Why I Want to Support Local Brands.
Discovering the Timeless Elegance of Emirati Fashion Designer Asma Almazroi.
Photographer credit: Karyna Belausava
I’ve probably spent almost half my life working as a fashion and beauty editor, writer, and stylist. Previously, I had worked for a few lifestyle and celebrity magazines in London like Elle, The Sunday Times Style, The Harrods Magazine and OK! magazine. I remember in the early 2000s, I attended my first London Fashion Week. My career led me to view collections on the runway and go backstage at the shows in London, Paris, New York, and Milan. Twice a year, I would write about some of the many fashion and beauty trends of the season. Over the years, I have immersed myself in the fashion industry and learned about upcoming and prominent British, US, South American, Lebanese, Israeli and Asian designers. But I had never seen any GCC (Gulf Corporation Countries), let alone Emirati fashion labels prior to living in the UAE.
When I moved to Dubai in 2015, I began to work for several lifestyle and fashion magazines in the region. During this time, I was introduced to the Arab Fashion scene which I felt was a developing market. I didn’t feel there was enough exposure for some of the new talent around and it was also a market that I was learning to understand more about. Concepts like “Modest Fashion” was something I was not aware of previously. It was only later when I learned that it was a fashion trend in women who would wear less skin-revealing clothes in a way that aligned with her spiritual and stylistic requirements, for reasons of faith, religion, or personal preference.
During the past several years living in Dubai I began to change my sense of style and I would see fashion differently, maybe it was because of age, but maybe it was because my sense of style was evolving with my experiences in life. I married into a Muslim family, my husband is a local Emirati, and we live in the UAE, so modest dressing was my new style. I began to see that this form of ‘modest dressing’ was something that I wanted to explore.
GCC fashion talent is a slow and steady force to be reckoned with. We all know about big international brands, but for me, this blog is my way of supporting local talent or homegrown brands, because if anything this region needs as much support as possible to share more talent around the world. I can’t help but notice the incredible talented local Emirati designers, with their intricate attention to detail, unique elegant style, and quality craftsmanship, from the materials they choose to the bespoke tailored cuts, and slow-fashion approach.
I’ve been quite in awe of several Emirati designers since I have come to live in Dubai. Throughout the coming months, in aid to support local brands, I will be sharing my favourite local and GCC designers, artists and lifestyle brands with you. In the meantime, I’ll start with my latest discovery, Asma Almazroi.
Emirati fashion designer Asma Almazroi first launched in Dubai in 2019. Her latest Summer 2022 collection is a beautiful and feminine line with pastel hues of baby blue, pink, and hot fuchsia mixed with ivory and warm chocolate aesthetics. There are one shoulder designs and strapless dresses worn under abaya-style outerwear for an elegant touch. Asma says, “I was always inspired by our culture and women around me. I wanted to combine fashion and art within the modest taste, with custom-made designs for each woman's unique figure.”
Asma Almazroi’s line is a playful collection. The unique pieces are made from high-end, high-quality materials. She says, “We source our materials from all over the world: Colombia, India, Japan, Indonesia, and Korea. All our pieces are made in our workshop in Dubai to assure the best quality and fit to suit our client's figure.” The tailormade designs even have an added service of complimentary alteration after purchase, which is a very nice touch.
I went a bit crazy online and purchased about 10 of her latest designs because I simply fell in love with the elegant cuts, sculptured designs and rich sophisticated fabrics that could be worn for any glamorous or everyday stylish occasion. The chiffon and silk outerwear are so dreamy, and I love how it creates layering and textures with each look.
Since she launched, she adds, “It’s been a beautiful ongoing learning and inspirational experience working with clients mainly from the UAE, GCC and also clients from different parts of the world.” Well, I’m certainly one to add to that list!
When finding a word to best describe her brand, Asma continues, “I love the word dreamy, because I love when something takes you to another space, especially fashion. You feel like a revived person putting it on and that's the goal; for women to connect with their joy, beauty, and confidence.”
Asma has recently expanded into childrenswear. I was excited to hear more as I love dressing up my daughters in lovely designs for special occasions. Her inspiration behind this expansion is from her motherhood journey. “Being a mother, my daughter has always been my little muse. The joy of creating pieces for little girls and making them feel so special was the goal behind it. I wanted to create an experience for other mothers, of easily accessible beautiful custom pieces that suit all our events. We are working to expand by creating a line specific to girls between 10-15 years, creating something custom-made and unique to their comfort and preference,” she mentions.
Currently, there’s a small team of seven people and their fashion line can be bought online. She concludes, “We are looking for the right space to expand and give our clients a new shopping experience. It would be a chance for clients to understand our brand more and for us to work on a personal level with them.”