The Six: Fashionable footwear from the Middle East

Flatter your feet with these footwear brands. (Shutterstock)
Updated 22 October 2018

The Six: Fashionable footwear from the Middle East

DUBAI: Whether you’re into heels or high tops, these Middle Eastern shoe brands will have something unique to flatter your feet.

Andrea Wazen
Andrea Wazen is a Lebanese shoe designer who creates high quality, handmade footwear for women in Beirut. She just designed her own wedding shoes — white platforms with a slinky strap at the ankle.

Poise Design
Founded by Emma Boutros in Lebanon in 2010, Poise Design creates custom-made footwear for discerning clients.

Nora Aytch
US-Lebanese shoe designer Nora Habbal is the face behind the London-based brand, which is sold in high-end department stores around the world.

Amina Muaddi
Amina Muaddi, a Jordanian-Romanian designer, dreams up her creations in Paris before they are produced in Italy.

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These boots bring all the boys to the yard

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Sultan Al-Darmaki is an Emirati shoe designer known for his elegant yet bold styles. The brand has become a staple in many department stores across the world and is known for its signature origami-style heel.

Darmaki design shoes with staple origami heel. (Darmaki supplied)

Katrine Hanna
Born to an Australian mother and a Lebanese father and raised in Dubai, Hanna launched her eponymous brand in 2017. Her designs are inspired by the concept of combining the surreal with the real.

Halloween treat: Meet the founder of Saudi Arabia’s go-to costume shop

Updated 27 October 2020

Halloween treat: Meet the founder of Saudi Arabia’s go-to costume shop

DUBAI: It is spooky season and Saudi entrepreneur Filwa Al-Hejailan, founder of Kingdom of Costumes, “the first online costume shop in Saudi Arabia,” is getting ready for the festivities. 

When speaking to Arab News, the entrepreneur said that the idea of Kingdom of Costumes came to her in 2013 when she was planning her sister’s 30th Alice in Wonderland-themed birthday party. 

“I found that there was a gap in the market. I realized we didn’t have enough costumes in Riyadh. So, I had to order them all from Amazon UK and US, and it was a stressful and nerve-wrecking process as they weren’t guaranteed to reach us in time,” Al-Hejailan told Arab News. 


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“When I searched the market, I also realized there weren’t any online costume shops in all of GCC except one in the UAE which sold mostly children’s costumes and hardly had a selection of adult costumes,” she added. 

Al-Hejailan launched her website, which sells outfits for children and adults, on her own in October 2013. Now, seven years later, she has a team of five employees — all women.

“I saw that women can do everything that is required,” she said. 


All sizes available!! جميع المقاسات متوفرة

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Kingdom of Costumes, which has now become the local supplier of party garments for Amazon Saudi Arabia, also sells wigs, masks, large angel wings, swimming mermaid tails, cinematic contact lenses, special effects makeup and other accessories.

For this season, Al-Hejailan said angel wings, contact lenses and costumes for Netflix’s “La Casa De Papel” series are the most ordered.   

The business might sound fun to many, but Al-Hejailan said it comes with a lot of challenges that got her thinking of quitting multiple times. 

“The biggest challenge I faced is shipping-related issues, such as cash on delivery and dealing with delays in shipping and customs which have negatively affected the time-sensitive nature of the business,” she said. “I noticed people are in a habit of buying costumes last minute. I’ve been through extremely nerve-wrecking moments for both myself and customers. 

“To be honest, I did consider quitting a few times because of the pressure, but then when I saw how much some customers – such as moms – appreciated and needed Kingdom of Costumes for their children, and how much joy it brought to children, teens and also adults, such rewarding feeling has encouraged me to keep going,” added Al-Hejailan. 

Even though the peak of the business is during Halloween, Al-Hejailan does not consider this a “seasonal business.” 

“It actually operates all year round and caters to many school events, birthdays and other events that are not related to Halloween,” she said.  

Besides Kingdom of Costumes, the entrepreneur also has a home baking business, which she started during the pandemic. She has a culinary degree from Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu.