Fashion gets local flavour

FASHION IS not just a love for Rabia Z, born and raised in Dubai, but a need. Her cause is to provide stylish clothes for the modern Muslim woman, driven by friends and women across the region to fill the gap in the fashion market.

By Zoe Sinclair (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sat 15 Sep 2007, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:48 PM

styNow she and four other designers have been given the opportunity to showcase their work at Dubai International Fashion Week, attracting a large audience and commanding international attention.

Rabia Z., Mohamed Khadra and Sulafa Filflan were three designers chosen from across the Middle East region in the Emerging Talent Hunt by a judging panel, including fashion editor and international celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster, on Wednesday.

Fashion duo Janis D'Souza & Soni Sajnani, co-founders of Pink Pepper, won an online poll in the talent hunt to also take part.

The judges praised the depth of talent in the field which had huge potential with further training.

Rabia has spent more than five years working on her concept and she was ecstatic to finally have the chance for her style to be recognised.

'My concept isn't available anywhere else,' she said.

'There are a lot of women who are truly struggling. They want to respect their tradition and religion but also have western influences.

'This is for all the women that want to dress modestly but stylishly.'

Rabia believed opportunities such as this could jumpstart the concept and similar trends to cater for the large demand she saw in the market.

styJanis D'Souza and Soni Sajnani said that by being the fourth winners of the talent hunt their label Pink Pepper might gain recognition and promote the notion of original boutique clothing that was yet to take off in the competitive brand focused city of Dubai.

The pair, who also call Dubai home, have had their retail store Pink Pepper for under a year and described it as a Western style with cultural tastes.

'The collection is called Free Spirit - for a young vibrant girl,' Soni said.

'Fusion wear is becoming more popular. It is a significant niche market.

'For people who want something with character and appeal and individuality.'

Sulafa Filflan grew up in Saudi Arabia surrounded by traditions of dress making and said this influenced her towards haute couture and evening wear with detailed embroidery and crystals.

However her collection that grabbed the attention of the judges is ready to wear encompasses casual to dressy for the stylish woman.

'I look at nature, the blue of the sea,' she said.

'From Dubai city I look from the architecture of buildings to people on the streets and the different cultures.'

The collections of the winners will be a part of the DIFW Spring/Summer 2008 edition to be held from October 22-25, 2007 at One&Only Royal Mirage.

But meanwhile they will be working with Kithe Brewster, who has styled celebrities from Julianne Moore and Heidi Klum to Johnny Depp, on the aspects of styling and accessorising their collections.

'I was very excited at the talent I saw here today,' he said.

'There is definitely a need for more schooling and training but there is so much creativity.'

Tamara Hostal of Esmod University and one of the judges said numbers in their fashion course were growing with students coming from the GCC and elsewhere.

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