From Arab Fashion Week in Dubai to Abu Dhabi Fashion Days, the UAE is a hub for brilliant fashion designers, many of whom you’ve probably heard of already. Here’s a list of emerging UAE-based talent that should definitely be on your style radar.
Safiya Abdallah grew up in California and has been designing in Dubai for three years. Along with being the creative director of Dulce by Safiya, a brand worn by the likes of Gwen Stefani, she is also a partner and designer at Lohan by Lindsay Lohan, a modest clothing line being developed by the actress. As one of the top UAE-based fashion designers, she is known for her chic beanies.
“I find the UAE to be a great hub for up-and-coming fashion designers due to the pure fact that there are opportunities here you wouldn’t normally have in other countries that are already well established in the industry, such as Paris, NYC, or London,” she tells Culture Trip. “There are so many opportunities for a small, growing UAE-based brand to expand internationally as there is definitely an interest from the rest of the world. We also have so much at our disposal here in terms of manufacturing and textile options, and that’s why the market keeps growing.”
Latifa Al Gurg named her brand Twisted Roots because of her Emirati-Danish roots. She worked in construction before launching the line in 2012 and is inspired by her travels around the world and her interest in architecture. The loosely fit pieces flatter a woman’s body and the quality fabric ensures that her customers always look stylish.
“The UAE is home to 200 nationalities, creating a uniquely diverse culture of creativity and innovation. There’s an ever increasing number of homegrown designers and online fashion brands embracing fresh trends and perspectives in the fashion industry,” says the designer. “With this, it is no surprise that the UAE is slowly taking on the other fashion capitals of the world, carrying its contemporary take on fashion.”
This contemporary Dubai-based fashion designer created Natasha V to make luxury and glamour accessible to the masses. Using the best fabrics and silhouettes, she makes pieces that withstand the test of time. She has experience working with Stella McCartney and Versace and has also collaborated with top Bollywood stars. Although she is based in Dubai, she has showcased in Istanbul, Rome, Florence and Paris.
“While the UAE has always been very ambitious and accessible to young designers and diverse talent, Dubai particularly is surely escalating to become the world’s next retail capital,” Variava tells Culture Trip. “The e-commerce industry, too, has picked up great pace because of fresh local talent and regional designers, along with several multi-brand stores such as Namshi and Sivvi. I think it was a great time [for me] to have found a small place in the large heart of the UAE fashion industry.”
Hailing from the Philippines, Michael Cinco launched his label in 2003. The UAE-based fashion designer is famous for dressing Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, as well as huge stars such as Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Beyonce. Known for his extravagant dresses, his non-celebrity clientele are often keen to have him design their dream wedding gowns.
Amato Couture by Furne One has been seen on Ariana Grande, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry, to name just a few. The brand name means ‘beloved’ in Italian and it certainly lives up to its name. While the store’s window display attracts onlookers in the Dubai Design District, this UAE-based fashion designer is known globally and has showcased at the fashion weeks in London, Los Angeles and Miami. The brand is recognisable for its East-meets-West fairy tale-style pieces.
This Emirati designer started Azzalia a year ago and has already exhibited her creations across the region. However, she truly stepped onto the global stage when she showed her work at London Fashion Week after being selected by a panel of judges that included the world-famous Reem Acra. There are three fashion lines – Daisy, Lily and Iris – under her brand, which represent her casual, mid-market and couture offerings.
A real-life princess, this fashion designer is the daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. Madiyah Al Sharqi‘s celebrity following includes Alessandra Ambrosio, Kim Kardashian and Karolina Kurkova, and she has showcased at the prestigious Fashion Forward Dubai. This royal likes to create evening wear pieces with an edge.
Based in the UAE, the Egyptian designer focuses on liberating people through wearable art and launched her ready-to-wear label in 2014 . THREE FIFTY NINE represents something completely new for the region. Marwa was also picked by Design for Dubai to showcase her work at Dubai Shopping Festival’s Market Outside the Box.
Originally from Sudan, the La’leenah designer uses her passion for fashion and art to create eye catching designs using traditional Sudanese fabric for her luxurious ready-to-wear to pieces.
Maison Nabooda is a demi-couture brand that’s all about producing unique, artistic and feminine designs while maintaining elegance. Created for the contemporary woman, the brand prides itself on using clever fabric manipulation and sophisticated colour palettes.