Draped in Designer: The Dubai-based Fashion houses you should look out for

Draped in Designer: The Dubai-based Fashion houses you should look out for

Quickly emerging into one of the new fashion capitals of the Middle East, Dubai’s fashion scene has been making waves internationally, boasting a number of up-and-coming designers. The epicentre of glamour and luxury, it’s no wonder that Dubai is home to a multi-billion-dollar fashion industry. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, much like its fashion industry which effortlessly blends its cultural origins with contemporary designs. Here are seven Dubai-based designers that are breaking barriers, and setting the fashion scene ablaze with their innovative labels that honour their Arab roots.

1.Rami Al Ali

This Syrian-born couture designer’s fascination for fashion started with his mother’s turquoise silk dress. Now his eponymous brand is one of the most revered in the Middle East. He first opened his flagship store in Dubai in 2001 and earned his fame by dressing Emirati royalty. He caught his big break in 2009 when he inaugurated his Spring/Summer collection at Rome’s AltaRoma couture week  Known for his daring yet sophisticated designs, Rami specialises in bridal couture and ultra-feminine evening gowns. His craftsmanship and ingenuity have landed him on the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, boasting A-list celebrity clientele including Beyonce, Aishwarya Rai, Chanel Iman, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell and many more.

2. Nafsika Skourti

Nafsika Skourti is a half-Greek half-Jordanian womenswear designer known for her unconventional fusion of streetwear and couture fashion. The label, since its creation in 2014, has gained much recognition, being featured in the likes of i-D, W Magazine, Wonderland Magazine, Dazed and Vogue. Her innovative creations led her to the finals of the 2015 Dubai Design Fashion Council’s Style Arabia Prize, and the honour of dressing HRH Queen Rania of Jordan. Her brand is stocked at department stores across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

3. Bouguessa

Minimalist designs, straight abaya-esque silhouettes, and crisp fabrics delineate this menswear-inspired brand. Faiza Bougessa cleverly reinvents the elegance of the traditional abaya to create contemporary, sophisticated designs. Based in her studio in Dubai Design District, her collections are an ode to strong women, bringing her on the radar of clientele such as Beyonce, and Princess Deena Al Jouhani. Bouguessa bridges the gap between Western and Eastern fashion and revolutionises modest fashion for women of all backgrounds.

4. Mochi

The brainchild of Palestinian-born designer Ayah Tabari, All Things Mochi is known for its vibrant and eclectic ethnic designs. Established in 2013, this Dubai-based company sources inspiration from traditional craftsmanship from different cultures across the world, creating whimsical pieces mainly from organic linen printed in Mumbai. A part of the brand’s income goes to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund to provide medical support and humanitarian care for children across the Middle East who are affected by war and conflict. Although Tabari’s creations are sold through online shops and their website, all Mochi pieces are in limited stock, and they fly off the shelves, so better pre-order your items before they sell out!

5. L’Afshar

Drawing inspiration from the Art Deco movement, Iranian-born designer Lilian Afshar seamlessly blends harsh, symmetrical shapes with chic material to create feminine and elegant handcrafted handbags. Worn by the likes of Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Celine Dion, HRH Queen Rania of Jordan, and more. L’Afshar bags are characterised by their beautiful marble and resin finish, box silhouettes, and minimalist designs. Since its launch at the 2015 Paris Fashion Week, this Dubai-based label has come a long way despite being a young brand. As part of their sustainability initiative, all handbags are made to order and recycle leftover materials to create new pieces.

6. House of Nomad

A collaboration between Egyptian-born Salah Al-Banna and Ahmed El-Sayed who is Emirati, House of Nomad is an homage to their Arab heritage and love of travel. Their first line used single tones and sleek silhouettes that easily drape on the body with an ethnic twist, to create wearable, unisex clothing that can easily be transformed from a day look to a night look. The brand name “House of Nomad” has an interesting backstory- the creators say that nomad means a wanderer not confined to geographical boundaries, much like the original inhabitants of Dubai who were transient dwellers. The label draws inspiration from Dubai’s identity as a melting pot of cultures.

7. Atelier Zuhra

Opulent gowns, meticulously hand-worked embroidery, embellishments and feathers make up a signature Zuhra piece. Founded by Omani designer Mousa Al Awfi, the first Zuhra boutique opened in Dubai, and their evening gowns caught the eye of regional fashion enthusiasts. Soon their ingenuity and elaborate designs caught the eye of international platforms and came to be worn by A-listers like Christina Aguilera, Nicole Scherzinger, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor. The prestigious fashion house is named after Al Awfi’s mother and was handed down to her daughter, the current CEO Rayan Al Sulaimani. Each piece is unique, an epitome of luxury and glamour.  

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