Global brands team up with Middle Eastern artists for Ramadan

Featuring calligraphy, coffee and stars, these unique products are designed to embrace the spirit of the holy month

Yasmin Al Mulla has designed a limited-edition Matcha set for Japanese company Shiseido. Photo: Shiseido
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International brands are embracing the spirit of Ramadan at the grassroots level by commissioning regional artists to create one-off artworks.

From London department store Harrods working with Egyptian artist Diaa Allam to adidas teaming up with Lebanese illustrator Nourie Flayhan for a capsule collection, here are some of the latest collaborations now on sale.


Arguably one of the most famous department stores in the world, Harrods has commissioned Diaa Allam —who was born and raised in the UAE — to create a unique piece of calligraphy artwork with white and purple lettering on a gold background that reads “Ramadan Mubarak”.

Allam, who is the founder of Na7t Designs, has had his calligraphy featured extensively across the region, from murals for Al Dar Properties and artwork made for Dubai Mall, to the flagpole in Ajman. He also created the artwork for the Ousha and The Moon show held at Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai, and has created exclusive packaging for the French houses of Dior and Cartier.

With a sweeping style of lettering, images are often created out of the calligraphy. This collaboration with Harrods is made more meaningful because even though Harrods has no physical presence in the region — although it offers online shopping — the store has chosen to mark the importance of Ramadan out of respect for its Arab customers.


Taking the theme of gold, Swiss jewellery house Piaget gave Emirati print designer Huda Al Nuaimi the task of creating exclusive prints for Ramadan. Piaget is one of the few jewellers to have its own gold foundry, and Al Nuaimi used the importance of the precious metal as the inspiration behind her designs.

Looking to the history of the house that began in La Cote-aux-Fees in 1941, Al Nuaimi has created two delicate drawings — one with tall poppies and flowers, and the other as a wider landscape, featuring a house, with a sun and moon. These designs have been transposed on to a special-edition set of six coffee cups, in gold on white.


The sportswear house has teamed up with Rex Chouk, an illustrator from Saudi Arabia. Asked to capture the spirit of Ramadan in a single drawing, Chouk selected the soft blues, pale greens, apricots and lilac of sunrise and sunset for the image, which shows various Ramadan rituals enjoyed across the Gulf.

Distinctive buildings from the region feature as the backdrop, including the Kingdom Centre of Riyadh, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the twin towers of the Bahrain World Trade Centre the blue and white forms of the Kuwait Towers.

Elsewhere in the playful image, people can be seen enjoying iftar, drinking coffee and looking for the moon through a telescope. Front and centre is Lacoste's crocodile, its motif since 1952, dressed in a gold polo shirt and white kandura.

The illustration has been made into limited-edition patches, available at Dubai Mall, Vendome Mall Qatar, Nakheel Mall Riyadh and Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, as well as into a short video on social media.


Another sports brand embracing the spirit of Ramadan is adidas, which has teamed up with Lebanese illustrator and storyteller Flayhan, who has worked with the likes of Gucci, Carolina Herrera and Kiehl’s.

Her capsule collection for adidas comprises two illustrations. Featuring a hand with henna-dipped fingers, a flying falcon, a date palm surrounded by stars, a sun with a seeing eye and a crescent moon, one image appears on the back of T-shirts and hoodies, while a second, smaller version sits in the front.

In addition to working with adidas, Flayhan has also created a design that will feature on Costa's coffee cups this month. It features a cup of coffee surrounded by a crescent moon and stars, in blue and gold.


The Japanese cosmetic company has called on Emirati artist Yasmin Al Mulla to design a matcha set, included in two limited-edition Ramadan sets.

As the designer behind the UAE women's abaya and modestwear brand YNM, Al Mulla is known for her sleek minimalist style and has applied that pared-back methodology to the project with Shiseido.

For Ramadan, she was asked to add her designs to a matcha set — which includes a porcelain cup, whisk, bamboo scoop and organic, ceremonial matcha. The set comes with either a purchase of the Shiseido Ramadan Exclusive Premium Serum Set or Ramadan Exclusive Premium Cream set. As well as flowing gold lines decorating the cup, Al Mulla also designed the presentation box and its linear motif.

Updated: March 29, 2023, 5:33 AM