Arab Fashion Week: Emirati designer Lamya Abedin’s new collection an ode to ‘timeless love stories’

One of the two Emirati designers showing at Arab Fashion Week in Dubai this weekend says international collaboration is the way forward for the UAE industry.

In recent years, self-taught Emirati designer Lamya Abedin has been making fashion statements with her modern interpretations of national dress. While her range spans abayas, ready-to-wear and even a baby collection, at Arab Fashion Week this week she will be unveiling a selection of couture evening gowns.

“The collection is called True Love and is an ode to timeless love stories.” she says. “I have put together a luxurious, dreamy assortment of gowns that will appeal to romantic personalities. There will be free-flowing georgettes, blossom prints and lace, interspersed with richer textures such as silks and velvets. Embellishments will include ostrich feathers, decorative lace, double damask weaves and brocade. I will also display an array of bridal dresses, emphasised by flowing shapes, layers of lace, and subtle embellishments and embroidery.”

The collection is feminine and fun – created to have broad ­appeal.

“As with all my collections, this one is quite varied,” says Abedin. “There will be enough choice to suit different personal styles. They are meant for every ­fashion-forward ladies anywhere in the world. Florals and chintz, ruffles and pleats, lace and tulle are just a few of the romantic details I’ve brought out in this latest collection. And I’ve played up the glamour quotient with jacquards and embroidery, to give the girlish romantic charm a more dramatic spin. It’s important to also mention that, of course, all the pieces I’m displaying are unique. That way, no two ladies will have the same dress.”

Abedin founded her label Queen of Spades in 2008, partly out of her passion for fashion and partly out of necessity given the limited number of one-of-a-kind abayas on the market. Since then she has gone on to become one of the first Emirati designers to be stocked at Galeries Lafayette and collaborated with major brands, such as Rolls-Royce, to produce limited-edition collections. Abedin is hopeful that her participation in Arab Fashion Week will point to more global tie-ups and high-­profile commissions.

“Being associated with the event takes my connection with industry stalwarts beyond the catwalk. I’ve been to Milan with the team, exploring the markets, meeting production houses and suppliers – it’s expanded my horizons exponentially,” she says.

“I’ve always been excited to represent my country on global fashion platforms and it’s my pride and joy to style the abaya in a truly universal light. It is not only the exposure of working with international fashion bigwigs, but also getting to meet international buyers and global fashion media, which brings an immense boost to my brand and drives it towards a universal platform. I see this as the beginning of a new chapter in my fashion career.”

Proud of her roots and keen to see Dubai realise its fashion ambitions, Abedin believes the city and the fashion sector have the right road map for success.

“I consider myself extremely fortunate and proud to be from the UAE, which is the fashion hub for the entire Middle East. Institutions and forums such as Dubai Design and Fashion Council and Dubai Design District are doing a lot to organise the fashion industry and connect design, media, manufacturing, retail, international partners and stakeholders.

“The one thing that would make an even bigger effect for local designers like me and change the way we can do business is to have more international collaborations. We need access to more production houses, suppliers, textile fairs and fashion schools within our country instead of travelling across the world to source these things.”

With these things in place, the potential for Abedin and her contemporaries to see their brands flourish at home and abroad is limitless. Having celebrities wear her modern interpretation of traditional wear is also a perk of having her label well positioned, says Abedin.

“I have always been excited and proud to represent my country at global fashion platforms, be it dressing numerous international fashion personalities – most recently Giuliana Rancic, Kimora Lee Simmons and Nicole Richie, to name a few. I also love exploring transnational fashion weeks and it has been my pride and joy to style the abaya in a truly universal light.”

Catch the Queen of Spades show on Saturday, March 19 at 10.30pm

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