My UAE: Fashion designer Latifa Al Gurg will make sure you travel in style

Latifa Al Gurg, an electrical engineer, just couldn't find comfortable and matching clothes to travel in. So she decided to make them.

Al Gurg founded Twisted Roots after struggling to find suitable travel wear. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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When Latifa Al Gurg graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a degree in electrical engineering, the last thing on her mind was a venture into fashion design.

But in 2012, Al Gurg did just that when she launched her label, Twisted Roots. “I found myself struggling to find suitable clothes to travel with that were coordinated and of a certain quality,” says the 34-year-old. “From there the idea began, I went on to study what would make this concept recognisable, and one thing led to another.”

Al Gurg, who grew up in Dubai, says that from a young age her family fostered a sense of curiosity in her, something she’s appreciative of now.

“I wouldn’t say I always had an interest in fashion, but design has always been important to me, my father instilled in me a large appreciation of architecture,” she says. “I would describe myself as more of a problem-­solver than a creative type.”

Al Gurg calls her label a one-stop shop for women’s travel needs, “a place where you can pick up a few tops, a couple of trousers, a jacket or two and matching scarves and be ready to go”.

While Twisted Roots is a diversion from her engineering career path, the mum of three says she is proud of what she has achieved and plans on making a name for herself outside the UAE. “I’m proud ... but, of course, we still need to grow. Our short-term goals are to expand into the GCC, and hopefully internationally.”

As for Al Gurg’s personal style, she describes it as “elegant with an edge”.

When not creating new designs, Al Gurg spends time with her family. “I also have a passion for travelling and exploring new places. [My inspiration] comes from a country or a city, then I usually dissect the city or country into culture, nature, costume, food and architecture.”

The one piece of advice she has for others with a similar dream is “take your time, plan wisely and always remember that life is about the journey, not the end”.

What are the five things you never leave home without?

Phone, kids, my notebook, pen and some water.

What is your favourite place to visit or spend time in the UAE and why?

The beach. I love the water and the peace that it brings.

Where is your favourite place to travel to and why?

I love exploring new places and would go nearly anywhere. Having said that, Denmark holds a special place in my heart and my dream is to one day visit Antarctica.

What is your favourite film and why?

My childhood role model was Mary Poppins because of how she could handle every situation. So I would say, Mary Poppins.

What is your favourite label to wear right now (besides your own) and why?

Right now I love Maje: it’s more of a casual, everyday style. I’m quite eclectic with the styles that I like, so I’ll fall in love with something very glamorous one day and something very homey the next and then try to draw a connection between the two.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given and by who?

My parents raised me to enjoy the ride and explore my journey to growth, and I think that is what is dearest to me.

What’s the one song that you have on repeat at the moment? What do you like about it?

Phillip Phillips – Home. It's one of my all-time favourites. It always brings a smile to my face.

What type of car do you drive and what does it say about you?

I drive a BMW X5. I think the main thing it says about me is that I like SUVs because I can pile everything in.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

To be at two places at once to get more things done.