The UAE is a hub for all things fashion and luxury in the Middle East, and the world at large is beginning to take note. Arab fashion designers have been dressing the likes of Hollywood royalty, including Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez who swear by the likes of regional couturiers such as Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab. That being said, though the UAE hosts flagships for such designers, the country also has an emerging wave of contemporary designers who take global fashion sensibilities and marry them perfectly with their Emirati roots.
These are the top 5 female owned, Emirati labels to covet right now.
IAM MAI is a culmination of simplicity and curiosity. An experimental fashion brand inspired by the environment, architecture and natural materials creating statement pieces that are minimal yet bold. Launched in 2014 by Emirati designer, Mai Al Budoor, IAM MAI juxtaposes unique elements by artistically translating them into contemporary versions of kaftans and abayas. The sole creator behind the brand, Mai, is an Interior Designer by degree from Zayed University.
This year the beloved Emirati brand, ILLUSTRELLA, launches a new line dedicated to redefining everyday glamour known as ILLUSTRELLA Moda. ILLUSTRELLA Moda features a new take on kaftans, abayas and dresses enhanced with unique elements to suit a woman's everyday needs. Founded in 2016 by sisters, Afra, Ahad and Alia Bin Haidar, ILLUSTRELLA is a fusion of the words ‘illustration’ and ‘sorella’. ‘Sorella’ meaning sisters in Italian reflects how the brand honors each of their strengths. Blending three different personalities to chase one dream while merging their backgrounds in architecture and fashion has led them to open doors into a universe catered to high quality, luxurious pieces.
Noora Shawqi epitomizes effortless femininity through clean designs, exquisite craftsmanship and unique styles. Drawing inspiration from her love of travelling, Noora Shawqi’s fine jewelry collections combine cultural references with impeccable quality, creating statement pieces with a timeless aesthetic. Born in Dubai, UAE, Noora’s background emphasizes her passion for jewelry. Noora is certified as a Diamond Graduate from the Gemological Institution of America, she has received a Diamond Grader certification from the International Gemological Institute and has completed a course at L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels.
The vision to create contemporary designs that are culturally conscious yet timeless led to the inception of Serrb. Founded in 2018 by Emirati sisters, Budoor, Noor and Sarah Al Khaja, Serrb is a brand that exudes confidence and defines women supporting each other. Serrb is a brand that showcases an array of abayas, kaftans, capes and dresses designed by Noor, and brought to business by Budoor. Together, the sisters bring out a contemporary brand that emphasises modest styles.
Born to an Emirati father and Danish mother, Latifa AlGurg fuses her diverse and unique cultural background to bring forth a brand that defines classic with a twist. Established in 2014, Twisted Roots is a Dubai based brand that emphasizes affordable luxury through timeless designs. Inspiration stemming from travel, Latifa designs collections that pay tribute to the cultural and natural elements of each city by presenting them with a modern and feminine edge.