Prominent Emiratis share their plans on UAE National Day
Ahmad Al Marzouqi, vlogger behind YouTube channel and Instagram page Chai With Ahmad, and Latifa AlGurg, fashion entrepreneur talk about how they mark UAE National Day
UAE National Day is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our love and patriotism for this beautiful country. The UAE is magical, diverse and filled with opportunities. People come here from all over the world not just to make a living but to have a good life. And the endless amount of food options, fashion inspirations, fitness events and more only add to the charm of this country. We caught up with two prominent Emiratis, Ahmad Al Marzouqi, vlogger behind YouTube channel and Instagram page Chai With Ahmad, and Latifa AlGurg, fashion entrepreneur.
Ahmad says, "National Day is when all citizens of the UAE come together and celebrate the happiness our country gives us and how blessed we are living in this beautiful, developed and secure country."
Latifa, the founder of Twisted Roots, has created a special capsule collection in honour of National Day.
Latifa AlGurg - Founder of Twisted Roots
Inspired by travel, architecture and design, Twisted Roots is a homegrown brand, creating versatile, modest fashion with contemporary silhouettes. Emirati fashion entrepreneur Latifa AlGurg, the founder of the brand, thinks it's okay to get your roots "a little twisted." Finding inspiration from her travels and adventures around the world she tells us how she celebrates the National Day and also talks about her special capsule collection being launched for the occasion.
How do you celebrate National Day? Is your brand doing anything special?
I usually spend National Day with my family and do something low key with the family.
This year we have launched a capsule collection to celebrate National Day. It is inspired by the country's growth and unity.
How did you come up with your brand? What inspired the idea?
In 2012, I found myself traveling a lot and struggling to find outfits that both suited my aesthetic and were easy to mix and match. Finding a coordinating scarf was nearly impossible and that got me thinking that if I was facing this, there must be others who were too. From there I started looking into fashion more, and I started taking courses to learn more about the industry. It then took two years of fine tuning what the essence of Twisted Roots would be, but after a lot of reflection and studying, my vision was ready to be taken to the next step.
What motivated you during the inception of the brand and what were some of the hardships you faced?
My key motivation was putting together a space and team that could develop collections of quality and consistency. I've always had a focus on small details and this drives me most of the time. Our biggest struggle was fabric sourcing, so I had to invest in travelling to fabric fairs and developing relationships with the fabric mills to ensure we only use quality fabrics.
What part has the UAE played in your growth as a fashion label?
Dubai is my home and so much a part of me. I don't think I would have been able to launch Twisted Roots anywhere else. Being Emirati reflects heavily in the development of our collections. It might not be obvious in the end result but it is always there in one way or another.
What vision do you have for your brand's future?
We are looking to grow into new territories. I believe in growing organically so we've taken it slowly to maintain the integrity of the brand.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
A legacy of quality, exploration and learning. I've always followed the motto "life's a journey." I believe in always learning from every experience.
Recently we have seen a surge of fashion designers from the UAE who are making a name for themselves outside the country as well. How does Twisted Roots stand out?
Every brand has its own perspective and voice. I believe the voice of Twisted Roots is derived from my perspective of my travels and how what I learned from them became a part of me. This provides something unique and special.
Where do you find inspirations for your elegant and exquisite outfits?
Every collection is inspired by travel. It's inspired by another city or country every season. I believe that you grow every time you explore a new place and it changes you a little and thus your roots get a little twisted.
If you could dress a celebrity figure who would that be and why?
Queen Rania because I respect and admire the work she does, she's a great role model for the younger generation and she has impeccable style.
Ahmad Al Marzouqi - Emirati Vlogger Behind 'Chai With Ahmad'
Ahmad's love for Bollywood started very young. After watching Khalnayak when he was six he started keeping up with Indian cinema and his love for the Bollywood film industry grew. Ahmad is trying to build a bridge between celebrities and their Arab fans with his channel.
What inspired Chai with Ahmad?
Dubai is known for chai and there are many people here in UAE who are chai lovers, and I'm one of them. Chai with Ahmad is inspired by the hit Indian TV show Koffee with Karan (like a Middle East version), where I host Bollywood celebrities and connect them to their Arab fans and teach them the Arabic language and some interesting facts about the UAE.
I'm the only Arab to connect Bollywood celebrities to their Arab fans and promote their films and shows to Arab viewers.
What were some of the hardships you faced?
I have faced lot of cyber bullying, hate and negative comments throughout my journey, but I never let those negativities affect me or my work, because this is my passion and my dream is to educate Arab people about Bollywood.
I had family members who supported me and wanted me to grow, that's one of the reasons I'm still continuing in this field.
How has the UAE influenced you and your work?
This region helped me a lot. As we all know Dubai is a big market for Bollywood and we have so many Bollywood fans in Dubai. Also, being the first Arab to do this is an advantage as well.
Dubai also is a destination where many celebrities visit and enjoy their stay, this also leads to easier access to them due to availability of media sectors in Dubai.
How will you celebrate National Day? Are you doing anything special to commemorate this grand occasion?
My brand will let celebrities be a part of the UAE's National Day celebrations; they will be sending wishes to the country and its rulers.
Which celebs are on your dream list to interview?
I would really love to interview and chat with Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Tell us who is your absolute favourite Bollywood actor and why.
I really love Ranbir Kapoor. He really showed his acting skills in Barfi, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and I really loved his performances. I also relate to his character in Wake up Sid.