeem Khan before starting her studio in Kuwait City’s Shamiya. 

It’s the combination of these two cultures that has resulted in her signature style. “I think the colors and simplicity and minimalism comes from my US background in design and the time I spent there growing up,” the designer explained. “The experimenting and asymmetry and volume have a lot to do with my Arab side.”

Her Fall/Winter 2019 collection will soon be available in Riyadh’s Blank Boutique and directly through her showroom in Kuwait City. The 27-piece collection includes floor-grazing dresses that flare out with dramatic tulle trains. And every piece uses the finest of fabrics, be it silk, crepe, chiffon or tulle. “The fabrics are all sourced international, primarily from New York, Paris, and Italy,” Alzouman said. 

Despite this, it is still very much a “Made in the Middle East” brand. “We design, sample and produce all in-house in our studio located in Kuwait City,” Alzouman said.  

Her Autumn/Winter 2019 collection is based on the duality of women. Flamboyant yet effortless, it is her own dual approach to design that has made this Kuwaiti designer one to watch.

Plastic particles in drinking water present ‘low’ risk — World Health Organization

Updated 22 August 2019

Plastic particles in drinking water present ‘low’ risk — World Health Organization

  • WHO issues first report on microplastics in drinking water
  • Reassures consumers that risk is low, but says more study needed
GENEVA: Microplastics contained in drinking water pose a “low” risk to human health at current levels, but more research is needed to reassure consumers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Studies over the past year on plastic particles detected in tap and bottled water have sparked public concerns but the limited data appears reassuring, the UN agency said its first report on potential health risks associated with ingestion.
Microplastics enter drinking water sources mainly through run-off and wastewater effluent, the WHO said. Evidence shows that microplastics found in some bottled water seem to be at least partly due to the bottling process and/or packaging such as plastic caps, it said.
“The headline message is to reassure drinking water consumers around the world, that based on this assessment, our assessment of the risk is that it is low,” Bruce Gordon of the WHO’s department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health, told a briefing.
The WHO did not recommended routine monitoring for microplastics in drinking water. But research should focus on issues including what happens to chemical additives in the particles once they enter the gastrointestinal tract, it said.
The majority of plastic particles in water are larger than 150 micrometers in diameter and are excreted from the body, while “smaller particles are more likely to cross the gut wall and reach other tissues,” it said.
Health concerns have centered around smaller particles, said Jennifer De France, a WHO technical expert and one of the report’s authors.
“For these smallest size particles, where there is really limited evidence, we need know more about what is being absorbed, the distribution and their impacts,” she said.
More research is needed into risks from microplastics exposure throughout the environment — “in our drinking water, air and food,” she added.
Alice Horton, a microplastics researcher at Britain’s National Oceanography Center, said in a statement on the WHO’s findings: “There are no data available to show that microplastics pose a hazard to human health, however this does not necessarily mean that they are harmless.”
“It is important to put concerns about exposure to microplastics from drinking water into context: we are widely exposed to microplastics in our daily lives via a wide number of sources, of which drinking water is just one.”
Plastic pollution is so widespread in the environment that you may be ingesting five grams a week, the equivalent of eating a credit card, a study commissioned by the environmental charity WWF International said in June. That study said the largest source of plastic ingestion was drinking water, but another major source was shellfish.
The biggest overall health threat in water is from microbial pathogens — including from human and livestock waste entering water sources — that cause deadly diarrheal disease, especially in poor countries lacking water treatment systems, the WHO said.
Some 2 billion people drink water contaminated with faeces, causing nearly 1 million deaths annually, Gordon said, adding: “That has got to be the focus of regulators around the world.”