One of the many changes sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is a favouring of all things local. Uncertainty over jobs and money has led many to re-evaluate where and how they spend their money. Now faced with a conscious choice, more and more paying customers prefer to invest in independent and home-grown creatives and companies.
Department store Bloomingdale’s in The Dubai Mall is one player that is paving the way with its Love Local project, by dedicating the month of October to showcasing regional designers. The initiative runs until Wednesday, October 28, and turns the spotlight on some of the best fashion, accessories and interior designers from around the region.
The Love Local pop-up, available both in-store and online, encompasses 14 such talents. Shoppers can familiarise themselves with brands such as Bambah, the women’s label that was born of a love of vintage. What began life as an upscale thrift store in Dubai, has blossomed into a full-fledged label that takes its cues from eras past, with nostalgic elements such as gingham and florals updated into polished dresses and wraps.
Elsewhere, find the occasion gowns of Kuwaiti Bazza Alzouman, in tones of burnished ochre and pewter. The full-length gowns come with necklines that veer from off-the-shoulder and single-sleeved asymmetric to a collared, plunging V.
Included, too, is the women’s offering from Sharjah-London brand Qasimi, helmed by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, the sister of the late Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the brand's founder.
Taking the traditional motifs of nomadic tribes, these airy pieces are shot through with simple stripes, as well as dense geometric patterning. Pared-back shirt dresses with grandad collars come with Bedouin-style tassels, while the city staple trench coat gets a languid makeover with tent stripes, in terracotta and burnt clay.
Serbb, meanwhile, is the brainchild of two Emirati sisters, and specialises in contemporary kaftans, abayas and capes, here in earthy tones of antique silver and dusty sienna. Traditional shapes are updated into high-necked dresses, while mid-calf and button-front capes fall in ripples from the shoulder. The best piece? A high-collared dress in silver that dips in at the waist.
Bouguessa brings its best game for daytime tailoring. A two-tone boxy jacket comes in shades of grey and mocha, while a city anorak is extended to below the knee, and comes in muddy green, with zippered pockets and drawstring hem. A simple poplin shirt becomes a dress, now belted with rounded sleeves that end cuffless, while a masculine double-breasted jacket is shorn into the waist. Putty, chocolate, white and the palest periwinkle blue are the colours of this wearable collection.
More daywear arrives courtesy of Kage, which uses a pretty, cutwork brocade fabric across the collection. It appears in white, as frill-edged shorts and a crisp shirt, and in coral as a halterneck sun dress and a summery cropped top that ties at the midriff.
Cleverly, Love Local is not just about fashion. Also on show is the bag brand Okhtein that hails from Egypt, and is carried by the likes of Anna Della Russo, Beyonce and Gigi Hadid. With its signature element of metal arrows travelling in opposite directions (like the two sisters behind the brand), these beautifully crafted pieces come hard framed in shapes that echo art deco, which in turn, pleasingly echoes Ancient Egypt.
For the home, Sisal brings coffee and tea sets decorated with the timeless patterns of pietra dura inlaid marble, while Lava offers luxurious candles in beautiful scents such as oud rose.