Fashion notes: Honing in on home-grown talent

There’s no better way to support local talent than by donning their made-in-the-UAE designs.
UAE-based brand Dinz. Courtesy Dinz
UAE-based brand Dinz. Courtesy Dinz

There’s no better way to support local talent than by donning their made-in-the-UAE designs. And there are quite a few worthy of mention.

If you’re a fan of festival fashion and love to rock colours, a kaftan by Neon Edge is just the thing for you. From bright coral reds to electric cobalt blues, its founder Mona Fares combines traditional silhouettes with intricate lace borders, which can be seen online at On the same festive note, for floral headwear, look no further than stylist Chloe Bosher’s home-grown brand, Dot Your T’s and Cross Your I’s, offering caps, headbands and cute cat-ear headpieces covered in beautiful flowers, sold at beachwear boutique Praias.

For style that’s bold but retains a feminine flair, you’ll love the latest tulle-trimmed maxi skirts and bell-sleeved crop tops by the local brand Dinz, founded by sisters Rima and Dina Zahran, who’ve expanded their brand into homeware accessories, available through their website

For directional fashion that’s ultra unique, look into Reemami, founded by the graphic illustrator Reema Al Banna. Her latest collection portrays women’s empowerment through boxing-glove motifs, and features a fringed skirt made purely from shoelaces, available through The Cartel gallery and boutique in Dubai.

If you’re one of those shoppers who always seems to be on a pattern high, on the lookout for the quirkiest of graphic prints, OTT, stocked at ValleyDez in Dubai, has it covered – from skirts flaunting faces of Audrey Hepburn to ponchos printed with poses by Elizabeth Taylor. For overcharged prints in a more cultural context, FMM by Fatma Al Mulla, known throughout the region for her fun phone cases, has a new line of tops, skirts and reversible kaftans, available at Ush Boutique in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It’s quite possible that the above brands are simply not to your taste. Your sense of style may be more urban and ­fashion-forward in a subtler way. If that’s the case, you’re bound to bond with Ahmed El Sayed and Saleh Al Banna, the men behind House of Nomad, who made a much-talked-about debut at Dubai’s Fashion Forward last month. Their latest collection can be found at The Luxury Arcade in Abu Dhabi. Also noteworthy is the women’s wear label Lili.Aiya, a member of the new Dubai Design District’s “Resid3nt” community. Her tops and tunic dresses combine modesty and comfort with chic appeal and immaculate attention to detail. As well, the up-and-coming streetwear brand Juniors Be Junior, available online through, has luxe loungewear and statement snapback caps on offer. Speaking of snapbacks, check out Mermaid by D, a local label that makes snapbacks embroidered with whimsical “mermaid” text, found at The Fashion Vault in Dubai.

When highlighting local talents, I can hardly leave out the abaya brands, with creations that are often some of the most unique and forward-thinking. For abayas that feature metallic pops, textured fabrics and a fun feminine flounce, see Bleach, at House of Fraser in Abu Dhabi, and for pieces driven by luxe minimalism and inspired by Emirati heritage, discover Anthropology of Design on its website and at Resid3nt pop-ups.

Next time you go for a mall crawl, seek out these UAE-based labels. They’re more appealing than typical high-street finds.

Published: April 30, 2015 04:00 AM


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