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Arts & Culture

The Dubai designers going global

Mon, February 15, 2021

Here are the homegrown names that are heating up catwalks around the world. Shop the latest styles today.

Here are the homegrown names that are heating up catwalks around the world. Shop the latest styles today.


Arwa Al Banawi

Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi moved to Dubai and started her label in 2015. Her designs shun high-octane glamour and femininity for top-to-toe prints and laidback suit jackets that are at the centre of her signature aesthetic. She’s a go-to for stylists in the region, with her work regularly appearing in campaigns for major brands like Pepsi, and editorial spreads in Vogue Arabia and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. You can shop her latest collection online or at Frame boutique in Dubai Design District.


Alina Anwar

Dubai-based fashion designer Alina Anwar founded her eponymous couture line in 2018 and quickly caught the eye of celebrities and their stylists. Anwar’s designs, which are both feminine and bold, have graced high-profile events and been worn by the likes of Hollywood producer Monella Kaplan and Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor. Anwar sources materials from Paris and Milan to create collections that don't shy away from layered tulle, delicate laces and sophisticated sequins. Shop it all online on the designer's dedicated website.


Madiyah Al Sharqi

The daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, Madiyah Al Sharqi attended the French fashion university Esmod in Dubai and launched her eponymous label soon after graduating. Since then, her brand has climbed the ladder of international fashion with glittering mentions in Vogue Italia, Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar thanks to her whimsical designs. Superstars like Zendaya, Leslie Mann and Nicole Scherzinger have all been caught strutting her retro-touched outfits, making it a noteworthy label to own. Visit Symphony boutique for a curated selection of her pieces or place an order on the designer's website.


Rami Al Ali

Syrian-born haute couture designer Rami Al Ali got his start with fashion houses in the United Arab Emirates before launching his own label in 2000. The celebrity-certified designer creates audacious evening wear, from sculptural dresses with unusual shapes to majestic gowns designed for the red carpet. His fan following is wide and varied, featuring royalty and A-listers from around the world, including Princess Martha Louise of Norway, Giuliana Rancic, Sonam Kapoor and Helen Mirren. Visit the designer's atelier on Al Wasl Road in Jumeirah for an exclusive shopping experience.


Lilian Afshar and Nathalie Trad

When it comes to accessories, Dubai’s designers have mastered putting a Middle Eastern spin on their creations. Taking a note from the city itself, Lilian Afshar and Nathalie Trad are two cult brands that impress with architectural box clutches. L’Afshar’s handmade creations boast a unique use of materials like crushed acrylics and leather fold-over boxes, which have been carried by the likes of Kendall Jenner. Meanwhile, Nathalie Trad uses seashells to create handbags that masquerade as art, attracting distinguished clientele like Nicole Kidman, Claire Foy and Anne Hathaway.

The L'AFSHAR Studio in Al Quoz is open to visitors by appointment only, while Nathalie Trad designs are available to buy online. There are a host of other up-and-coming accessories and jewellery designers to keep your eye on too, so it's worth heading to Dubai Design District to explore new gems from homegrown designers.

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