Al Gurg founded Twisted Roots after struggling to find suitable travel wear. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Al Gurg founded Twisted Roots after struggling to find suitable travel wear. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

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

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.

Tank warfare

Lt Gen Erik Petersen, deputy chief of programs, US Army, has argued it took a+“three decade holiday” on modernising tanks. 

“There clearly remains a significant armoured heavy ground manoeuvre threat in this world and maintaining a world class armoured force is absolutely vital,” the general said in London last week.

“We are developing next generation capabilities to compete with and deter adversaries to prevent opportunism or miscalculation, and, if necessary, defeat any foe decisively.”


Engine: 3.6-litre V6

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 310hp

Torque: 366Nm

Price: Dh200,000


Chelsea 4 (Mount 18',Werner 44', Hudson-Odoi 49', Havertz 85')

Morecambe 0

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Where the Crawdads Sing

Director: Olivia Newman
Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn
Rating: 2/5

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

The Last White Man

Author: Mohsin Hamid 

192 pages 

Published by: Hamish Hamilton (UK), Riverhead Books (US)

Release date: out now in the US, August 11 (UK)

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

'The Alchemist's Euphoria'

Artist: Kasabian
Label: Columbia
Rating: 3/5

'Manmarziyaan' (Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films)
Director: Anurag Kashyap​​​​​​​
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal​​​​​​​
Rating: 3.5/5

How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

Sam Smith

Where: du Arena, Abu Dhabi

When: Saturday November 24

Rating: 4/5

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines with return fares from Dh1,700. Nashulai Journeys offers tailormade and ready made trips in Africa while Tesfa Tours has a number of different community trekking tours throughout northern Ethiopia. The Ben Abeba Lodge has rooms from Dh228, and champions a programme of re-forestation in the surrounding area.

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands


South Africa:
Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada
Coach: Ottis Gibson

Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Imrul Kayes, Liton Das (wkt), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (wkt), Mustafizur Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed.
Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Baby Driver

Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James

Three and a half stars


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Changing visa rules

For decades the UAE has granted two and three year visas to foreign workers, tied to their current employer. Now that's changing.

Last year, the UAE cabinet also approved providing 10-year visas to foreigners with investments in the UAE of at least Dh10 million, if non-real estate assets account for at least 60 per cent of the total. Investors can bring their spouses and children into the country.

It also approved five-year residency to owners of UAE real estate worth at least 5 million dirhams.

The government also said that leading academics, medical doctors, scientists, engineers and star students would be eligible for similar long-term visas, without the need for financial investments in the country.

The first batch - 20 finalists for the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction.- were awarded in January and more are expected to follow.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE