Arab designers are no wall flowers when it comes to fashion. Worn by the likes of Beyoncé and J-Lo, the world cannot ignore Middle Eastern designers who are making a mark in the fashion world.
Where many Arab couture designers are spotted on the red carpet, there are some who use their cultural and historical heritage to promote their identity as well as raise awareness about causes that are dear to them.
Using their creativity and brands, these 5 entrepreneurial Arab women go beyond design to reach a much bigger purpose.
Sadeem by Sadeem Alshehail
Saudi Arabian luxury fashion designer, Sadeem Alshehail creates luxe clothing that is made to be classic, versatile and ethically made. She believes that luxury design can be environmentally friendly whilst still being high end and covetable, she states on her website, "When you say ‘ethical fashion’, you think tie-dye prints and hemp fabrics. I want to make luxury ethical."
Alshehail contributes to the environment by ensuring her collections are earth friendly and made using ethical means.
Sarah’s Bag – Sarah Beydoun
Sarah Beydoun is best known for her coveted purse brand, Sarah’s Bag. The Lebanese accessories designer embraces corporate social responsibility and employs underprivileged women who have been in prison and don’t know where to turn, and teaches them artisanal crafting skills.
The brand, which is sold on luxury e-commerce sites including The Modist and Ounass, is described as "one-of-a-kind luxury handcrafted bags and accessories that empower both the women who make them and the women who wear them."
For The Love Of Syria – Dania Haffar and Dima Mahjoub
Known for their iconic “souria” gold cuff, Dania Haffar and Dima Mahjoub hope to make a difference by using their jewelry brand, For the Love of Syria. With every purchase made, an amount of the profit made from a sale goes to various charities in Syria and Lebanon. Through their designs, the duo convey their culture and love for their home country.
Dumye – Sahar Wehbe
A doll with a difference. Sahar Wehbe is the brains behind her children’s doll brand, Dumye. Each doll is handmade and the designer also sells doll sets which allow the buyer to create their own doll.
Each doll purchased from Dumye allows Sahar to gift one of her creations to a child who is underprivileged or is an orphan and further allows these children to experience the joy of making their own doll at her workshop.
She advocates fashion and female empowerment through her eponymous label, Nour Najem from which her pioneering fashion creations led her to achieve the Dubai Fashion Prize.
Not only does Najem work with her own label, she also has a non-profit organization, Kenzah, from which her goals are to protect the rare cultural crafts of the Arab world and educate disadvantaged women on them so that they can be passed down as well as sustain them financially.