My UAE: Fashion forward with Rouge Couture founder Sara Al Madani

Sara Al Madani’s success as a designer led to her being selected by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, to join the board of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Rouge Couture founder Sara Al Madani has several other business roles. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Sara Al Madani made her foray into the business world at the age of 15. Since then, the Sharjah resident has been inspiring other women in the UAE.

Al Madani, now 30, says she has always been creative, but her interest in fashion developed over time. “It has been 15 years since the start of my fashion house [Rouge Couture]. I was always attracted to what women wore and had an opinion about it. This is what sparked my interest in designing, which resulted in the creation of my business.”

Rouge Couture came about because she felt the need to change and improve the abaya. “My father taught me the value of working hard for what I want, and this is what made me the person I am today,” she says.

Al Madani’s success as a designer led to her being selected by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin ­Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, to join the board of the Sharjah Chamber of ­Commerce and ­Industry.

“I was very surprised to receive the position, but it has been one of the most honoured roles I have ever undertaken,” she says. “As the youngest board member at the chamber, I am treated equally and am heard and trusted. I have learnt so much and have grown as a person.”

Al Madani says she enjoys juggling this with her business, various other roles in the community and being a mother. “I love multi­tasking and enjoy being busy. I have about 10 roles, including entrepreneurship, government and influencer, and I still have room to take on more responsibility as long as I am productive and it keeps me happy.”

Her next venture is a restaurant that’s due to open soon, while she also finds time to inspire young people. “I love to visit universities and talk to the younger generation. I usually speak about entrepreneurship and the process of starting a business in the safest way,” she says.

She offers the following advice to budding entrepreneurs: ­“Follow your dreams, create your own empire and own your life.”

What’s your favourite travel destination?

Paris, because it’s calm, romantic and beautiful. And Thailand, because it is crazy, fun and loud.

What five things do you always pack in your suitcase?

Make-up, contact lenses, a phone charger, business cards (a businesswoman is constantly at work) and vitamins.

Which fashion designer do you look up to?

Always and forever Alexander McQueen.

What’s your favourite food and favourite restaurant in the UAE?

I love Middle Eastern or Arabic food. My favourite restaurant is Milas at Dubai Mall.

Where do you enjoy spending your leisure time?

Any spa – I love getting massages. And whenever I feel frustrated, I love to walk around in a big furniture store or supermarket – it calms me down.

What’s your favourite movie?

While my favourite film category is horror, The Notebook stole my heart.

What’s your favourite book?

I read and fell in love with The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I really do believe in the law of attraction and energy.

If there was a film made about your life, which celebrity would play you?

I would choose Drew Barrymore.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

‘Negative thought will never give you a positive life,’ by a friend of mine, Fatima Yaman.

Tell us something that people may not know about you?

I collect sneakers.

mhealy@thenational.ae

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