Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward

Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward
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Utruj is a Jeddah-based design house.
Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward
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Utruj wowed crowds with its latest collection.
Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward
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Sadeem Al-Shehail’s collection has a nautical theme.
Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward
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Saudi designer Sadeem Al-Shehail showed off her latest collection at the event.
Updated 26 October 2017

Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward

Meet the designers who are taking Mideast fashion forward

Dubai Design District is hosting the 10th annual Fashion Forward (FFWD) showcase in the emirate, a celebration featuring runway shows, presentations, exhibitions, talks, shopping, music and film. Previously invite-only, the event — which runs Oct. 26 to 28 — is now open to all fashion lovers in the region.
One designer who will be showcasing his collection is Beirut-based Hussein Bazaza, who felt a desire for artistic expression from an early age. Having studied in Paris and with Elie Saab in Lebanon, Bazaza created his first collection in 2012. Through his designs, and with “every cut,” he works to reflect “a different story, a personal emotion that creates a one-of-a-kind experience. (It is) fashion with a soul.”
The story behind Bazaza’s SS18 collection revolves around “the battle between all five personas that make up one’s ultimate character, and in the end, the winner dominates it.” Composed of 40 looks in total, each of our five characters walk the runway in eight looks. The primary color is pink, but there are touches of different hues obvious in every character.
The collection is meant to be a journey. As Bazaza explains: “You can spot shimmering silvers at first, light pinks appear next, striking reds follow, then strong blacks make an entrance and, finally, vibrant golds end the show.”
Saudi designer Sadeem Al-Shehail is also at FFWD with SADEEM, a pret-a-couture brand. Designed for a woman “who is confident, elegant and sophisticated, a woman who is looking for timeless, well-made and versatile attire,” Al-Shehail’s collection is based on sustainable design and ethical practices. To that end, she only collaborates with companies that share the same principles.
Al-Shehail’s collection “NAUTICAL by Sadeem” cultivates a “luxury wardrobe that caters for a contemporary woman on a summer holiday.” Inspired by sailor suits, seashell shapes and the glamorous yachting lifestyle, the collection offers timeless silhouettes, from daytime chic to sophisticated soiree looks.
When asked what makes this collection disruptive, Al-Shehail said: “I’m proud that my company produces a sustainable and eco-friendly line, and all fabrics used are certified non-toxic materials made in Japan. Also, the garments were ethically constructed in Dubai’s very own Design District.”
Utruj, led by creative director Laila Abduljawad, is a design house based in Jeddah. The brand is named after a type of citrus fruit that is both bitter and sweet. Utruj espouses a new vision of contemporary modest wear that women today can truly identify with, and with Abduljawad at the helm, the brand can look forward to many more years of redefining design.
Utruj’s collection is called “Authentic Structure,” and it “depicts stories that merge imagination with reality. Each piece in the collection is a visual representation of a social construct — the structures reflect our societies and reflect ourselves as Middle Eastern.”
The collection’s focus is on the intricate shapes of traditional forms of art and architecture that “embellish the rural region of Saudi Arabia. It signifies a confident woman who values her traditions, but who wants to work practically and look modern.”
Showcasing their collections at FFWD is important to all designers as it is an international platform situated at the intersection of East and West. “Dubai has become the fashion capital of the Middle East, and FFWD is always great exposure,” said Bazaza.
“After showcasing many seasons… the FFWD family are dear to my heart. It’s now like a second home to me. They’re very well organized and incredibly professional with the entire process, from the very beginning until even after it ends.”
Al-Shehail said: “I’ve had the privilege of showcasing some of my previous collections in New York and Paris, and I was very happy about the positive feedback I received. But showing my collection in Dubai has had more of an impact. In my experience, emerging designers showing in Europe and the US always struggle to find the perfect agency that can properly represent them, as not many are enthused as the competition is very high. FFWD is the best platform in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s a joy to be part of it.”
The event allows designers to cater to the modern international visionary consumer, and Dubai provides just that platform. “We aim to universalize the abaya, and we want to bridge the gap between the Gulf and the rest of the world — we know that Dubai is a perfect place to push that,” said Abduljawad.
“It’s in the Middle East but has international and Western exposure. We’ve seen that Middle Eastern designers are afraid of the abaya, that it may not be well received. But we’re not afraid, we’re proud, and now — after showing this collection in Paris and Europe and receiving such strong, positive feedback — we can bring this collection back to Dubai.”


Model Shanina Shaik celebrates becoming a homeowner

Model Shanina Shaik celebrates becoming a homeowner
The model moved back to America in February. Instagram
Updated 12 June 2021

Model Shanina Shaik celebrates becoming a homeowner

Model Shanina Shaik celebrates becoming a homeowner

DUBAI: Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik is officially a homeowner. The 30-year-old this week took to her Instagram Stories to share the exciting news that she just purchased a home in Hollywood, California.

She wrote: “I’m officially a homeowner!” alongside a trio of the emoji wearing a party hat and blowing a party horn.

“Thank you @deniserosnerhomes, the best real estate agent,” she captioned an image of herself posing in front of a kitchen island. “If you need a home, this is your gurl (sic),” she added.

Shaik moved back to the US from London, where she spent the majority of quarantine, in February.

Shaik purchased a home in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Instagram

The supermodel, who is of Saudi, Pakistani, Lithuanian and Australian descent, moved to London after more than a decade in the US.

In February, she obtained a visa to enter America, thanks to US Immigration Attorney Carlos Rosas who helped her and made “the unimaginable happen,” according to an Instagram post.

“Congratulations @shaninamshaik on becoming a homeowner — you were a dream to work with and I’m so lucky to call you (a) friend,” wrote Shaik’s real estate agent on Instagram, adding “now let’s get #Choppa back so he and #Penelope can have a playdate,” referring to Shaik’s pet dog who is still in the UK.

It appears that Shaik’s new home is not all the model has to celebrate as the Victoria’s Secret star is finally going to be reunited with her beloved French bulldog after months of trying to bring her furry friend home.

“I had a lot of issues with Choppa’s situation but at the end of the day I found out that Choppa is coming home tomorrow,” said Shaik in a video posted to her Stories. “And you’re going to see a really, really happy woman. I’m going to cry my eyes out when I see him so I’m going to keep you guys posted on that video,” she added.

Back in May, the part-Arab model took to social media to ask fans to help reunite her with her pet dog who was unable to undertake the trip with her across the Atlantic for reasons unknown.

She asked if any of her friends or followers are traveling to the US from the UK and would be able to help return her pet pooch home.

The model regularly takes to social media to gush about her dog and even set up an Instagram account for her canine companion, which she has had for several years.


What We Are Buying Today: Kerta

What We Are Buying Today: Kerta
Photo/Supplied
Updated 12 June 2021

What We Are Buying Today: Kerta

What We Are Buying Today: Kerta
  • The brand provides both leather and vegan products to cater for all audiences

Kerta is a Saudi fashion house founded to provide customers region-wide access to the talent and designs available in the Kingdom.
It is influenced by the old and the new, a theme which inspired the name of the company.
Kerta is the word grandmothers used in the past to refer to their dresses — to describe beautifully detailed designs with a pinched waist made with wonderful fabrics. Graceful and elegant, these grandmothers were the epitome of perfectly poised ladies, combining beauty and resilience.
As times change and fashion adapts, Kerta aims to offer customers the chance to live up to this love of elegance with eight Saudi designers focusing on a variety of collections including abayas, shoes, jewelry, leather products and accessories.
The brand provides both leather and vegan products to cater for all audiences.
One of the most on-trend items that Kerta has designed, and a best-seller, is classic leather shoes with medium heels — bold, elegant and suitable to wear for day-to-day errands, the office or even a social event — making for a professional yet fashionable look.
For more information, visit: www.shopkerta.com


Arab athletes Dareen Barbar, Asma Elbadawi star in new Adidas campaign

Arab athletes Dareen Barbar, Asma Elbadawi star in new Adidas campaign
Updated 11 June 2021

Arab athletes Dareen Barbar, Asma Elbadawi star in new Adidas campaign

Arab athletes Dareen Barbar, Asma Elbadawi star in new Adidas campaign

DUBAI: Lebanese athlete Dareen Barbar and Sudanese-British basketball player Asma Elbadawi are the stars of a new campaign from German sportswear giant Adidas, “Beyond the Surface,” for full-coverage women’s swimwear.

Released on Thursday, the 18-piece collection is designed for women who prefer to cover up when swimming.

According to a released statement, Elbadawi said: “I am incredibly proud to support a campaign that will remove barriers for women across the world to enjoy swimming.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by adidas MENA (@adidasmena)

The multi-piece collection includes swimsuits that offer coverage from neck to ankle. They feature press studs that connect the top to the trousers to offer an adjustable fit and prevent movement of the swimwear in and out of the water.

The range, which comes in black, purple and burgundy, also feature thumb holes in the sleeves for optimized fit. The sets also come with a swim hijab with an adjustable inner cap to prevent it from slipping whilst swimming.

“At Adidas we believe that nobody should be prevented from enjoying the benefits of being in and around the water,” said Sybille Baumann, senior product manager at Adidas swimwear. “We are constantly looking at ways to diversify our product offering for all women and our full-cover swimwear collection is rooted in that mentality.”


Carolina Herrera partners with regional influencers for exclusive collection

Carolina Herrera partners with regional influencers for exclusive collection
Updated 10 June 2021

Carolina Herrera partners with regional influencers for exclusive collection

Carolina Herrera partners with regional influencers for exclusive collection

DUBAI: Regional it-girls Hala Abdallah and Alanoud Badr from Saudi Arabia and Nathalie Fanj from Lebanon are the stars of US luxury fashion house Carolina Herrera’s latest beauty campaign.

Released on Thursday, the video features the three social media influencers presenting the brand’s customizable ready-to-wear makeup line.

Shot in Dubai, the campaign introduces an exclusive collection including lipsticks, face compacts, lip liquids, and mini tints for customers in the Middle East.

The collection also features accessories, key chains, and charms that give the products a twist to the brand’s iconic codes.

The new items have been developed by the Venezuelan-American fashion designer Carolina Herrera in collaboration with the fashion house’s creative director Wes Gordon and makeup consultant Lauren Parsons. 

Herrera said: “Traditionally, makeup is something that you keep out of sight whether on your bathroom shelf or in your vanity pouch. But it’s such a personal form of expression, why shouldn’t you wear it? Literally. We wanted to give women an opportunity to wear their make-up like a piece of fabulous jewelry.”

Parsons said: “From the start of our collaboration, the main focus was to create a makeup line of modern, fresh textures and colors that would suit everyone.”


THE BREAKDOWN: Lebanese designer Nada Debs discusses ‘Keeping it Together bowl’

THE BREAKDOWN: Lebanese designer Nada Debs discusses ‘Keeping it Together bowl’
Updated 10 June 2021

THE BREAKDOWN: Lebanese designer Nada Debs discusses ‘Keeping it Together bowl’

THE BREAKDOWN: Lebanese designer Nada Debs discusses ‘Keeping it Together bowl’
  • The Lebanese designer discusses her latest work, made of glass from the Beirut Port explosion and showcased in May at the Menart Fair in Paris

DUBAI: The day after the August 4 explosion, we immediately started working on the renovation of the studio. It was a crazy week of cleansing and I felt so responsible. I know there are a lot of designers but I was one of the first that started in Lebanon. I feel like I’ve paved the way for a lot of young designers. If I don’t stand up and show that we’re strong, it’s not going to reflect well. It was a calling, like I had to do it.

Debs kept aside some of the broken glass and decided to make a collection called “Keeping it Together.” (Supplied)

We kept aside some of the broken glass and we decided to make a collection called “Keeping it Together,” because we needed to keep it together — both emotionally and mentally. We were very aware of other designers who were criticized for using glass. First of all, I think they did it too early in the game. We were still very sensitive to the situation. Secondly, I think the way they communicated it was probably not the correct way. In our case, we were really hesitant. We decided to sell it only on the condition that all the proceeds can be used to support the crafting industry in Lebanon.

We’ve worked a lot with resin from 15 years ago and we gathered so much glass. That’s the memory of what we have from the blast — the sound of glass. I thought ‘Let’s try to take the glass, put it in resin, and see how it looks.’ We were using resin to bring the glass together, which is kind of like upcycling. So instead of melting the glass and using up a lot more energy, we can actually just bring these glass pieces together and create a functional object.

Debs’ latest work was showcased in May at the Menart Fair in Paris. (Supplied)

It’s a very complicated process. We first had to create a mold with a piece of wood that looked like the bowl. We had to make it into silicon and then we had to pour the glass and the resign together very slowly in steps. If we did it too fast, the resin could have cracked. It wasn’t easy to create.

It’s about turning pain into hope. What we experienced was painful, but then when you put it together, it just gives you hope. We can reconnect, reuse, recycle and stand on our feet again.